“Sojourn in Spain (7): Madrid, Conclusion – Af Ron ridenour (eng)

Her slutter rejseberetningen af Ron Ridenour: “Sojurn in Spain” – Med Collager af Jette Salling – 7. afsnit

KPnetBlogs bringer en spændende rejseberetning som sommerføljeton  i 7 dele skrevet af  Ron Ridenour med collager af Jette Salling. De to har besøgt Spanien og videregiver her tanker og indtryk fra landet – om politikken, historien, naturen og menneskene de har mødt. Teksten er på engelsk.

Her følger afsnit 7. Se link til de tidligere afsnit nederst

 
7. MADRID, CONCLUSION

We had looked forward to seeing great works of art in Madrid, especially Picasso’s “Guernica”. But now after two intense days at our ancient ancestors’ settlements, staring at their tools and even their bones anything else seemed like an after climax. I dreaded returning to “civilization”.

Sure enough, just as we got off the bus at the Madrid station we saw several cops with machine guns and pistols drawn, and dogs, searching two Africans for something. I often hold an eye on such a confrontation to find out if the victims are underdogs or maybe guilty of something significant. Holding an eye on cops to register any brutality goes back to the 60s when we fought against police brutality and their racism. But this time with all our baggage, we decided to move on and take a taxi to the apartment room we rented in Lavapies (wash feet). And wouldn’t you know it, the cab suddenly stopped a few blocks away. The chauffeur was trying to get it started when a cop approach with machine gun drawn.

“You can’t stop here,” he said curtly. “You’re in front of the Ministry of Interior”, that is, his ministry, which controls all police and secret services. As he spoke the radio was reporting a terror attack in London. We caught a few words about what we soon learned was a one-man, 82-second attack on Westminster Bridge near the Parliament. Fifty-two year-old British-born Khaled Masood’s last message was that he would wage jihad against Western war-making in the Middle East. He drove his car through a crowd of people killing four and injuring 50. Then he ran towards the Parliament, stabbing a policeman to death before he was shot dead by another one. That news was immediately followed by a report from Brussels where a ceremony was underway commemorating the terrorist murder of 32 people and the injury of over 300 one year before on this day, March 22.

Homo sapiens are known to be better than other hominids at surviving all sorts of disadvantageous conditions, because we are so adaptable. I must be an exception, because I sat in this cab feeling helpless, frustrated, sad and angry, wanting to be back where we had been just a few hours before, in the quiet Sierra de Atapuerca romanticizing about our more tranquil ancient forebears.

Meanwhile, the cab driver had fixed the problem and we were off again, soon to be left off at our address on Calle de Amparo, the Street of Protection.

Many immigrants from African and Asian countries live in this central district. They frequent shops and eating places specializing in articles and foods from their home country. Calling home and sending money to relatives is so common that several such establishments, like lycamobil, are located on nearly every street.

These people and local indigenous Spaniards often gather at a park to talk, smoke pipes filled with fruit and other sorts of “tobacco”, and play guitars. There is less speed here than in the commercial parts of this huge city. Over three million people live in the city and 6.5 million in the metropolis. But many Madrileños, as residents of Madrid are called, are stressed as much as other peoples in huge cities. Maybe that is why they talk even faster than most other Spaniards. But Madrileños still enjoy tapas with drinks, for a price, many flamenco dance halls (although guests are not invited to dance themselves), and jazz. We heard a great jazz singer—a Danish woman, Sinne Eeg—and her band at one of the most popular clubs, Central Café at the Plaza del Àngel.

Employer associations and unions were in the midst of negotiating contracts while we were there. The terms in dispute are a sad reflection of the loss of workers power in this generation. Inflation is at 3% so the bosses want to offer 2% wage increases while the unions are “demanding” between 1.8 and 3%.

The employer associations are operated for the benefit of rich gougers, who pay off politicians so that we get fewer benefits from our labor. What has happened to us; why are we so passive? I read what columnist Antonio Navajón wrote about this in “El País”, February 2, 2017. He postulates that we live in an “epoch of muscle rather than intellect”.

Navajón calls this epoch a “black hole” where social objectives and morality have been lost. I say that this abyss is facilitated by the big bosses and their politicians paying their police, their soldiers, and their propagandists with our money to confuse us, and to make us afraid to rise up.

