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One Does Not Simply Use Aragorn for Spanish Far-Right Propaganda

Source: Vice News

From Vice News.


It wasn’t so long ago that Benito Mussolini’s granddaughter was squaring off with actor Jim Carrey over his sketches of her dead, fascist grandpa. Now, it’s Viggo Mortensen's turn

Image Richard Shotwell/Invision.
© AP.
The next installment of Hollywood Actors Feud With Far-Right European Politicians has begun.

It wasn't so long ago that Benito Mussolini's granddaughter was squaring off with actor Jim Carrey over his sketches of her dead, fascist grandpa. Now, it's Viggo Mortensen's turn. He's famous for playing Aragorn in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy — and apparently now the platform of Spain's nationalist Vox party.

Last week, Vox tweeted an image of Aragorn with the Spanish flag and the party's emblem on his cloak. He was standing with his sword drawn before a horde of the party's enemies: leftist, LGBTQ, and feminist groups. The tweet was captioned with the text: "Let the battle begin! #ForSpain."

Vox's platform is nationalist and gives a special place of pride to the Spanish flag. Its leaders vow to essentially "make Spain great again" — and want to abolish laws on gender violence and repeatedly wage other attacks on women's and LGBTQ rights.

Mortensen, who lives with his wife in Madrid, was not pleased with his most iconic character being used for far-right propaganda purposes. He was perhaps even angrier than Aragorn was when Boromir died — so mad, in fact, that he drew a weapon mightier than the sword.

"One must be quite ignorant to think that the use of Aragorn's character in the film trilogy 'The Lord of the Rings' to promote the electoral campaign of a xenophobic right-wing party like Vox would be a good idea," Mortensen wrote in a Tuesday letter to the Spanish newspaper El País.

He continued: "It is even more ridiculous to use the character of Aragorn, a polyglot statesman who advocates knowledge and inclusion of the various races, customs, and languages of Middle-earth, to legitimize an anti-immigrant, anti-feminist and Islamophobic political group. I would laugh at this clumsiness, but Vox has entered the Congress with 24 seats. It is not a joke, and we must be attentive and proactive, as is Aragorn in the Tolkien saga."

Mortensen is correct: Vox saw a decent political surge in Spain's election. In 2016, the party gathered just 0.2% of the vote. In the last election, that jumped to 10.3%. Before then, Spain had, in a relative sense, avoided the resurgence of far-right mainstream politics seen in other parts of Europe.

Social scientists said that's because the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco is still fresh in Spaniards' minds.

© Vice News. Images © AP.

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Source: peopleshistory.us

Our thanks to Colette Hera for the heads up.


Seating first-come, first-served

The BAFTAS Nominees Party - VIP Arrivals
The BAFTAS Nominees Party - VIP Arrivals
Image Dave J Hogan.
© Getty.
September 17, 2018
New York City
07.30pm - 09.00pm

Voices of a People's History of the United States brings to life the extraordinary history of ordinary people who built the movements that made the United States what it is today, ending slavery and Jim Crow, protesting war and the genocide of Native Americans, creating unions and the eight hour work day, advancing women's rights and LGBTQ liberation, and struggling to right wrongs of the day.

Join us on September 17, Constitution Day, at this special free event in the Great Hall at Cooper Union featuring live readings and music in a celebration of resistance and radical struggle. By giving public expression to rebels, dissenters, and visionaries from our past—and present—VOICES seeks to educate and inspire a new generation working for social justice.

Viggo Mortensen
Allison Moorer
Brian Jones
Aasif Mandvi
Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby
Susan Pourfar
Ty Jones
Staceyann Chin
Jessica Pimentel
Laura Gomez
And more special guests to be announced.

Registration required, but seating is first-come, first-served. This event is cosponsored by The Cooper Union

The Great Hall is located in The Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues
The Great Hall is wheelchair accessible. Assisted listening devices are also available upon request.

© peopleshistory.us. Images © Getty.

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Viggo Mortensen urges Americans to look to history to understand current political climate

Source: CBS News.
Found By: Lindi

Thanks to Lindi for the find from CBS.


Viggo Mortensen believes in the importance of understanding our past. On the 55th anniversary of the March on Washington, the actor explains to CBS News why he believes the voices of people in American history can inspire us today.

Oscar Red Carpet 2017
Oscar Red Carpet 2017
Image Frazer Harrison.
© Getty.
by Andrea Park

Mortensen is reading passages from Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States" at SummerStage in New York's Central Park, alongside other notable performers, including Uzo Aduba, Marisa Tomei, Rosanne Cash, Hong Chau, Staceyann Chin and more, as part of a free show called "Voices of a People's History." Mortensen says he has been participating in various "Voices of a People's History" shows since the early 2000s.

