Fecsa-Endesa says that Barcelona has returned to "practical normality," but there are still some people without power here in Gracia. The Bar Vall is back on; Francesc, the owner, got interviewed on TV3 news today. The Forn Rabassa is still down, though, and the owner and the counter girl got interviewed, too. The fruit shop is still down as well.
They had some real big pot-bangings here yesterday afternoon, which I think is dumb but fair enough, but they also blocked off traffic on the Traversera de Dalt, causing a huge traffic snarl-up and inconveniencing literally thousands of people who have nothing to do with the power outage. That just pisses me off. It's the "we're angry at something, so we're going to make everyone else's life difficult, too" attitude. Where I come from, if you block the public highway and interfere with everyone else's rights, we arrest your ass and haul you off to the cop shop.
There is a lot, really a lot, of public anger here. It's mostly aimed at an amorphous "they," the Powers that Be, the hidden interests, those who control everything behind the scenes, care only about themselves, and cheat and manipulate all the rest of us. Paranoia and conspiracy theory, of course, but there's a lot of it around here.
TV3 is still most shamefully trying to deflect attention away from the political parties that control it. La Vanguardia says that the municipal Socio-Communist coalition, for the first time, is facing serious public discontent. Says Ramon Suñé:
The immediate reaction of Mayor Hereu and his team, to declare war on the electric companies, was not very convincing. Especially if we keep in mind the lack of pressure exercised during recent years by local authorities on those responsible for guaranteeing a necessary service. Among them is the Generalitat, which in 2005 promised the installation of a 220 kilovolt cable between the Vilanova and Maragall substations. That is, works planned for many years and that now, when the worst has happened, have had to be jerry-rigged provisionally.
Until Monday, foreseeable problems with the electrical supply did not particularly concern the Barcelona City Council. (There is no) reference, not even a thought, in the governing agreement signed by Jordi Hereu and Imma Mayol, on this subject.
Says Francesc de Carreras, a reasonable man, on the op-ed page:
The problem is not a cable that caused a blackout, something that could happen in any city in the world. The problem is that the camel's back has been broken; nobody trusts anyone. Not the politicians, nor the companies, nor the technicians, nor the media, that's how skeptical and disillusioned everyone is. The big blackout has been just one more turn of the screw. The paradox is that all this is happening in a Barcelona that considers itself the mirror of modernity, in a Catalonia with a high degree of well-being and prosperity. What is happening that has caused distrust to move in among us, so that many sag, rather exaggeratedly but with clear intention, that this is a Third World city in a banana republic? Probably the causes should be sought in a diffuse mixture of an ideology of self-satisfaction, cheap populism following the latest "progre" fashion, and greatly weakened political authority.
All of this began during the Pujolist period, during the '80s, in which the image of an ideal and marvelous Catalonia was manufactured, Catalans who would eat up the world. Maybe in order not to be left behind, the Left began to idealize Olympic Barcelona, "the best city in the world" in the unfortunate words of Joan Clos. All pure myth-making, sadly provincial. We are what we are: a great city, a wonderful country, but let's look in a mirror that isn't misshapen so that we don't fool ourselves. If we add to that a few drops of pacifism, feminism, ecologism, sexual freedom, and planetary solidarity, all very noble ideals, but in their most intellectually crude and demagogical forms, the cocktail is explosive; a self-satisfied Barcelona and Catalonia that "dismisses what it knows nothing of," like the Spain that Machado wrote about.