Tikrit Tommy Alcoverro has an interview in La Vanguardia with one Moshen Bilal, who is the Syrian minister of information. That is, he's the Assad dictatorship's propaganda chief. Why the hell is La Vanguardia giving this guy a platform? It's not like he's going to say anything we haven't already heard, and it's not like he's some dissenting voice.
Get Alcoverro's introduction: "Moshen Bilal is one of the best images of Syria, previously as the efficient ambassador in Madrid, and now as minister of Information. With his white hair, a friendly manner that is not habitual among Arab leaders, he occupies a prominent position in the regime of the rais Bashir el Assad, with whom he has a close relationship. He often wears jeans and a sports shirt, and says smiling, "I'm an anarchic (sic) minister." Bilal, a surgeon, gives classes at the University of Damascus twice a week. In his office in the Baath Party building, he proudly shows me a thick university textbook."
Sounds to me like Tikrit Tommy likes--and respects--Assad's Dr. Goebbels.
A few quotes from the Fascist Baath Party mouthpiece:
"The majority of the Western media is in the hands of multinational companies, and in the United States above all it is dominated by Jewish companies. Most of its news is concentrated on subjects like Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas. With its tremendous campaign of defamation, it presents Syria as a dangerous, trouble-making, aggressive country that provokes insecurity. But when official delegations like the one of Nancy Pelosi, of the United States Congress, visit us, they realize that Syria is one of the few states in the Middle East that enjoys stability...The United States ambassador in Beirut is the real ruler of Lebanon...Our biggest problem is that, because of the United States and Israel, the government must acquire defensive weapons for our protection...(The recent Israeli air attack) was an act of provocation, and it reveals that the Israeli government has neither the intention nor the desire to make peace or renew diplomatic negotiations."
The thoroughly despicable American Klansman and Nazi David Duke is here in Barcelona today to give a speech to our local scum of the earth. Duke is going to say exactly the same thing as this worm Bilal did. The difference is that our local Illustrated and Enlightened have pitched a fit about Duke's presence. Somehow I bet nobody is going to complain to La Vanguardia about giving a Baath Party Fascist, a toady of a murderous dictator, all of Page 4 of Catalonia's largest newspaper to spew his Jew-baiting. And nobody is going to call out Alcoverro for fellating the dictator's propaganda chief in his introduction, either.
Oh, and congratulations to US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, of the Democratic Party, of course. It's not often that you get a favorable mention by an anti-Semitic Fascist propaganda boss. I wonder if Ms. Pelosi knows or cares that the Syrian regime is using her for its own anti-American and anti-Israeli purposes.
Other news from around here:
The Pope made Barcelona archbishop Lluís Martínez Sistach a cardinal, which I guess is good for Catalonia. Maybe he'll be able to get us some cash to restore a few churches and artworks around here. By the way, one of the most underrated sights in Barcelona are the smaller medieval parish churches; Romanesque Sant Pau del Camp is my favorite, and Gothic Santa Anna, Sants Just and Pastor, and Sant Pere are pretty cool, too. A lot of people miss Santa Maria del Pi, too, which is a big Gothic church with a huge interior space and an enormous rose window. Something else well worth seeing, which almost everyone misses, are the several side chapels in the Cathedral that contain 14th and 15th century Gothic altarpieces. Those need to be thoroughly restored and then better-lighted so they can be more easily appreciated; they're kind of hard to see right now. Oh, by the way, in the Cathedral check out the baptismal font, to the left going in the front door. Looks very modern, but it's 14th century early Italian Renaissance.
What they're calling "public dissatisfaction with the political situation" in Catalonia has reached 50.8%. I'm a little surprised it's that low right in the middle of the Great Transport Snafu, along with the educational mess, the immigration controversy, the rising crime rate, inflation of food prices, the bursting of the housing bubble, and the continued sniping over the nationalist issue.
Fernando Onega lets loose with a massive gilipollada today in La Vanguardia. On page 22, he says, "'Tomate' (a TV show) announced the upcoming divorce of a politician who was at the top, isn't there anymore, and crossed the pond. The whispering machine got started, and since there are few who have been at the top, they've named him. If it is confirmed, it would have more impact than the separation of the duke and duchess of Lugo. Infinitely more."
There's some ethical reporting for you! Way to check those sources! If he had, he'd have known that on page 20, Vanguardia readers had already seen the following: "José María Aznar and Ana Botella have been forced to make public a press release denying the rumors of a divorce, which they consider slanderous, and they will take legal action against those who have expressed such calumnies in the media." I wonder if they're going to sue Onega? That'd be hilarious.
Terrific editing there by whoever's in charge of that, too. Nobody caught Onega's rumor-mongering in time to pull it when the report of Aznar's denial came in.
Paco Candel died; he was a writer back in the '60s and '70s whose big book was "The Other Catalans," about the wave of Spanish-speaking migrants that were arriving in large numbers at that time. He was one of them; he tried to convince his fellow migrants to integrate into Catalan society, while also trying to convince the Catalans to accept the migrants. Everybody liked him. He was a Commie for a few years, but not one of the obnoxious ones. I never met him, but I know a guy who was a good friend of his.
A bunch of thugs--not a racist gang, just anti-social low-life types (what they call "quinquis" or "quillos" around here) because it included a couple of Moroccans and Latins along with Spaniards--attacked a bunch of middle-class alternative types at the fiesta mayor in Berga, near here, in 2005. They stabbed a guy to death, and seven of them just got convicted of premeditated murder and two more got convicted as accomplices. They got sentenced to between 25 and 43 years each, though no one serves a full sentence in Spain. Eight other minors were involved, and they have been sent to juvie for three to seven years. Some Catalanists have been claiming that the victim was picked out specifically because he was a Catalanist; I dunno, my guess is that the dirtbags involved just wanted to beat up on some middle-class youths, whom they despise as pampered pussies, wimps, mama's boys, etc. I have no problem with these guys going down for premeditated murder, since they did plan to attack this other group with knives.
Sports update: Ronaldinho has begged out of tonight's Barça match versus Recreativo, claiming that he's tired coming back off his stint with the Brazil squad. I think he's sending a clear signal that he doesn't want to play here anymore, and it's time to sell him to the highest bidder. Too bad. I've always liked him, and he was a tremendous player during two years here. Barça needs to win tonight; the pressure is high, though they're only four points behind Real Madrid with 26 games still to play.
The Barça game is one of my weekly social events; you can't beat watching the local sports team (and for you folks back in the US, people here are much more fanatical about the Barça than they are about your team in your town) among a noisy crowd of extreme fans knowledgeable about the game. I remember last year when the Barça got eliminated by Chelsea from the Champions League, Xavi the bar guy took his triangular chalkboard from out in the street and smashed it over one of those iron posts they put up so people don't park on the sidewalk. Also, beers at the bar where they show the games are only €1.30, so you can't beat the price, either.
Kansas plays Missouri tonight for the Big 12 North title and the winner will be top-ranked in the country, since No. 1 LSU got upset by Arkansas. The Aggies beat Texas, so it looks like Oklahoma wins the Big 12 South, but they have to beat Oklahoma State tonight.