The actor says of Zinn's work, "It's maybe as important as ever right now, when there seems to be a lot of division socially and politically in the country and an ideological hardening in terms of binary choice — one extreme or another. … I think it's always important in any democracy, anywhere, that voices of dissent, voices of opposition or at least voices that question the status quo and authority be heard."

Mortensen points out that some of the selections in the book are by people who fought successfully for freedom from slavery and the right to vote.

"They were up against a lot of harder things than we are now," he says. "It seems to me like it's a pretty divisive time and we need good reminders that even when things seemed to be stalled and there doesn't seem to be much farther communication, what these people communicated can maybe help us open that logjam we seem to find ourselves in now."

Mortensen, who frequently posts readings and quotes on his publishing website, plans to read a selection by Zinn and also one by friar Bartolome de las Casas, who documented Spanish mistreatment of indigenous people in the New World in the 16th century.

Mortensen says that people should look back to the March on Washington to appreciate the gains the country made during that time, and be careful not to lose them.

"I don't think we ever had a president who fomented as much division and ideological rigidity and conflict, who fanned the flames," he says. "There's a lot happening now that threatens the gains made by people represented in the book. That's why it's always good to hear these voices to read them and keep them in mind today. One, not to give up hope if you're disappointed about, two, if you're not informed about the history of the U.S. and what really has happened over the centuries leading up to now and why things are the way they are right now — why we have certain rights and certain laws in place — it has a lot to do with these people. They were hard-fought gains and things that are much more easily lost than gained. … Everything that's been gained through legislation, through people's rights, animal rights, environmental rights, is under siege at the moment."

He continues, "Life is not just about having stuff. Making money on Wall Street — that does not excuse the multitude of injustices happening. We can go backwards; we can take a lot of steps backwards if we're not careful and don't keep history in mind."

The actor says he is hopeful for a big turnout during the November midterm elections, but he also wants to see more grassroots activism.

Mortensen says the performers at SummerStage Tuesday night won't be going off script to slam President Donald Trump; the point is not to attack, but for audience members or readers to judge for themselves.

"What's great about these voices is they speak for themselves," he explains. "Whether they're about activists against the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 or whether they're from las Casas talking about the horrible treatment of the indigenous population when Europeans first came to colonize on these shores, no extra commentary is needed. You can connect those dots for yourself, and connect them to the president as you like."

Mortensen, who is also a poet, says the political climate occasionally seeps into his own writing as well.

"I don't live in a vacuum," he says. "The weather — physical and political — at any time when I'm writing affects me like it does most writers, I think."
His next film project is alongside Mahershala Ali in "Green Book." In it, he plays the driver for a black pianist in 1962. The actor says he doesn't intentionally seek out subversive films — in his last film, "Captain Fantastic," he portrays an anarchist father raising his children in the wilderness — but he does say that he looks for great storytelling.

"I wasn't looking for something political, but often, really great stories can't help but be connected to what's happening in the world," he says. "'Green Book' takes place in 1962, the year before the March on Washington, but there are clear resonances to what's happening now, to racial tensions, to social tensions and also class differences."

Mortensen says he thinks of "Green Book" as timely, even though it is set more than 50 years ago, and hopes viewers will learn more about civil rights from the film.

"Voices of a People's History" takes place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Central Park. Doors open at 6 p.m.

© CBS. Images © Getty.

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TRANSLATION: From Perceval Press: Viggo & Catalan

Source: Translation by Ollie
Categories: Politics

Thanks to ollie for the translation of Viggo's remarks regarding his recent affiliation to Òmnium Cultural.
About a month ago I decided to become a member of Òmnium Cultural. I did it because of the interest I feel for the original function of this association, which was in 1961 and remains today, regardless of its growing political side, the claim of the language, culture and civil rights of Catalonia. This was clear (at least for me) in the text that Òmnium Cultural published announcing that I joined as a member: "Welcome to the family of Òmnium, Viggo Mortensen! It is an honour that you give support to the entity that works for the culture, language and civil rights of Catalonia ".

Surely the Spaniards know better than me that after the end of Franco's dictatorship cultural and political liberties were recovered in their country, including Catalonia. Perhaps they also know that Òmnium Cultural has continued, since the Transition, promoting the normalisation of the use of the Catalan language and its equalisation to the use of Spanish, and of the traditions and celebrations typical of Catalonia. I think it's an important task, and I recommend anyone interested in multiculturalism to take a look at it.

Since it was announced that I belonged to that organisation, I have been identified as "independentist". I knew that the issue of Catalan identity within Spain is very complicated, and that my link with Òmnium Cultural could be considered as part of the secessionist movement, but the truth is that I have never spoken in favour of the Catalan independence movement. I have said publicly that I think that Catalans have the right to decide how they want to be represented and governed, as the citizens of Quebec and Scotland have done, within a legal framework.

