For a few denarii

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For a few denarii, on the front page of ABC there is frequently a very visible ad –it even appeared recently under a photo of Cardinal Rouco- in which a beautiful woman with bare arms eagerly proclaims “Bravo for sex!” Then underneath, on the same front age, are the “technical” details: "Premature ejaculation? Erectile dysfunction?... Visit our clinic...". Yes, for a few denarii this is available to unwitting readers of all ages...

Later, for a few more denarii –and it’s the same in the majority of newspapers, with exceptions that warrant to be commended- on the inside pages there are ads for prostitutes with blatant images and even more blatant text: "Woman, married but unsatisfied... I’m your slave... Do with me whatever you want..." And then the details of the “specialized” services offered.

Is this how they intend to contribute to educating people, particularly children and adolescents? After this, how can they justify their comments concerning the language and habits of young people and how values are taught in the Spanish education system?

Is it worth it?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I was stunned when I read on the front page of “El País” that the Bernabeu is too Small for Cristiano Ronaldo,” when over 75,000 fans gathered, not to watch him play, but simply to “see” him, to worship their new idol, the new draft pick who joined the Real Madrid team for 94 million euros. 75,000 inside the stadium and several thousand left outside during the most massively attended debut on record...!

I then asked myself if it is worth the effort to continue to fight for democracy, for social justice and peace... Will we one day be able to mobilize people to meet the challenges of our times? It was in June, 2009... when I told myself that if the majority looks in the direction that the globalizers want them to, the great problems will remain unresolved. Poverty and violence will continue, thousands of children will continue to die each day... Each day over 60,000 people die of hunger and neglect, almost the same number that crowded together that day in the Bernabeu Stadium.

And then, when I observed one of the boys who were jumping for joy at the sight of that excellent Portuguese player, I thought that it is indeed worth the effort –for that child, for the children, because we owe them a radical change—to continue this uphill struggle on the road to peace and solidarity, with efforts to counteract the practically total lack of aid... Convinced that soon there will be many who will look at their children and young people in the same way, joining a rebellion that may lead to a “new beginning” of that other possible world to which we all aspire

For a handful of votes...

Monday, June 28, 2010

They are "possible” votes that are in no way sure since, given the time remaining before the next elections, these activities, so lacking in solidarity, may likewise have a price... in votes.

But even if this were not the case, it is irresponsible behavior with respect to society as a whole and our democratic principles –which shouldn’t be tarnished so frequently- to place at risk decisions that must be taken at the national level, and which our membership in the Europe Union requires.

And I should underscore that these decisions are not to my liking. Neither did I like the “rescue” that the G-20 afforded financial institutions in November, 2008, nor do I like the communications technology and real estate “bubbles” created by the “globalizers” who argued in favor of the market’s “self-regulation” of business activities... Nor do I agree with the “assessment” of the economy by biased and partial public or private institutions... and world governance that continues to be exercised by groups of plutocrats who, avoiding a multilateral system and being incapable of finally eliminating tax havens, are subjecting political life to speculation and enabling the “rescued” financiers to once again seek to run the show...

So I’m not in agreement with practically anything. But not having once, just this one time, put the interests of Spain above their own is absolutely inappropriate and irresponsible.

Great political leaders think about the future generations. The little ones focus on the upcoming elections.

For a handful of votes, or maybe not even that many!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Human rights are based on the equal dignity of all human beings. Israel, which paid such a high price in lives and suffering to have this recognized internationally, must now learn its own lesson. All human beings. Israel should now forget about the “chosen people”. All equal in dignity.

Israel’s abhorrent acts, the disdain with which they treat others –the dead children in Gaza, the living conditions on the Strip, their brutal response to the humanitarian aid that arrived on their coasts- deserve unanimous condemnation, and not only “regrets”, from all mankind.

The cornerstone of future peaceful coexistence, which we owe the coming generations –Israel’s too- is recognizing the equal dignity of each human being, who is unique and irreplaceable. This was solemnly proclaimed in the UNESCO Constitution, drafted after a terrible war with the most abominable practices of extermination and holocaust.

Neither the authorities nor the people of Israel should forget this. Nor should those who from the highest levels of power second them without so much as a word. We owed them so much. Now it is their turn, and this cannot be postponed.

Yes, Israel: all equal.

Bravo, President Lula, for your lesson in diplomacy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Brazil of "making the world more dangerous" due to Lula’s mediation with Iran, despite the fact that this joint action with Turkey had been consulted previously with the U.S. administration.

Nevertheless, we can easily imagine the extreme international and domestic pressures brought upon Washington to abort the alternative diplomacy in which these “emerging countries” have been so skillfully engaged.

