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Thursday, 20 October 2011


I'm still opening bottles of imaginary champagne every time someone on the tele announces the words 'two trillion or three', needed, presumably, to save the euro but who knows. I asked a lawyer yesterday what he thought the rest of Spain was feeling about the 'crisis', what his colleagues were feeling for example and he told me he got the impression most folk were fed up with the recession, sick to death of talking about it but I wasn't quite sure what he meant by that as in this town most people seem quite content so long as they have a meal and a few beers in front of them unless they are Muslim and queueing up outside San Vicente de Paul across the road for food and clothing. Someone left some clothes all washed, ironed and neatly folded in bags outside said charity on Sunday and later some freeloaders who hang out in our barrio and their droogs helped themselves to the clothes and chucked whatever they didn't like or need in a heap on the street. So, on the whole nothing has changed. Most Spanish folk seem a bit perplexed and maybe miffed that what they started in the plazas up and down Spain has taken off around the world although I reassured some friends  that the Spanish had got a mention that they started it all on the BBC a few days ago. Like a lot of things in Spain the indignados and their protest started with loads of energy and enthusiasm but this time has quickly attracted the dog on a string type. My favourite memory of it here was the woman who is supposed to work in the wine shop who promised me half a dozen times that she would order some sherry that I had taken a liking to and months later she still can't be bothered to do it. I saw her several times giving her solidarity to the indigandos when she should have been attending to my alcoholic needs. 

Last night the BBC showed a documentary called Spain's Stolen Babies, an horrific, true story of how hundreds of thousands of women had their babies taken away soon after the birth and then were told the baby had died when really it had been sold to couples who couldn't have kids of their own or to anyone prepared to pay for a baby it would seem. Even after Franco had died the practice of stealing and selling these babies continued up to the eighties. It beggars belief and has scandalized Spanish society. The documentary told how doctors, priests and nuns colluded in this dreadful, heinous crime. It's hard to imagine what it must have been like living under such a regime with no one to turn to when something like this happened. Spain must be the only country that hasn't really addressed its past and until it does it will remain haunted and damaged by what occurred. My only hope is with the young people here who on the whole are fantastic despite not having a rosy future in front of them.

Lastly, on the subject of the indignados, I managed to get caught up in a melee involving thousands of demonstrators, a policeman and about fifty pissed off Aragonese or Huescan folk at a bus stop. I'd managed to miss the bus and there wasn't another for two hours but living in Spain I knew I would be fine waiting in any cafe undisturbed, fully integrated and with food and drink, pretty much like the bods the lawyer spoke about above. Then I went back to the bus stop and with a growing crowd of others waited patiently until a policeman rode up to us ( sounds rather quaint, as if he were on a bicycle) and said that the bus wouldn't be coming this way on account of the demonstration which was by now coming towards us full throttle instead.( The demonstration that up until then I thought were the screams of the bullfight next door). Out of the fifty or so Huescan folk waiting for the bus one quickly took control of the situation and said he, the policeman, had better do something or he'd have another lot of protesters on his hands. The policeman did, what most policemen don't, what he was told. He rang the bus company and then told us he was sorry but they weren't answering. 'You'd better do something' a woman said with a stubborn, fanatical look in her eye which quickly spread infecting me and some others who started to rabble rouse and protest that there were old folk here and how the hell were we supposed to know, no one had told us when we bought our tickets about any diversion. Suddenly someone saw the bus in question and ordered the berated copper to chase it. He did this speeding off on his BMW motorbike and more or less threw himself in front of the bus. He then hailed us all to run across a busy road which was now full of cars driven by insane, pissed off Zaragozans who had better things to do than go on a silly march or wait for public transport. Things like dinner and a fiesta that was still in swing. For a few moments I was planning an alternative, long, stressful route home but quickly and safely on the bus I tucked into the chocolate I had stashed in my handbag for such occasions and within an hour I was back in Huesca. Somehow I can't imagine this happening anywhere else at the moment. 


ANA said...

Testing testing!!

Mike the Traditionalist said...

you are coming through loud and clear!

ANA said...

Delighted to hear it!!