But Spain is also the hearth of Los indignados, and other conscientious motivated people who know what it means to feel solidarity and to act upon that sense of brotherhood.

Manuel Blanco, Enrique Rodríguez and Julio Latorre are Spanish firemen from Seville. News of millions of fleeing human beings from their war-torn homelands touched their hearts. (11) When the drowned body of a child washed up on a beach in Turkey, they decided to take a stand. In December 2015, they traveled to Lesbos, Greece to help save refugees from drowning in the Turkey-Greece area.

On January 14, 2016, they and other volunteers received notice of a possible shipwreck of a group of migrants who were attempting to reach Greece. They decided to search for the sinking boat. They wore their rescue uniform with light-safety helmets. After a reasonable time looking for the potentially shipwrecked boat, they considered the operation unsuccessful and decided to return. Suddenly, Greek authorities in a vessel approached them and told them to meet in the coast guard’s office. The three Spanish volunteers were interrogated and arrested for “human trafficking” and weapon possession, that is, a mandatory line cutter kept in rescue uniforms.

In jail three days they were able to place bail of 5000 Euros each. But they face ten years in prison on false charges for illegal human trafficking. Two members of a Danish NGO, Team Humanity, were arrested with them.

The three Spaniards are members of the NGO, Professional Emergency Aid, http://www.proemaid.es/quienes-somos . It and other organizations ask people to sign a petition demanding that the European Commission right this wrong. Humanitarian workers must be free from criminal charges for rescuing people. https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/criminalising-humanity-sou-int?utm_source=sou&utm_medium=mail&utm_campaign=en_20170513

Other Spaniards, even the famous Real Madrid soccer club, work for peace and the right to life. Real Madrid has had owners, players, and fans supporting right-wing issues. But the club recently joined in partnership with United Nations Relief Works Agency to establish eight social sports schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, benefiting 10,000 Palestinian refugee children. On November 25, 2011, some of these children, 1,000 in all, formed a Picasso “Dove of Peace” at the foot of Mount of Temptation outside Jericho, West Bank. This is a part of a UNRWA project with aerial artist John Quigley. “Peace on earth”, an end to the human created causes of refugees, was their message.

Billedet: Picassos fredsdue – genskabt af palæstinensiske børn

Notes:

(1) See Randy’s piece: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/20/when-i-started-hating-america/
Regarding American Exceptionalism, John Pilger referred to President Barak Obama’s exclamation: “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being”. This is what Pilger meant when he wrote, “American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism.” See his piece, “The Issue is not Trump, it is us” https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/17/the-issue-is-not-trump-it-is-us/

(2) “How many Muslim countries has the U.S. bombed or occupied since 1980?” wrote Glenn Greenwald, November 6, 2014.Greenwald cited former army colonel Andrew Bacevich, who wrote that Syria had become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that US forces had invaded, occupied and/or bombed, and in which US forces killed and/or were killed. And that was just since 1980. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-if-we-defeat-the-islamic-state-well-still-lose-the-bigger-war/2014/10/03/e8c0585e-4353-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html?utm_term=.b8ff8d252546

Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria.)

Nobel peace prize winner President Barak Obama, the hope of black and “progressive” Americans whom Colonel Bacevich supported in his first election, bombed seven Muslim countries plus Muslim areas of Philippines. Obama was the fourth consecutive US president to bomb Iraq. Look up on the internet for a “list of wars involving Spain.” It should not be surprising that “chickens come home to roost”.

(3) Fuengirola is said to have acquired its name after the Arabs were overthrown by Spanish Christians. Moors had called the town Sohail. The river flowing through the town, which empties into the Mediterranean, was once navigable and used especially by fishers. The hub of a boat is called a nave, as is the central passage of churches. The Spanish word for nave is “girola”. The Christians were mainly farmers and fishers and they went to church a lot. It became common to say that one went to fish on the river. The past tense of “to go” in Spanish is “fue”. So, one could say, “fue a girola”—I navigated the river or: gone fishing.