This is a bad sign. But, good sign, shortly thereafter the United Nations signed an agreement to hold a summit in 2012 to convert the Middle East into a region free of weapons of mass destruction and to accelerate the disarmament process of all countries that possess atomic warheads. The agreement was subscribed by the 189 signatory countries of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (TNP). However, Israel, which has neither signed the TNP nor admitted or denied that it maintains nuclear arsenals, should not be “pressured” until the region is at peace!

What Lula has demonstrated is that if multilateralism doesn’t work through the direct manipulative influence of the most powerful countries, it is possible to achieve via negotiations what has never been achieved by force and antimissile shields. It’s clear that the captains of the great war machine, who were already watering at the mouth at the thought of war with Iran must feel terribly disappointed. Lula swiftly responded to the U.S.’s accusation by saying that nuclear energy should be an instrument for development, rather than a threat. “My experience as a union leader taught me that inflexible positions only feed confrontation and move us further away from possible peaceful solutions", he added.

In contrast, Minister Moratinos applauded “Turkey and Brazil’s tremendous effort". It is now essential through a strengthened United Nations to ensure that President Ahmadinejad keeps his word. And, in turn, that Israel realize that its “exceptional” status, based on the United States’ unyielding support, has concluded and that it must submit to the directives of the same organization that recognized Israel’s right to statehood in 1947.

What neither the G-7, G-8 nor G-20 achieved was made possible through these alternative channels of negotiation. Bravo, President Lula. Bravo, Prime Minister Erdogan. We must reform the United Nations, commencing with the Security Council, which today is being used for the benefit of the world’s great powers.

Times have changed. The great instruments of world politics must also change. “Let us rapidly put diplomacy and dialogue where there were previously only threats”. Neither Brazil nor Turkey has nuclear weapons... The paradox is that those who have them refuse to let others have them instead of seeking nuclear disarmament, the great aspiration of all human beings who think responsibly in the future generations. President Obama seems to be determined to do so. Let’s help him.

The World Cup is worth €600,000 to each player

Monday, June 14, 2010

I like football. And I can appreciate the quality of certain footballers. Especially those in the youth local teams. But I think that it’s shameful, inappropriate and unacceptable for these players, who are also the most highly paid in the country –and that’s why they are part of the squad- to be offered 600,000 euros (x 23 = 13.8 million euros) if they win the World Cup.

This amount is of course small fry if we calculate the media "return" that this victory would bring about. Those who will be "lacing their boots", in any case, are those who have managed to ensure that both the press and the broadcasters dedicate pages and hours of popular entertainment, turning us into mere impassive receivers for whom time passes by and passes by in this way without pauses to reflect, to express oneself, to agree or disagree, in short, to be citizens. Full citizens.

They keep us entertained. They are winning the game.

How many acts of reconciliation and peace, development and rehabilitation following disasters could be funded with this "added bonus"?

We have to change. Radical changes, with the participation of the people. Including those of us who are keen on football.

Garzón, World Judge

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some time ago (on April 1, 2010) I wrote in this blog that if they were able to prosecute Garzón, he would emerge unscathed. Given his national and international reputation, I knew that the wicked locals, obsessed with obscuring the past, would not be able to suppress our collective memory, but rather would enlighten and awaken it by further highlighting the work of a judge who, with great courage and foresight has not only sought to do justice to Spain’s past and present, but who has also taken aim at international criminals and perpetrators in acts of genocide.

They sought to put an end to Judge Garzón’s brilliant career and they have made him even more visible.

People frequently acquire “world status” when they suddenly die or are the victims of real or spiritual assassination... and just as suddenly all the world finally appreciates and values what they have done, with those who survive having the advantage of personally enjoying this worldwide recognition.

Despite my sadness and indignation, way down deep I am pleased because the dirty hands that sought to alienate and censure a great Spanish judge have made him a world renowned judge, respected by the immense majority of Spaniards and, what is more difficult, by all mankind.

60th Anniversary of the European Union (Union?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

We want a Europe that is a beacon of democracy, a Europe that is a lighthouse.

Not a delocalized Europe.

Not a dependent Europe. A Europe of the North and South Atlantic, a Europe of the Mediterranean, of the Pacific.

A Europe allied with the United States, but with independent security and with its own autonomy, which is clearly visible to the world.

In Schuman’s declaration, which initiated the long road toward the European Union 60 years ago, we can read "world peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it". This is the Europe we want. The one that knows that there is nothing inevitable, nothing that can’t be changed or reinvented, like Schuman and Monnet did that 9th of May in 1950.

