Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

Ode to Catalonia

In #GlobalRevolution on 21 August 2013 at 20:13


Barcelona, August 21

Dear people,

The ferry boat docks at the port of Barcelona. After an exciting summer of revolution in the East, I have finally returned to Spain. Or have I? From the looks of it, many people here will deny it, passionately. This is not Spain. This is Catalonia!

Catalan nationalism is nothing new. It has been periodically resurging in waves all throughout Spanish history. But lately it seems to be out of control. In a few years time the partisans of full independence have passed from roughly one fifth of the population to more than half.

The economic crisis is the catalyst of this latest wave of nationalism. There is a general feeling that it’s all Madrid’s fault, and that if Catalonia were independent everything would be all right.

During the first year of the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona and the greater part of Catalonia were controlled…

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From North to South

In #GlobalRevolution on 19 August 2013 at 18:59


At sea, August 17

Dear people,

Years ago I was returning to Italy from Paris. On the train I met a couple from a village on the plains near Milan. Farmers. They must have been in their fifties, and this was the first time they had travelled outside of Italy. For them, it had been a revelation.

With shiny eyes they told me about their experiences. “Have you seen how young people can actually find a job in France? Have you seen how they can afford their own place to live? Have you noticed how public services really seem to work?”

Now France is not the best place in the world by far, but for someone who only knows Italy, it’s paradise. Then when you return, you finally start to notice all the shit. You realize that this is not normal, this is just Italy. And Italy is not the…

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Nothing To See Here

In #GlobalRevolution on 15 August 2013 at 23:49


Rome, August 15

Dear people,

While our Muslim brothers are being savagely massacred in Egypt, I have re-emerged in Rome. Here, all is quiet. I move around and there is art whirling through my head. In particular the works of Magritte. I see the images of tanks, bulldozers, snipers, machine-guns, and these awesome Armoured Personnel Carriers donated by Uncle Sam. I see images of dead bodies, some of them charred, and doctors and nurses covered in blood. I see images of weeping women, and of courageous protesters at the barricades continuing their resistance all through the day with stones and petrol bombs. Then I see a text in light projected on a building, saying “this is not a coup.”

The images dissolve. Around me is Rome in the dead of August. Nothing to see here. Please move along.

Numerous wise people have affirmed that the purpose of travelling is not…

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Gezi Park Docu

In #GlobalRevolution on 7 August 2013 at 11:03


Dear people,

In all the clashes I witnessed – whether it was in Madrid, in Lisbon or in Istanbul – I have always had the pleasure to encounter Brandon Jourdan in the first line. As dauntless cameraman for, he has produced yet another valuable documentary together with his better half, Marianne Maeckelbergh. For everyone who wants to know what happened at Gezi Park, this 30 minute video is a must see.

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“Tales from the Crypt”

In #GlobalRevolution on 5 August 2013 at 10:41


[Spanish translation attempt here]

Sofia, August 4

Dear people,

There is one more layer missing. People here have rightly pointed this out to me. The fourth dimension.

Imagine time. Imagine people, cities, nations, empires. Imagine birth, growth, stagnation, decay, death. Over and over again. Imagine the fog. You’re somewhere on the line of time. Actually, you’re exactly in the middle, always. When you look forward, you can’t see where you’re going, which is frightening. When you look back, you can distinguish the road appearing out of the haze. You see yourself, your parents, your tribe, your species.

Here in Sofia I met a Russian girl, an archaeologist, who had come all the way from California to dig up pieces of an old Thracian city. It’s the furthest point of the road behind us that we can still vaguely see. We know it’s much longer than that. This fertile land…

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Day and Night

In #GlobalRevolution on 2 August 2013 at 13:43


[Spanish translation here]

Sofia, August 2.

Dear people,

At Occupy Wall Street there used to be the Morning Bell March and the Closing Bell March. Also in Bulgaria the beginning and the end of the day are marked by protest.

The evening march is the main event, no doubt. It attracts thousands of protesters, it targets the government as a whole and its main slogan is ‘resignation!’ The morning protest only drums up a few dozen people, it targets the parliamentarians individually as they arrive at parliament in their fancy black Mercedeses. The main slogan you will hear is ‘Mafia! Mafia!’

Both protests have their own spaces, and every space has its own encampment. The evening protest takes place in front of parliament, where there is the main camp around the monument with the piano, the banners, the slogans, the cross, the plastic swimming pools and the communications tent…

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