Tuesday, January 15, 2019

El "Yo" fragmentado. Personalidad esquizoide en nuestra sociedad moderna


Para entender cabalmente el porqué, en la mayoría de los casos, a los que consideramos nuestros "buenos amigos” son en realidad nuestros enemigos y peores detractores, debemos entender primero la naturaleza de nuestro ser; es decir de nuestro "yo", lo que en gramática es la primera persona del singular. En un estado ideal de salud mental, en un adulto el "yo" es la parte consciente de nuestra mente, desde donde emana la inteligencia y el pensamiento objetivo y racional; es la entidad psicológica de adaptación al medio. El "yo" maduro es esa parte de nosotros que observa la realidad concreta para sacar conclusiones coherentes y poder desarrollar una estrategia para resolver un problema o sortear un obstáculo en nuestro mundo concreto.

Anatómicamente, el "yo" adulto es el resultado del desarrollo completo de los fascículos cerebrales (el cableado interno) que posibilita la interconexión de todas las áreas del cerebro. Esto nos da integridad total y, por ende, aplomo, objetividad y la capacidad de interrelacionarnos con los demás empáticamente. El "yo" de un hombre íntegro puede diferenciar las emociones primitivas (como la ira, la envidia, el odio, el fanatismo) de los sentimientos humanos superiores (como la empatía, la comprensión y el amor); puede superar los prejuicios culturales, pensando y actuando de una manera magnánima. Por lo tanto, el “yo” también puede expresar genuinamente lo que piensa, sin ser influido por el pensamiento grupal. De esta manera, el "yo" íntegro lidera y es impermeable al comportamiento de la masa.

Sin embargo, la mayoría de las personas que no han logrado adquirir la integridad o adultez, tienen una personalidad esquizoide (quasi-esquizofrénica); es decir, su "yo" está fragmentado en dos. Por lo tanto, tienen un "yo" social, por un lado, y un "yo" íntimo o privado, por el otro. El primero es la fachada social con la cual la persona se relaciona públicamente en sociedad y, por ende, con el grupo de "amigos" a través de las normas y convenciones sociales de la cultura que la masa impone al individuo; el "yo" íntimo, en cambio, es el que reflexiona cuando la persona está a solas consigo misma, pero como es débil no se atreve a ser y no lograr desarrollar proyectos de vida concretos, sino más bien estrategias pobres que solo sirven para adaptarse a la masa de amigos o llamar su atención.

Las normas de conductas que rigen el comportamiento de la masa se aprende, echa raíces y actúan desde el subconsciente. Aunque en épocas primitivas, estas convenciones sociales eran reglas lógicas de comportamiento cuyo único fin era la supervivencia del individuo y el grupo humano en un medio hostil, hoy en día, en cambio, pueden emanar de doctrinas religiosas o simplemente de hábitos sociales repetitivos que imperan por un tiempo como una moda a la manera de un atuendo o indumentaria que la industria textil impone en la pasarela del modelaje.

En la relativa seguridad del mundo industrial y sedentario, estos patrones de conductas o formas de interrelacionarse entre los individuos no tienen ningún carácter estratégico de supervivencia, y son simplemente arbitrarios, irracionales y fuertemente coercitivos: aceptación o rechazo por el grupo de "amigos". Por lo tanto, el "yo" social se siente obligado a seguirlas o acatarlas para ser aceptado por la masa y no ser rechazado y quedar de esta manera naufrago en el ostracismo de la discriminación social. Si bien la persona inmadura, que no ha desarrollado su personalidad, es la que más sufre la extorsión de la masa, es a su vez, cuando actúa desde la jauría de "amigos", la más tiránica. De esta manera, el “yo” inmaduro es débil y depende de la masa para desahogar sus frustraciones y complejo de inferioridad.

