Sunday, April 13, 2003

I've been reading, online, a book by David Irving called Uprising about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Before y'all jump all over me, I know perfectly well who David Irving is, and I don't like him any better than you do. He is best known for his Holocaust denial; he lost a lawsuit over it a couple of years ago in Britain. There's no question he's an anti-Semite; one of the major themes of Uprising is that many of the Hungarian Stalinists who were rebelled against were Jews, and Irving revels in pointing this out. His flimsy cover for banging on this drum is that, so he alleges, traditional Hungarian anti-Semitism directed against the Jews in the Communist Party was an important factor in the rebellion.

The book's interesting, though, because it deals with an urban battle. I've read Antony Beevor's Berlin, another story of an urban battle, I recently read another online book on the Paris Commune, and we've all seen what just happened in Baghdad. There's a major difference between Baghdad and the other three. As far as I can tell, there are no lynch mobs roaming Baghdad as there were in the other three cases. It also looks like there's food and water in Baghdad, or at least enough to survive until the shipments start rolling in. It also seems that the opposition in Baghdad has pretty much given up after only about three days, unlike the other cases. Also, the conquerors of Baghdad are Americans and have no old scores to settle like the Red Army, the Budapest mob, or the Communards. And, simply, Baghdad was not destroyed like the other three cities. You wanna see destroyed? Check out Grozny. Or Beirut about 1985. Or Phnom Penh ten years earlier.

This is why today's Vanguardia is just ridiculous, as usual. Baghdad Bob gets page one to gripe about the looting. Plàcid Garcia-Planas gets page four to whine about how the Yanks aren't stopping the looting. Rafael Ramos gets page five to allege that the Americans are going to plant some chemical weapons in Iraq. Tomás Alcoverro gets page ten to whinge about the looting. Baghdad Bob gets page fifteen, again, to blame the Yankees for the looting and smear them as war criminals for the death of civilians. Finally, on page eighteen and nineteen, Castro's repressive crackdown in Cuba gets a mention. Carlos Nadal gets page twenty to remind us all the Yanks are just a gang of imperialists. On page twenty-three there's a story about how wonderful and peaceful Barcelona is because they had another anti-war demo yesterday, with 300,000 according to the organizers and 25,000 according to the Government. The gummint's figgers tend to be closer to reality than the SocioCommunist organizers', as a rule. On page twenty-four there's an ode to the solidariousness of the rich kids holding a campout in the Plaza Francesc Macià.

Question: Why do they always have campouts whenever they're protesting against something? Answer: Because the campers are high-school and college kids, and adults under age 30. People don't leave home here till they're thirty or so. They live with their parents, under the scrutiny of their watchful Catalan mamas. And most of them don't have cars. This means that they have nowhere they can go to smoke pot and, mostly, have sex. Imagine if you were a twenty-seven-year-old male living in a three-room apartment with your mom and dad. Or, for that matter, a female, though I naturally identify more with the male perspective here. You'd never get any action. It would be awful. You'd be horribly frustrated all the time. No wonder all the kids are always protesting against the system. They need some kind of outlet for their pent-up energies. And, of course, when they go on the protest campouts, what they're really doing is protesting two hours a day and fornicating in the tents for the other 22 or so.

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