Saturday, April 28, 2012

75th anniversary of the bombing of Guernica

"Last Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The bombing was carried out by Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe at the behest of general Francisco Franco. It is regarded as one of history’s first air raids on a defenceless civilian population. Guernica was far from a military target; it was a town of 5,000 civilians, attacked on market day, when the number of casualties would be highest. Franco hoped the attack would break the morale of his enemies, the Republicans. For Adolf Hitler, the bombing was a chance to test the capabilities of his Luftwaffe."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In cold irons bound

"Communist leaders, union leaders, monarchists and activists made up a significant amount of the clientele at Carabanchel Prison. Opening up for business in 1944, Carabanchel was one of the biggest prisons in Europe and was very busy during the Franco era.

Following the panopticon design created by Jeremy Bentham in the late 1800s, Carabanchel was inescapable, and the political prisoners kept there knew it all too well, as they were the ones who built it. Notoriously brutal, the prison began housing your run-of-the-mill criminals, social deviants, and terrorists after General Franco's regime ended in 1975, and closed its gargantuan doors for good in 1998.

For more text, and extraordinary videos and photos click here at Atlas Obscura.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our sickness = Their profits

"Privatisation." When the government sells off public services into the hands of private companies whose greatest interest is making money from "customers" who have the bad luck to be ill.

At a hospital in Olot in Catalunya, "private activity" was recently agreed to by the hospital authorities, undoubtedly because of budget cuts by the Mas government.

A letter of protest against the certain "changes" to the quality of care has been sent by the Dempeus per la salut pública collective.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Atheist groups suspend [planned] Easter procession in Madrid

"A second attempt in as many years by atheist associations to hold a march on Maundy Thursday has been quashed by the central government delegation in Madrid, a decision that was backed by the regional High Court.

Luis Vega, of the Madrid Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (AMAL), said it had been decided to postpone the march until the end of the month. Last year the protest was held in May, without incident.

The five organizations also based their decision on the “aggressive and anti-secular” words of police chief Ignacio Cosidó, who described Holy Week as a “dam against lay currents.”

AMAL also stated that the ruling spoke of “provocative groups.”

“These are veiled threats because the police, who should protect us from such individuals, seem to be telling us that we will suffer the consequences if we hold our march when we are peaceful people with old people and children in attendance.”

Marta Fernández Maeso in El País.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Polish view on Spain’s difficulties

"It is hard to see how the stifling austerity measures are going to get the Spanish economy out of recession and decrease unemployment. What is certain is that even if the EU manages to save Greece from bankruptcy-- something which most economists agree is at best doubtful-- in the case of a similar crisis involving Spain there will not be enough money for a bailout."

Text of article by Krzysztof Kęciek from 'Przegłąd' magazine.

Translated by blogger Czarny Kot, a former Spanish resident.

Read more here.


This article makes some pretty valid points. The use of computers is a bit behind the times...though that is now changing. Mentalities are more often the problem but it is the old fashioned nature of this country that can sometimes be its best points.

The only point I would dispute in this article relates to the claim that "the [construction] boom was fuelled by mortgages." This is only partly true because it does not acknowledge the pushing up of land/property prices by those who bought up big time despite living outside Spain.

Equally, the author does not mention share prices and other financial market speculation as a major factor in overheating the economy. His suggestion that the protestors have largely stopped protesting is also incorrect.