Actualmente como civilización corremos el peligro de caer en el profundo abismo de la decadencia e involución humana, ya que hay nuevos patrones de conductas, que son terriblemente tiránicos y coercitivos y que emanan de hábitos de consumos de sustancias adictivas y nefastas para la salud mental y física de las personas, como son el consumo de bebidas alcohólicas y las drogas, y que a su vez son promocionados o fomentados por los grandes lobbies de la industria etílica y del narcotráfico que ganan miles de millones de dólares a través de los medios masivos y de la política.

Son nuestros adolescentes y personas inmaduras los más expuestos a estas nuevas convenciones sociales o patrones de conductas destructivos, donde el individuo debe consumir lo que el grupo de “amigos” (la masa) consume y, quizá también, del mismo tipo y marca de bebida y, en caso de la droga, de un determinado cartel. El que no consume lo que todos consumen queda fuera del grupo y pierde sus “favores” y su apoyo, sintiéndose el "yo" interno de la persona inmadura marginado e incapaz de desarrollar e iniciar sus propios planes de vida; es decir sus proyectos particular para triunfar; no ya en la sociedad de grupo de “buenos amigos”, sino más bien triunfar en la sociedad de seres humanos adultos y racionales que apoyan la vida y la estabilidad emocional.

Por Carlos Benito Camacho (antropólogo)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Battle of Sedan (summary)

The Battle of Sedan was a decisive military engagement of the Franco-Prussian War. It was fought between the Prussian Army, under the command of Helmuth von Moltke, and the French Army, led by Patrice de Mac-Mahon and Napoleon III, on September 1, 1870, at Sedan, France. It was decisive because the Prussian victory over the French allowed William I, king of Prussia, be crowned emperor of Germany, thus unifying these two countries into a powerful European nation.

Summary of the battle

After being defeated by the Prussians at the Battle of Beaumont on August 30, 1870, the French forces had been on the run for 24 hours; however, von Moltke managed to encircle the French Army at the town of Sedan, with him leading the Army of the Meuse in a frontal assault on the enemy positions, while other Prussian Third Army attacked from the north and west.

At the 1870 Battle of Sedan, the French troops were armed with the Chassepot rifle, a breech-loading, bolt-action rifle, which gave the French more fire power. Nevertheless, the Prussians were equipped with steel breech-loading cannons designed by Alfred Krupps, which had a range of up to 7,600 yards (7,000 m) and could devastate French formations as they formed up far from the battlefield.

At the end of the battle, Napoleon III surrendered his sword to Otto von Bismarck, the German Chancellor who accompanied Helmut von Moltke.

Map of Battle of Sedan

Unification of Germany

By mid 19th century, Germany was a deeply-divided country made up of more than 300 principalities, duchies, fiefdoms, and estates, with each one of them having their own governmental organization, currency, and tax and bureaucratic system. Thus, lacking political unity, such fragmented nation was unable to develop and make economic progress. The German unification would not come through a common agreement of all its independent political entities, but under the leadership of the Kingdom of Prussia.

The result of the Franco-Prussian War, with Prussia defeating France, paved the way for the unification of all the German states under Prussian authority and guidance. The work, which the Parliament of Frankfort had failed to carry out in the revolutionary period, was easily accomplished at a time when Germans were fighting side by side for a common Fatherland and against a common enemy. Otto von Bismarck, prime minister under William I of Prussia, was enabled to sweep away the unnatural line of the Main, and to extend the Northern German Confederation of 1867 over the four states of southern Germany.

The terms of union were settled in separate negotiations with the governments of Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden, and Grand ducal of Hesse. They were then submitted for formal approval to the estates of each province and to the diet of the North German Confederation, On January 18, 1871, the veteran King of Prussia was formally proclaimed German Emperor in the great Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Otto von Bismarck was appointed Imperial Chancellor.

