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NORTH-AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL CENTRAL SPAIN

( This paper was never published. Some 12 years old, still worth reading and give consideration. It is reproduced here to anyone's curio...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The power of social networks: technology at the rescue



Just as good to summon a flash mob, a rave party or any other more or less disorderly gathering, the power of Twitter and Facebook is becoming a reality in the political scene. Ask Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian president who, applying the basic instructions for the control of the state, shut down Internet and mobile phone communications trying to stave off the current riot in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities.

It’s in the manual. Leon Trotsky mentioned in his military writings, and Curzio Malaparte in his “Coup D'etat: The Technique of revolution” instructed that it was crucial to take control of the communications nodes and networks way back in the 1930’s, when not even an inkling of what the Internet was going to be. (Funny thing that many discoveries had been imagined by science fiction writers from Jules Verne to Isaac Asimov. To my—poor—knowledge no one predicted such a thing as the Internet.) I’ve always looked to popular revolutions with sympathy even though many lead to utterly horrendous bloodshed, deaths and misery in their wake. In my usual optimistic view I come to think that these new revolutions, managed over mobile phones and social networks give the masses an enormous power, yet pacific. It seems like if someone watches over, atrocities are less likely to occur. The social networks feeding on the site news to information agencies and the press may prevent large scale violence.
I trust the developing events in Egypt will not disprove me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barça 5-Almeria 0


Ya se que es una ordinariez y que las emociones deportivas estan en el nivel más bajo de las consideraciones, pero esta secuencia de "manitas" me mola.
En medio de este desierto emocional que con la crisis preside nuestras vidas, alegrarse de un póker de goles puede ser elemental pero moderadamente satisfactorio.

Hemos enganchado este blog a Twitter

Pues eso, ahí al lado lo tenéis ------->

Friday, January 21, 2011

Viva la muerte! The ultimate oxymoron



Looking over last’s week killings in Tucson, Arizona, comes to mind the crazy cry “¡Viva la muerte!”

It dates way back to the fall of 1936, in the opening of the school year at the Universidad de Salamanca, just few weeks after the military coup against the legitimate government of the Spanish Republic generated a dreadful civil war.

Salamanca had already fallen into the hands of the rebels and, in an attempt of a fake normality, the military authority acceded to the celebration of the ceremonial school year opening. Miguel de Unamuno, the aging president of the university and an upmost figure of the culture of the first third of the XX century Spain, pronounced a very sensible speech criticising the barbarian war between brothers. He was interrupted by one of the leaders of the coup, a cantankerous figure several times wounded and handicapped, as he sported a one-eye pad, an amputated arm and a cripple leg, who shouted: “¡Viva la muerte!, ¡Abajo la inteligencia!” (Long life to death, Down with intelligence), while one of his cronies threatened to shoot the old professor.

Trying to express one’s political views by killing the opponent is not only criminal but also senseless. It is very difficult to politically convince anyone by killing his friends and family. However, political violence has a centuries old history.

It has been in the recent past that political violence has been commonly labelled as terrorism. That’s no new though: it was Viriathus, a Spanish warrior who fought the Romans in the II century b. C who was called “Terror romanorum”, Terror of the Romans.

Trying to assassinate a US congresswoman known for her positions on several critical issues was definitely an act of political violence with the rally cry of “¡Viva la muerte!”

Should the perpetrator being a member of the Muslim persuasion by all means his act would have been considered an act of terrorism. Alas!, the current situation will probably move to a more psychiatric consideration. A young white guy with a gun in his hand he is just going nuts, a crazy alienated derelict. But the shivering in the spine he has given all the surviving members of the US Congress is sheer terror. Political terror.

Considering otherwise is to give bay to those who cry “Viva la muerte!”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Barça 5-Betis 0

Mai havia dedicat tanta atenció a uns resultats de futbol però, d'ençà la "manita" al Real Madrid em resulta difícil resistir-me a recordar aquestes victòries abultades del Barça, tot i que em consta que no es del gust d'alguns amics i lectors d'aquest blog. Permeteu-me però que xali una mica, al mig d'uns temps tan difícils com els que anem vivint.
A l'hora si que puc constatar un cert canvi en la pràctica del futbol i, més específicament, el que practica el Barça i ha generat Pep Guardiola. El plantejament que condueix a resultats amb varis gols recorda al que va motivar un canvi a un altre esport que jugava de jove, el "balón-mano". Al balón-mano sempre es fan més gols per que el camí des que es treu la pilota, es fa molt ràpid i després es succeeixen jugades a la vora de l'àrea defensiva, que no es pot trepitjar, abans de llençar la pilota contra la porteria. Als partits del Barça, els contrincants es despleguen en una o dues línies davant de la seva àrea que, a la pràctica tampoc es pot trepitjar per no incórrer en fora de joc. I el Barça va fent combinacions de pilota fins que troba una oportunitat de xutar a porta. Quan un equip es tanca al darrera el partit resulta avorrit; com els de balón-mano que atreuen poc pùblic.
En fa por que la profusió de gols ens faci avorrir el futbol. Espero que no.
Per cert, una part de les alegries de les "manitas" del Barça m'ha fet picar les meves arrels republicanes: les "víctimes" han estat tots equips "Reals": Madrid, Sociedad de SS, Club Deportivo Español, Betis Balonpié... un petit motiu per a cridar "¡Viva la República!" enguany que fa vuitanta anys de la Segona.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