2010, the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, has become the European year of destabilization, exploitation and an exclusive market that replaces values with money.

Today we are part of this rich neighborhood in the global village in which no more than 18% of the inhabitants of the earth live. We must open our windows and doors in solidarity, aware of the collective shame of so much hunger, poverty, lack of healthcare and sanitary services in so many parts of the world.

The material poverty of so many has its origins in the spiritual poverty of a few.

This is not the European Union that we want and that we should painstakingly work for each day.

The financial institutions that were “rescued” by the G-20 (plutocracy), instead of by the United Nations (democracy), and which are now destabilizing the world with false news, biased evaluations, and all sorts of cunning arguments disguised as the “market"... should be tried as criminals.

We must put an end to this irresponsible economy of speculation, tax havens, and delocalization of production, fueled by greed.

And mechanisms must be put into place to protect the most vulnerable of the population, with alternative sources of financing (such as taxes on electronic transactions, currency exchanges, credit cards, etc.) and the establishment of a Basic Income to enable all people to receive the equivalent of minimum wage.

And above all –I will never tire of repeating this- we must change this war economy (3,000 million dollars spent daily) to an economy of sustainable development (renewable energies, food production, water, healthcare, environment, housing, transportation...)

Let no one be deceived: charity and justice, yes; charity without justice, no. Because the solution lies in the full and effective recognition of equal human dignity.

Civil society must assume commitments, but not take on the responsibilities of government. Government which, in a democratic system, is the genuine representative of its citizens.

And citizens will no longer remain silent, resigned witnesses...

The time for silence has come to an end.

It is time for education at all levels.

It is time to avoid distractions.

It is time to continue, time to “rise up”, as José Ángel Valente said in one of his poems.

Development is cooperation, not exploitation.

It is aid, not conditional loans.

It is sharing.

It is tending an outstretched hand, not a raised fist.

It is inventing the roads to tomorrow.

It is including others.

It is committing oneself.

It is getting involved.

It is being ourselves, building with our daily activities a culture of peace. With the spirit of solidarity and fraternity described in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration.

The things we have to hear!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spain is paying a high price for its progressist illusion”, said former President Aznar impassively in a statement published on the front page of the ABC daily (March 28), seated and staring directly at his readers, wearing a half smile. He is one of the Azores Three, and the only one who has not yet acknowledged the immense error –and the suffering and deaths- caused by that horrendous decision…

It is not Spain but rather the whole world that is paying a high price for the diappointment of neoliberal globalization, the “bubbles, total deregulation, replacing ethical principles and social justice with the laws of the market, the alienation of multilateralism that has been replaced by groups of plutocrats, the weakening of the Nation-State, transferring not only financial resources, but also political responsibility to large private consortia.

Mr. Aznar is profoundly displeased that after 60 years the progressives in the US have extended healthcare to all citizens; that over 30 million Americans, the poorest and most vulnerable, finally have access to medical services, despite the large insurance companies.

We will never again allow ourselves to be deceived, no matter how much media power is mobilized in favor of formulas which, in addition to disappointment, have produced enormous social unrest and have promoted the extension of an economy of speculation and war, delocalizing production in the East. We now want all human beings, and not only those who live in the rich neighborhood of our global village to benefit from progress. We now want to eradicate poverty and hunger. We now want fewer war machines and more global sustainable development: renewable energies, food, water and healthcare for all, while protecting the environment…

And we will no longer allow those who disappointed us so deeply to determine the new course of mankind

How brave they are with the little ones!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Everyone judging Cuba… The Cuba that ends at Guantanamo. The Cuba that lacks public liberties, but where the “Ladies in White” may make statements and stage demonstrations, and cameras can film hunger strikes and the resistance. The Cuba of those who are tired of waiting and those who are waiting still.

The Cuba that has not bowed to the absolute power that has subjected it to interminable embargos. The Cuba that provides schooling for its children and healthcare that enables it to export teachers and doctors. The Cuba that must evolve, as must other “democratic” countries of the same hemisphere where over 40% of children receive no schooling and there is mass emigration, because their wealth is exploited by a handful of multinational corporations; countries that remilitarize the continent, accepting U.S. bases on their borders…; countries with the death penalty and the arbitrariness (until recently, but also applauded by the ultras) to invade other countries on a whim; and that have a large part of their communications media in the same hands...

Where are the reporters who, for example, can film what is happening inside China? How many death penalties have been executed there in the last year? How many are on hunger strikes?

I am certainly very aware of what must change in Cuba. Commencing with President Raul Castro’s last speech. But I resist always looking in the direction indicated by the world’s great media strategists. I like to do just the opposite…