(4) In April municipal elections pro- monarchists received 25.6% of the vote; the rest were for a republic. In general elections, 70% of those eligible voted, considered high. At that time, however, women were denied the vote, although ironically they could run for office. The republican constitution of December 1931 granted the right to vote, and many other equal rights. Of the 34 political parties that won over 1% of the vote and thereby a seat in the 473-seat parliament, outright monarchist parties only received 10 seats; and rightist parties won 20 seats. The republican and socialist coalition won a huge victory with 34% of votes (193 seats), while the social democratic PSOE took 14% (80 seats).

(5) Germany provided Franco forces with 600 war planes, 200 tanks, and 16,000 soldiers. Italy added 660 warplanes, 150 tanks, 800 artillery pieces, 10,000 machine guns, 140,000 rifles, and 50,000 soldiers. Portugal sent 20,000 “volunteer” soldiers.

(6) The Soviet Union provided military assistance at the cost of all the Republic’s gold reserves. It sent old equipment no match for the more modern axis weapons: 1000-2000 artillery pieces, out-dated rifles, 350 tanks and 600-800 planes. Their 2000-3000 soldiers were mostly volunteers, advisors and secret service personnel. Mexico was the only other country to help the Republic. It provided about $2 million in aid, which included 20,000 rifles. It was also offered sanctuary for about 50,000 refugees after the Republic fell. But the European democracies and the US declared neutrality and didn’t even offer returning internationalists safety. Some were imprisoned in their home countries.

(7) See the Basque GARA newspaper, March 20, 2017, www.naiz.eus.

(8) See: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/989, and one of the best books on the subject “Illustrated Guide to Atapuerca”, written by a team of experts, Atapuerca Research Team, EIA. More material can be bought at the Burgos Museum of Human Evolution and the Atapuerca Foundation and Reception Centre. See Scientific Report, 7 for study on cannibalism: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep44707

(9) As I edit this work for the last time, scientists just discovered that Homo sapiens are 100,000 older than believed until June 2017, around 315,000 years old. One skull, one complete mandible with teeth, and many other bones of five individuals who died about the same time were uncovered in Morocco (Jebel Irhoud) far from the other earliest evidence of modern man. “We did not evolve from a single ‘cradle of mankind’ somewhere in East Africa,” declared Philipp Gunz, one of the discoverers. They looked like us; they made complex tools, including wooden handled spears and cooked their food. With this find, Homo sapiens are older than Neanderthals—for the moment. See Nature international journal of science, and major newspaper articles, June 7.

(10) DNA=deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the hereditary material in cells, which is our basic building blocks.

(11) UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) reported that there are more people fleeing their home lands (including refugee and asylum seekers) today than since World War II: 65.3 million. Only six percent attempt to come to Europe. Europe received 1.1 million asylum applications in 2016. In 2014, 57 people drowned on their way to Europe; in 2015, 1,855; in 2016, over 5,000 drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. In one week in May 2016, 880 drowned en route. Most European nations and the EU commission seek to stop anyone from aiding them. Greece, Denmark and Hungry fine or imprison people for doing so.

Se de tidligere afsnit:

Afsnit 1 med intro (oversat til dansk)

Afsnit 2: Art, War and Peace

Afsnit 3: Almeria and Podemos

Afsnit 4: Barcelona, Catalonia sovereignty and civil war

Afsnit 5: “Sojourn in Spain (5): Basque Country: Bilbao, San Sebastian, Guernica

Afsnit 6: “Sojourn in Spain (6): Atapuerca UNESCO World Heritage Site: Who are we?


Notes:

(1) See Randy’s piece: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/07/20/when-i-started-hating-america/
Regarding American Exceptionalism, John Pilger referred to President Barak Obama’s exclamation: “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being”. This is what Pilger meant when he wrote, “American political life is a cultish extremism that approaches fascism.” See his piece, “The Issue is not Trump, it is us” https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/17/the-issue-is-not-trump-it-is-us/

(2) “How many Muslim countries has the U.S. bombed or occupied since 1980?” wrote Glenn Greenwald, November 6, 2014.Greenwald cited former army colonel Andrew Bacevich, who wrote that Syria had become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that US forces had invaded, occupied and/or bombed, and in which US forces killed and/or were killed. And that was just since 1980. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/even-if-we-defeat-the-islamic-state-well-still-lose-the-bigger-war/2014/10/03/e8c0585e-4353-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html?utm_term=.b8ff8d252546

Iran (1980, 1987-1988), Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011), Lebanon (1983), Kuwait (1991), Iraq (1991-2011, 2014-), Somalia (1992-1993, 2007-), Bosnia (1995), Saudi Arabia (1991, 1996), Afghanistan (1998, 2001-), Sudan (1998), Kosovo (1999), Yemen (2000, 2002-), Pakistan (2004-) and now Syria.)

