Monday, February 05, 2007

Breaking news: They busted an Al Qaeda / Salafist suspected terrorist this morning in Reus, near Tarragona. This guy, a Moroccan, was part of an infrastructure group that sent 32 suicide bombers to Iraq. And there are those who doubt that we are fighting the enemy, who openly declare their goal of killing or forcibly converting those of us who prefer Western liberal democracy, on the ground in Baghdad.

Yesterday in Bilbao 18 of the 19 members of ETA's youth squad, Jarrai, who have been sentenced to six years in prison each for membership in a terrorist organization, were arrested in the middle of a pro-ETA show of force. The puppy terrorists and Batasuna leaders like Otegi and Permach held a demo outside a jai alai fronton, and then the "youths" retreated inside the building while the rest of the demonstrators (without using violence) impeded the police from entering to arrest them. The cops were filmed hauling the punks away while the pro-ETA crowd jeered them.

In probably related news, somebody set off a small bomb at the Baracaldo train station last night.

The PP, the Foro de Ermua, and the AVT had a demo on Saturday in Madrid against negotiations with ETA in particular and the Zap government in general. More symbolic politics; the Right opposition calls one of these demos every couple of months, and I don't see what good they're doing. One of the problems with demos is that in general only the most rabid partisans turn out, and those people make your cause look bad. The lefty hippies and anarchists and that lot who show up for all their demos make most normal people react negatively to their cause, while the far-right wingnuts who show up at these PP demos yelling (often in pre-constitutional language) that Zap is behind the March 11 bombings have the same effect. I would suggest fewer demonstrations and more attention to the virtues of the free market, the rule of law, and a realistic foreign policy.

Barcepundit has more.

Racial tension in Badalona: A bunch of Romanian gypsies squatted in an apartment building in that Barcelona suburb, and the local residents kicked up a big stink, though there was no violence. The gypsies, who had trashed the place and had been having all-night parties, have moved on, and the crisis is over until it happens somewhere else in a couple of weeks or months or so. Meanwhile, the conflict in the town of Vidreres, where some twenty gypsy families have set up a trailer camp, is still on. Locals accuse gypsies of extorting money from them and of defecating in the streets.

Most Spaniards dislike gypsies a great deal, and I'd say that some of them hate gypsies. They say gypsies are dirty and steal and beat up their women. I'm not real fond of a lot of gypsies myself. Yeah, that's racist and prejudiced.

Unfortunately, there is some justification for these stereotypes. Most gypsies are part of the underclass, and many behave a great deal like some underclass people in the US--that is, with a values system of their own, quite different from mainstream society. I would not willingly go to gypsy neighborhoods like Can Tunis, La Mina, or parts of El Carmel here in Barcelona, because those are bad areas and you might get robbed. Nobody who wasn't looking to buy drugs would go to Can Tunis, and the cab drivers won't go there. Now, there is a gypsy area around Plaza Raspall in Gracia, and another around Calle de la Cera in the Raval, and those are decent neighborhoods inhabited by decent people. Some gypsies do live according to the standards of society in general. But a disproportionate amount of them don't.

The Times got an interview with hunger-striking terrorist Iñaki de Juana Chaos, guilty of 25 murders, including a photo of him in shackles in his hospital bed. I say if he wants to die, let him. I have no sympathy for such a person, and if Spain had the death penalty, he would have been a leading candidate for it. I'd have voted yes if I were on the jury.

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