The unification of Germany allowed this country to exert its political and economical hegemony in continental Europe and rivaled with Great Britain in colonial territorial gains in the Second Industrial Revolution context. It revived in Germany a national unity and nationalistic sentiment that had perished six centuries before. The German Empire was acknowledged since 1871 to be the first military power in Europe as the national pride in this position made the people overlook many domestic inconveniences and even humiliations. Bismarck were able to maintain the ascendancy of Prussia in spite of serious quarrels with the Roman Catholic clergy, and in spite of the threatening attitude of social democracy.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Historia de Ecuador (resumen)

Desde el siglo XVI y por muchos años, el actual territorio de Ecuador y sus ciudades pertenecían al Virreinato del Perú, siendo Quito la sede de la Real Audiencia. Pero en 1717, el rey Felipe V creó por Real Cédula el Virreinato de Nueva Granada, el cual incorporó a Ecuador, que se separó del anterior y cambió de esta manera de jurisdicción administrativa. Este nuevo virreinato incluía a los actuales países de Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador y Panamá, siendo su capital Bogotá.

Independencia

En 1809, con la invasión napoleónica de España y el cautiverio del rey Fernando VII en Francia, se inició en Quito, Ecuador, un movimiento de emancipación, pero éste fue reprimido violentamente por los realistas. Finalmente, el 24 de mayo de 1922, se libró la batalla de Pichincha, en la cual las fuerzas revolucionarias, comandadas por Antonio José de Sucre, derrotaron a las fuerzas realistas de Melchor Aymerich. Esta gran victoria consolidó la independencia de Ecuador. Asegurada la emancipación, inmediatamente este país andino se unió a la Gran Colombia de Simón Bolívar.

Primeros años

En 1830, Ecuador se separó de esa confederación para formar la República del Ecuador bajo la presidencia de Juan José Flores (1830-1835). Este era el jefe del partido conservador y debió enfrentar la oposición de los liberales, quienes estaban acaudillados por Vicente Rocafuerte. Como ambos caudillos eran intransigentes y con ideas políticas antagónicas, pronto estalló una guerra civil. Luego de sangrientos enfrentamientos, ambos jefes llegaron a un acuerdo, a modo de transacción, sucediéndose los dos en el poder.

Durante los gobiernos de Vicente Rocafuerte (1835-1839) y de Juan José Flores (1839-1843), se realizaron reformas administrativas, fue organizada la instrucción pública, recibiendo gran impulso el progreso de infraestructura del país.

En 1843, Flores fue reelegido para una tercera presidencia. Sin embargo, en 1845, fue derrocado por una revolución liberal. El gobierno siguiente, de Ramón Roca (1845-1849) fue un período de paz y estabilidad, pero al término de su mandato renació la agitación y violencia política. Es así, que en un lapso de solo once años, se sucedieron en el poder varios gobernantes. En 1861 asumió la presidencia de Ecuador el Dr García Moreno, conservador, quien llevó a la práctica beneficiosas reformas financieras, militares y administrativas. Pero su acentuado clericalismo enconó a la oposición.

En 1869, los conservadores lograron aprobar una Constitución que otorgaba amplios poderes al presidente y aseguraba la primacía de la Iglesia. Esto enajenó a los liberales, y García Moreno sería asesinado en 1875, lo que inició un nuevo período de luchas intestinas (entre liberales y conservadores), quienes intentaba de imponer sus respectivas ideas políticas por la fuerza.

A partir de 1875 y en un largo período que incluye las tres primeras décadas del siglo XX, se sucedieron en Ecuador distintos gobiernos liberales que limitaron los privilegios de la Iglesia. A partir de 1930, la política de Ecuador fue dominada por José María Velazco Ibarra, quien ocupó la presidencia por primera vez en 1934, y posteriormente otras cuatro veces. Aunque a éste se lo consideró un liberal, sería luego acusado de ejercer un gobierno autoritario.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Battle of Mount Harriet (Falklands)

The Battle of Mount Harriet was a military encounter between the British 42 Commando (Royal Marines), led by Lt Col Nick Vaux, and the Argentine Army's 4th Infantry Regiment, under Lt Col Diego Soria, from June 11 to June 12, 1982, on Mount Harriet, East Falkland, about 10 miles from Port Stanley, during the Falklands War. The 4th Infantry Regiment, composed of 500 men, constituted part the occupation forces, which had deployed and dug in on Mount Harriet between April and May. The Royal Marines were the advancing and liberating forces, which had landed on the beach of San Carlos bay on May 21, initiating a long march eastward across the island toward Stanley, which was located on the other side of East Falkland.