Nobel peace prize winner President Barak Obama, the hope of black and “progressive” Americans whom Colonel Bacevich supported in his first election, bombed seven Muslim countries plus Muslim areas of Philippines. Obama was the fourth consecutive US president to bomb Iraq. Look up on the internet for a “list of wars involving Spain.” It should not be surprising that “chickens come home to roost”.

(3) Fuengirola is said to have acquired its name after the Arabs were overthrown by Spanish Christians. Moors had called the town Sohail. The river flowing through the town, which empties into the Mediterranean, was once navigable and used especially by fishers. The hub of a boat is called a nave, as is the central passage of churches. The Spanish word for nave is “girola”. The Christians were mainly farmers and fishers and they went to church a lot. It became common to say that one went to fish on the river. The past tense of “to go” in Spanish is “fue”. So, one could say, “fue a girola”—I navigated the river or: gone fishing.

(4) In April municipal elections pro- monarchists received 25.6% of the vote; the rest were for a republic. In general elections, 70% of those eligible voted, considered high. At that time, however, women were denied the vote, although ironically they could run for office. The republican constitution of December 1931 granted the right to vote, and many other equal rights. Of the 34 political parties that won over 1% of the vote and thereby a seat in the 473-seat parliament, outright monarchist parties only received 10 seats; and rightist parties won 20 seats. The republican and socialist coalition won a huge victory with 34% of votes (193 seats), while the social democratic PSOE took 14% (80 seats).

(5) Germany provided Franco forces with 600 war planes, 200 tanks, and 16,000 soldiers. Italy added 660 warplanes, 150 tanks, 800 artillery pieces, 10,000 machine guns, 140,000 rifles, and 50,000 soldiers. Portugal sent 20,000 “volunteer” soldiers.

(6) The Soviet Union provided military assistance at the cost of all the Republic’s gold reserves. It sent old equipment no match for the more modern axis weapons: 1000-2000 artillery pieces, out-dated rifles, 350 tanks and 600-800 planes. Their 2000-3000 soldiers were mostly volunteers, advisors and secret service personnel. Mexico was the only other country to help the Republic. It provided about $2 million in aid, which included 20,000 rifles. It was also offered sanctuary for about 50,000 refugees after the Republic fell. But the European democracies and the US declared neutrality and didn’t even offer returning internationalists safety. Some were imprisoned in their home countries.

(7) See the Basque GARA newspaper, March 20, 2017, www.naiz.eus.

(8) See: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/989, and one of the best books on the subject “Illustrated Guide to Atapuerca”, written by a team of experts, Atapuerca Research Team, EIA. More material can be bought at the Burgos Museum of Human Evolution and the Atapuerca Foundation and Reception Centre. See Scientific Report, 7 for study on cannibalism: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep44707

(9) As I edit this work for the last time, scientists just discovered that Homo sapiens are 100,000 older than believed until June 2017, around 315,000 years old. One skull, one complete mandible with teeth, and many other bones of five individuals who died about the same time were uncovered in Morocco (Jebel Irhoud) far from the other earliest evidence of modern man. “We did not evolve from a single ‘cradle of mankind’ somewhere in East Africa,” declared Philipp Gunz, one of the discoverers. They looked like us; they made complex tools, including wooden handled spears and cooked their food. With this find, Homo sapiens are older than Neanderthals—for the moment. See Nature international journal of science, and major newspaper articles, June 7.

(10) DNA=deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the hereditary material in cells, which is our basic building blocks.

(11) UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) reported that there are more people fleeing their home lands (including refugee and asylum seekers) today than since World War II: 65.3 million. Only six percent attempt to come to Europe. Europe received 1.1 million asylum applications in 2016. In 2014, 57 people drowned on their way to Europe; in 2015, 1,855; in 2016, over 5,000 drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. In one week in May 2016, 880 drowned en route. Most European nations and the EU commission seek to stop anyone from aiding them. Greece, Denmark and Hungry fine or imprison people for doing so.

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