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34 The Payans of Latvia
As argued by this writer in another blog, the original pronunciation of the word “pagan” was, most likely, “payan”. While the origin of the word is disputed by scholars, “payan” fits nicely with the Latvian sense of its meaning.
Payan = pa + yan; a prefix + the Latvian name for John, Jahnis. The prefix “pa” precedes many Latvian words, for example, pa-dot (to hand over), pa-skriet (to make a run for it), pa-domāt (to think it over), etc. Rather than say “dot”, “skriet”, or “domāt”, the prefix “pa” softens the act. Like the postfix that endears the noun, [as in “gald-inysh” (dear table), “akment-inysh” (dear stone), “saul-īte” (dear sun), “Jānītis” (dear Johnny)], the prefix “pa-” is more often used in spoken than written language. This is because “pa-” inflects the word with subjective judgement.
“Pa-yahn”, thus, suggests that John is somehow not fully John, but only half a John, so to speak. Because the consonant J may slip-slide and be pronounced as a G or Dzh, it becomes possible for one pa-yahn to be pronounced as pagan. Because of this tendency toward different pronunciations, once upon a time the name “Jesus”, in order to avoid being pronounced “Gesus” (or Geez) was written “Iasu”, where “Ia” is sure to be pronounced as a Y.
So, what has this to do with NOT-VOTING?
For example, did you know that proto-Latvians—those Latvians who made up a “people” before the Latvians made themselves a nation—also knew themselves as The Children of Johns (Jāņu bērni)? This is not to say that Livonia or Livland went without the Letowici [from the Moravian (Herrnhuter) parishes of the Brethren at Letowic], but that the name of Livonia originates with the Livs and not Latvians. The names Lett or Latvis came in use later, after the Great Northern War (ended 1721, Peace of Nystadt) killed off most of the Livs in Vidzeme, for example, where they were replaced by the Latgalians.
True, this is not the place to write a history book. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out that today the history books of Latvia approximate what actually happened only after 1860 or thereabout. This is one reason why the present government of Latvia is reluctant to allocate funds for a new history book for Latvians, and why the state and church in Latvia are not truly separated, but continue to be intertwined with a reactionary orthodox Christian world view. In short, if a history book of Latvia were to be written today, it would, most likely, be a lie about what happened during the first half of the nineteenth century and earlier.
If you care a whit about the Latvian psyche as it was before a hundred and fifty years and want help the Latvian people to untwist the effects of sad repression that keeps their outlook on the world from developing, cast a NOT-VOTE.
The act of NOT-VOTING consists of going to the voting poll and dropping an empty envelope into the box. All the dire warnings that this is an “evil” act, or sabotage, or lets the Russians or commies come and rule over Latvia are but attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of the Latvian people. Rather, a NOT-VOTE will help the psyche of the Children of Johns free the psyche of Latvians today.
Asterisks & Links of Interest
Compulsory voting in the EU Parliamentary elections
The abstentionist elephant
On the Meaning of Voting
Ground Zero for Thought