The Battle of Mount Harriet broke out with heavy naval artillery bombing to soften up the Argentine positions, using the 113mm Mark 6 guns from the HMS Yarmouth (Type 12 frigate). The bombardment was followed by a night attack on Argentine mortar and machine gun nests, deeply ingrained among the rocky outcrops of Mount Harriet, carried out by Royal Marines platoons, beefed up by Welsh Guards elements. The ferocious fighting lasted for several hours, with the British troops courageously charging up the slopes of Mount Harriet during the night to capture Argentine positions, ending the next morning, on June 12, with 68 Argentine casualties (18 KIA and 50 wounded) and 310 prisoners; the rest of the Argentine troops managed to escape during the night, heading back to Stanley.

Map of eastern East Falkland showing the battles fought as the British advanced towards Port Stanley

Weapons used in the Falklands War

Some of the weapons used in the Falklands War had never been used in combat action before such as the British, carrier-based, VTOL Sea Harrier aircraft and the French Exocet anti-ship missile, which was launched from the French-made Argentine Super Etendard. Others, like the FAL infantry rifle and the 120mm mortar had already seen combat action in former armed conflicts, such as the anti-insurgent operations against leftist guerrillas in the Northwest region of Argentina.

Infantry weapons

The FN FAL was the standard-issued infantry rifle used by both sides. It was a 7.62mm, gas-operated, automatic rifle designed by the Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale (FN). The acronym FAL stands for the French words Fusil Automatic Legere, which means Light Automatic Rifle (LAR) in English. It shot the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and had an effective range of 300 m. This rifle was fed by a 20-round box magazine and was fitted with iron sights.

The FN FAL used by the Argentinean infantry


The FN MAG (Mitrailleuse d'Appui Géneral) machine gun was another product of the Belgian factory Fabrique Nationale. It was also chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. It had a rate of fire of about 700 rpm. This was the machine gun with which the Argentines raked down the slopes of Darwin, Two Sisters, and Mount Harriet hills from their machine gun nests set up among the rocks on top as the British paras and marines courageously charged up at them.

The 120mm and 81mm mortars, with baseplates and tripods were extensively employed in this armed conflict.

Artillery

105mm Oto Melara M56 howitzer, employed by the Argentine artillery), and the 105mm L118 Light Gun, fielded by the British troops, were also used in the Falklands War.

Armored vehicles

The Royal Marines deployed on East Falkland the FV107 Scimitar, 7.8-ton a light tank, armed with a 30mm cannon, and the FV101 Scorpion, which is reconnaissance, tracked armored vehicle fitted with a 76mm gun. Both vehicles were made of aluminum. On the other hand, the Argentinean forces used the LVTP-7A1 an amphibious vehicle to invade the Falklands on April 2, 1982.


Down below, an FV107 Scimitar


Below, the LVTP-7A1 armored amphibious vehicle deployed by the Argentines

Attack aircraft

The naval A-4 Skyhawk, an American-made Cold-War aircraft used by the Argentinean Navy to sink two transport ships and a Frigate (HMS Ardent).

The British FA2 Sea Harrier was a carrier-based vertical-landing attack aircraft that took from HMS Invincible and HMS Hermet carriers. It proved to be very effective in shooting down the radarless A-4 Skyhawks operated by the Argentineans.