I don´t give a damn about flags, borders and passports. Well, I like the flags of the Athletic Club San Lorenzo de Almagro, the Canadiens de Montréal, and the Real Madrid Football Club, but I would never kill anyone for them. I have a passport because I need it to travel freely, but I am not a supporter of nationalisms - nor of Spanish, Catalan, American, Danish, Argentine, or of any human group. I know where I come from and I'm interested in learning where others are coming from. Where we will go cannot be known.

I am interested in Catalonia as I am interested in Andalusia, León or Madagascar. I was not asked if the recent affirmations in some media outlets and social networks that I supported a secession of Catalonia were true; it has simply been written and said, and it seems that it is already a fact for many readers. Also - and this causes me more sadness and anger than the lies and moral turpitude of many of the comments - when I have been blamed of certain convictions, it has been assumed that my partner has to think the same as me, something out of place in this day and age.

On the other hand, I do not intend to stop being a member of Òmnium because of the personal insults and lies propagated by biased or ill-informed people. As Albert Camus said, "all the misfortunes of men come from not speaking clearly." I hope I have done it this time.

Visca Catalunya and Hala Madrid.

-Viggo Mortensen

© viggo-works.com/ Perceval Press.

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From Perceval Press: Viggo & Catalan

Source: Perceval Press.
Found By: ollie
Categories: Politics

Thanks to ollie for the find. Viggo has something to say regarding his recent affiliation to Òmnium Cultural.

© Getty.
Hace más o menos un mes decidí hacerme miembro de Òmnium Cultural. Lo hice por el interés que siento por la función original de esta asociación, que era en 1961 y sigue siendo hoy, al margen de su creciente lado político, la reivindicación de la lengua, cultura y derechos civiles de Cataluña. Esto quedó claro (al menos para mí) en el texto que Òmnium Cultural publicó anunciando que yo me sumaba como miembro: "¡Bienvenido a la familia de Òmnium, Viggo Mortensen! Es un honor que des apoyo a la entidad que trabaja por la cultura, la lengua y los derechos civiles de Catalunya".

Seguro que los españoles saben mejor que yo que después del fin de la dictadura de Franco se recuperaron libertades culturales y políticas en su país, incluida Cataluña. Quizás saben también que Òmnium Cultural ha seguido, desde la Transición, fomentando la normalización del uso del idioma catalán y su equiparación al uso del castellano, y de las tradiciones y celebraciones propias de Cataluña. Me parece una labor importante, y le recomiendo a cualquier persona interesada en el multiculturalismo que le eche un vistazo.

Desde que fue anunciado que yo pertenecía a esa organización, se me ha identificado como "independentista". Sabía que el tema de la identidad catalana dentro de España es muy complicado, y que mi vínculo con Òmnium Cultural podría tacharme de ser parte del movimiento secesionista, pero lo cierto es que nunca me he pronunciado a favor del independentismo catalán. He dicho públicamente que pienso que los catalanes tienen derecho a decidir como quieren ser representados y gobernados, como han hecho los ciudadanos de Québec y Escocia, dentro de un marco legal.

Las banderas, las fronteras y los pasaportes no me importan un carajo. Bueno, la bandera del Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro, la de los Canadiens de Montréal, y la del Real Madrid Club de Fútbol sí que me gustan, pero nunca mataría a nadie por ellas. Tengo pasaporte porque lo necesito para viajar libremente, pero no soy partidario de los nacionalismos -ni del español, el catalán, el estadounidense, danés, argentino, ni el de ningún grupo humano. Sé de dónde vengo y me interesa aprender de dónde vienen los demás. A dónde iremos no se puede saber.

Me intereso por Cataluña como me intereso por Andalucía, León o Madagascar. No se me preguntó si eran ciertas las recientes afirmaciones en algunos medios y en las redes sociales de que yo apoyaba una secesión de Cataluña; simplemente se ha escrito y dicho, y parece que ya es un hecho para muchos lectores. También -y esto me produce más tristeza y enojo que las mentiras y la bajeza moral de muchos de los comentarios- cuando se me han achacado ciertas convicciones se ha dado por hecho que mi pareja tiene que pensar lo mismo que yo, algo impropio de esta época.

Por otro lado, no pienso dejar de ser miembro de Òmnium a causa de los insultos personales y las mentiras propagadas por gente tendenciosa o mal informada. Como bien dijo Albert Camus, "todas las desgracias de los hombres provienen de no hablar claro". Espero haberlo hecho en esta ocasión.

Visca Catalunya y Hala Madrid.

-Viggo Mortensen

© Viggo Mortensen/Perceval Press. Images © Getty.

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Last edited: 16 June 2019 09:17:17