La crisis económica y los Dalton Brothers


Mis conocimientos de economía se corresponden al uso que hago del dinero: vivo de lo que gano, compro a plazos y sólo ahorro para mi pensión.

Me cuesta entender el beneficio económico del ahorro traducido a inversión: es decir, usar el dinero para ganar más. Siempre he entendido que lo único que añade valor es el trabajo y que el manejo del dinero para obtener beneficios está entre el límite que tiene la usura con la especulación. Y prefiero dejar aparte la estafa pura y dura que es lo que algunos genios como los Lehman Brothers y Bernie Madoff nos han enseñado. Los Lehmann Brothers me suenan igual que los Dalton Brothers, (“fellow Oklahomans”). Y Mr. Madoff me plantea la pregunta: What are you made of, Madoff?, porque seguro que su cara debe tener la consistencia del cemento Portland.

He renunciado a entender la trascendencia que tienen las primas de seguros sobre futuros para la financiación de los estados, el chalaneo con los créditos de las finanzas internacionales o dónde coño van a parar los fondos “de rescate” que los bancos centrales tienen que aportar para que las economías no se hundan, y mucho menos que han hecho los jodidos bancos privados con los millones que les ha dado el estado para que se tapen el culo que habían dejado al descubierto con maniobras fallidas. Y como no lo entiendo tampoco los voy a juzgar. Al fin y al cabo, Alí Babá compartía la ética de los cuarenta ladrones: el lucro a costa de otros.

Pero sí puedo juzgar a los políticos, a los dirigentes, que por imprudencia, complicidad o estupidez simple, mediante relajaciones de las regulaciones, connivencias impresentables y general desprecio de los ciudadanos a quienes deben sus puestos, nos han llevado por estas trochas. Y culpo igual a los ejecutivos en el poder que tomaron decisiones erróneas, o peor, no tomaron ninguna, como a las oposiciones incapaces de enfrentarse con contundencia u ofrecer alternativas utilizables. Derechas o izquierdas, demócratas o republicanos, liberales o conservadores, no han estado ni a las alturas ni a las bajuras de las circunstancias. No se merecen más que nuestro desprecio.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

ETA terrorism: the end ain't nigh


This week's The Economist prints a piece on Spain and ETA (On the verge of a nervous peace. Is ETA about to declare a permanent ceasefire?)

Bill Featherstone offers a comment:

In the Spanish version of the war on terror, good news are hard to come by. No matter how weakened is the ETA organisation, everybody realises that a definite peace will mean a very important boost to president Zapatero slim chances to opt for re-election and the overall chances of the Socialist party to perform positively in the upcoming local elections.

No mater how important a definite peace in the so called "North war" could be for Spain as a country, I fear that obscure interests, as it has happened before, will spoil the chance for a complete ceasefire in the foreseeable future. I wish I'd be wrong, though.

But so far, the extortion practices remain active for many a business in the Basque country and the hardened core of ETA would not be ready to give up those revenues.

As it has been mentioned before, today's ETA is more an organised crime syndicate that a political, however radical, organisation. The number of individuals, whether in jail or in exile, whose personal economy depends of the organisational funds has not declined in the past recent years, rather the opposite. And in the current economic situations it wouldn't be easy to "buy out" ETA's disappearance as it has been previously suggested (back in the 90's some thought that putting the whole of the Basque radicals population on some sort of government payroll, would cost three times less that the police and law enforcement dealing with the ETA terrorist problem budget).

There are still interests that favour a continuity of the so-called Basque independence struggle and not all of them are just political.

Monday, January 03, 2011

15 anys de xarxes locals d'Internet


Doncs sí, ja son 15 anys que remenem per la xarxa. Al començament no ens ho creiem, però alguns d'avençats ens ho van fer veure: "Això és el futur de la comunicació"
Amb una xarxa local vam comunicar i donar opcions de comunicar-se a vint-i-cinc mil conciutadans. Potser le inversió més eficaç de les autoritats provincials, més donats a aportacions cutres de folcklore i artesania.
No cal qu us ho mireu tot, però a Youtube hem penjat les nostres visions d'aquests 15 anys passats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djYNWbX-a-E