Below, an A-4 Skyhawk used by the Argentinean Air Force

Strike and interceptor aircraft

The Super Etendard was a strike fighter, the product of the French industry. It was the platform used by the Argentineans to launch the Exocet missile that sank the HMS Sheffield.

The Dassault Mirage III was a French-made interceptor armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Although it was deployed on the continent during the conflict, it did not see any action.

Falklands War (Summary)

The Falklands War was a military conflict fought between Argentina and the United Kingdom, from April 2 to June 14, 1982, on the Falkland Islands, South Atlantic. It broke out when an Argentinian invading force of 600 men captured the islands during the early hours of April 2. The next day, a small Argentine military unit, composed of 65 marines also seized South Georgia Island. Although the British government had obtained secret information that the Argentines were planning to invade the islands, the British people were shocked and outraged, especially by the fact that the whole population on the Falklands are Anglo-Saxon English-speaking people, with British citizenship, who had been inhabiting the islands since 1833, and that no Argentine had ever been born there. Thus, the British public opinion regarded it as a total foreign aggression on British soil.

The man who decided to launch such an invasion was General Fortunato Galtieri, president of Argentina and army commander who presided over the military junta that ruled the country. The reason for such an unexpected attack was to distract public attention from its domestic problems, such as unemployment, high inflation rate, and growing budget deficit. At the time, the Prime Minister of Great Britain was the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, a single-minded woman of great determination and whom the Argentine military had underestimated. On April 5, two British aircraft carriers, the HSM Invincible and the HSM Hermes, set sail for the Falklands, leading 120 surface vessels and one nuclear submarine.

Summary of the war

The first military encounters occurred many days before the British landed on the islands. On May 2, an Argentinian cruiser, the ARA General Belgrano, was sunk by the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror, as it headed towards the islands; 323 Argentinian sailors got killed, and 700 rescued. On May 4, an Argentine Navy attack aircraft, a Super Etendard, launched a French-made Exocet missile and hit HMS Sheffield, a destroyer Type 42, which sank four days later. Two other British warships (one of them a transport ship) would be struck and sunk by Argentinean attack aircraft, the A4 Skyhawks and Super Etendards, on May 21, 1982: the HMS Ardent, HMS Antelope, and the Atlantic Conveyor. However, the carrier-based British fighters, Sea Harriers, had begun their hunt for enemy aircraft, shooting down 36 enemy fighters, thus obtaining air superiority for the British fleet. As a result, the British 2 Para Battalion and the 45 Commando Royal Marines were able to land on the shore of San Carlos Bay, on the west coast of Eastern Falkland on May 21. They were followed by other units, such as the 42 Commando, 40 Commando, 3 Para, and Gurkha Rifles.

On May 28, the 2 Para men fought the first ground battle of the war, the Battle of Goose Green, in which the British had the difficult task of eliminating machine gun nests and pillboxes located on top hills. Having defeated the Argentines, the British paratroopers headed east, toward Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. Meanwhile, the Royal Marines defeated the Argentine Army infantry regiments 12, 4, and 6, and one marine battalion BIM 5 at the battles of Two Sisters, Mount Tumbledown, Mount Kent, Bluff Cove, and others. The British were professional soldiers highly trained during the Cold War to fight against Soviet troops in cold weather conditions. As a result, the cold and windy weather of the Falklands did not affect them as it affected the Argentine conscript soldiers who had only had 2 months of military training in the warm weather of Argentine northern provinces.

As the bulk of the British ground forces closed in on Stanley, most of the Argentinian troops panicked and ran away towards the capital, but ferocious battles were fought between the Royal Marines and some hard and stubborn Argentine units. Finally, on June 14, the commander of the Argentine forces on the Falklands, General Mario Menendez, surrendered and signed the cease fire together with the British commander Major General Jeremy Moore. The Falklands War had ended.


Map of landing sites on East Falkland coast

Falklands War Footage