Pointless thoughts while listening to the Allman Brothers:
Zap and Chiraq had their meeting in Girona and agreed not to make any decisions on the controversial high-tension power line across the Pyrenees between the two countries, since France has both presidential and legislative elections and Spain has municipal elections next spring and neither one has the balls to piss off the watermelons--green outside, red inside. Of all ironies, among the three members of the Catalan Tripartite, two are against it--Initiative and Esquerra--and the Socialists are in favor. I don't get the controversy--do these morons really believe that power lines cause cancer or something? This project has been in the planning stages until 1982.
The Two Stooges also announced their Middle East peace plan, to include 1) a cease-fire 2) a meeting between Olmert and Abu Mazen 3) a government of national unity in Palestine 4) an exchange of prisoners 5) the deployment of a peacekeeping force in Gaza and 6) a regional peace conference. The Israelis will have no problem with numbers 1, 2, and 6. It's more likely that I'll grow tits than Number 3. As for Number Four, what, you want the Israelis to trade tried and sentenced terrorist murderers for hostages held by those same terrorist hands? Israel will rightly never agree to anything of the sort. And Number Five would depend on whether the peacekeeping force is to disarm the terrorist gangs running Gaza, or not. If not, then precisely what good would it do? Josep Pique, whom I am starting to like more and more, ironically called the plan "a genius idea," which he attributed to the Stooges' "ignorance" about international politics.
Girona comment: It's a lovely city with a lot to see and do, located conveniently near both the Pyrenees and the Costa Brava. However, I have never been anywhere where the people were so unfriendly. and they were nasty not so much to me as to my molt Katalanisch wife. We were virtually kicked out of a restaurant for the sin of entering, were treated rudely by patrons in a cafe, and got honked at (because our car has Barcelona plates, of course) not just once, but several times, while trying to find our way around town. The only place they were nice was at the Bocatta fast-food joint. Neither of us has ever received such unpleasant treatment anywhere else in Catalonia, Spain, the rest of Europe, the US, or Mexico. Nobody's ever been rude to me in France, to explode one urban legend, and I speak lousy French.
Equatorial Guinea is Spain's only ex-colony in black Africa, and it is run by an absolute scumbag murderous corrupt dictator named Teodoro Obiang. This guy is a hundred times worse than Pinochet or Marcos or Batista, and he just paid an official visit to Spain. He was received quite politely by the King. Zap was photographed shaking his hand. It seems that the oil and gas sector, led by Repsol, pressured the administration to make nice to Obiang. To Mariano Rajoy's eternal shame, he too held a half-hour meeting with Obiang.
According to La Vanguardia, "With an income thanks to petroleum of $3 billion a year during the decade of the 1990s, the population should have the second highest per-capita income in the world. In reality, however, the country occupies one of the lowest positions on the UN human development index." The Vangua adds that Obiang's son owns mansions in Paris, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Los Angeles, and Malibu, and a collection of Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris. His salary as minister of agriculture and forestry earns him €4000 a month; he is nicknamed "the lumberjack" in Equatorial Guinea, since the timber industry is the country's only other important economic activity.
Here's the fun part. Angel Exposito, on page 20 of Thursday's Vangua, makes every cynical pro-imperialist argument that can be imagined in support of Spain's dealing with Obiang. "Either we continue to act foolishly...or we begin a new stage with a country that will be fundamental in Africa within a very few years, where they speak almost perfect Spanish, which is Christian, which has a leadership class that studied at Spanish universities, and whose future, inexorably, is Westernization." See, it's all for those poor benighted Africans' own good.
Exposito continues: "There are four possibilities: allowing the United States to continue exploiting Point Europa north of the island of Bioko, without even talking to a Guinean; allowing the Chinese to continue expanding in Bata and Malabo with there shops as they buy liquefied gas at the price of gold; allowing France to incorporate Guinea into the Francophonie step by step; and, the last one, taking advantage of our chance once and for all."
There's more, but that's enough. So some respect for United Fruit and Anaconda Copper, all right? They were just doing what they had to do, isn't that right, Mr. Exposito?
The big local news is that the cops pulled a massive raid on the Barrio Chino, Barcelona's historic red-light district, and arrested 110 individuals involved with trafficking in prostitutes. Almost all of them are Rumanian. One of the streets raided was Calle Robadors, where I lived back in 1987 when the Chino was still the Chino. My building was next door to a private VD clinic, and there were twelve or fifteen whorehouses up the street--the hookers, all middle-aged Spaniards, would sit out front as the clients paraded by pretending they weren't looking for what they were. It was rather picturesque. The funny part is that on the back page of today's Vanguardia is an interview with Rumanian ex-president Petr Roman, who states, "There is no Rumanian mafia." Uh-huh. Whatever you say, Pete.
The malodorous Andy Robinson accuses the United States of censorship:
Al Jazira began its new service in English today...but in the principal English-language market, the United States, almost nobody has the chance to watch it...Everything indicates that the major cable television companies' decision amounts to "de facto censorship," according to Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy. "Millions of people want to see Al Jazira's programming in English, but there are influential groups who do not want to offend the Administration or the advertisers.
Yeah, millions of people in the US are clamoring at this moment to watch Al Jazira instead of Desperate Housewives.
Finally, I am absolutely disgusted by the following comment by Manuel Trallero:
Where is the Jewish lobby?
I would like to know where the components of the arch-famous Catalan Jewish lobby are hiding now. Where is Mrs. Pilar Rahola, where is Mr. Vicenç Villatoro, Mr. Joan Oliver, or the Open Catalonia Foundation? Where are they now? Now that the Israeli army has massacred children because of a "technical error" or now that the gays and lesbians of Israel have had to hold a demonstration inside a stadium in Jerusalem for fear of reprisals by ultra-Orthodox Jews. Hadn't we agreed that the Talibans were precisely the other ones, the "moros"? None of them, of the Catalan Jewish lobby, so powerful on a certain TV3 morning program, has opened his mouth.
Fuck off, Mr. Trallero.
Now that we've got that out of the way: 1) "lobby" implies these people are paid, which they are not. AIPAC is the Israeli lobby in the US, and it is openly run as a lobbying organization that tries to influence legislation. Comparing individuals who support Israel to paid lobbyists is unfair. 2) The fact that Trallero can only name four individuals proves that the "Jewish lobby" around here is very small. I would imagine that 90% of Catalan intellectuals are anti-Israeli. 3) The Israelis do not kill children on purpose. They would not have fired on Gaza if Hamas had not been firing rockets at them from that very place. 4) None of those four people believes that all "moros" are Talibans, and implying that they do is wrong. And putting the slur "moro" in their mouths is the height of disgraceful behavior. 5) I imagine that you are going to get a furious response from the people you named, Mr. Trallero. Nice troll. You reeled us in, you anti-Semitic piece of shit.