Jean Michel Folon. The Feast.
Last Friday the UN reported that world hunger has
reached a record high of one billion people.
One-sixth of the world's population.
"The first time in human history that we have so many
hungry people in the world."
And "a serious risk" to world peace and security, said the
director general of the FAO.
Needless to say the majority are not from the "developed"
countries (the report cites a mere fifteen million).
I get repetitive but no doubt NATO (see below June 10th)
not to say total inanition of the risk, will justify their
scandalous budget and save us from the starving hordes.
Sunday, 21 June 2009
Friday, 19 June 2009
Miguel Carrillo and Oscar Bosch
Flix June 2008
We also wanted to see the Civil War air raid shelter that
had recently been refurbished and opened to the public.
But weren't sure where it was.
Miguel went into the market hall to ask and, one of those
lucky coincidences, found one of the Flix town councillors,
Sr. Oscar Bosch, having breakfast.*
He was kind enough to leave his family and meal to come
outside to show us where to go. During the conversation
I had an idea. Cities and towns are always being twinned for
cultural exchanges - why not twin our air raid shelter in
Poble Sec with the one in Flix? Sr Bosch was very open to the
idea. calling cards were exchanged and we all promised to work
on the idea and get in touch after the summer.
We left in search of the shelter.
*For those visiting Spain, it is often a very good idea to eat in
the cafés and little restaurants inside or around the markets.
Saturday 20th June
I have just read that Sr Bosch has just been elected Lord
Mayor of Flix. Congratulations!
locked - visits have to be booked in advance.
No matter, there would be occasions in the future to visit,
we thought, once our twinning project got off the ground.
But I took some photos through the railings of the door.
You can just see the typical zigzagging of the tunnel,
designed to minimize the effects of possible bomb blasts,
and the subsequent shock waves and fragmentation.
Flix was one of the first towns in Catalonia to suffer an attack
from the air.
It was a strategic target with its hydro-electric power station,
the electrochemical plant which the fascists said was
manufacturing mustard gas (thought the experts in this field
were Franco's German allies) and the iron bridge was an
important transit point for troops and supplies across the Ebro
On the night of 23rd february 1937 a raid on the chemical factory
part of which had been converted to a military hospital, and the
town began. It lasted four hours. Eight dead, numerous injured
and a terrified civilian population that took to the caves in the
We, the lucky ones who have never lived a war, are so used to the
virtual experience via assorted screens it's hard to imagine the
horror and the panic these first air raids caused. Not surprisingly,
the town with a population, then, of around 3,300 quickly organized
the construction of eight shelters.
What has been a little surprising is the success of my idea to twin
the shelters. But then Flix seems to be a town with a sensitivity to
historical memory that dates from well before the recent vogue to
recuperate the Republican experience in the Civil War - just the
date of the installation of the monument to the International
Brigades, 1990, is indicative. Most of Catalonia at the time was
more concerned with the imminent celebration of the Barcelona
But then Flix seems to display a felicitous good taste in its choice
of lord mayors. Information above on the February air raid is
from the book Alemanys al'Ebre by the historian, and previous
lord mayor of Flix, Pere Muñoz.
Next Saturday 27th at 12 o' clock there will be an inaugural act
at Refugi 307 in Poble Sec to celebrate the twinning of the
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Stork nesting. Flix. June 2008
Shelter from the Storm
Flix is a small town.
On the Ebre river in Catalonia.
Where so many died that summer of 1938.
The battle lost, here, against fascism.
I am privileged.
My life always lived at a safe distance from conflicts.
I am privileged.
I have a student, a friend, Miguel, who took me, 70 years later,
to find the memories.
The forgotten battlefields.
Wild rosemary in the hot blue afternoon.
In this sunlight
There are no bombs now
The storks nesting.
Inscription on the base of the monument to the International
Brigades. Flix. June 2008.
We had gone to Flix to photograph the monument to the
memory of the Italian (and other) antifascist volunteers
for an exhibition Miguel was preparing on the Battle of the
The inscription reads:
Here, on the Ebro
Antifascist volunteers from Italy
And from all over the world
Fought beside the Spanish people
For Justice, Liberty and Democracy
In the last great battle of the Republican Army
At the foot of the monument there is a commemorative plaque,
installed 15 years later, in homage to Milton Wolff, who died
last year, and the Lincoln Brigade.
In recent years he and other surviving members of the
International Brigades had returned to Spain for diffferent
acts in recognition and celebration of their solidarity.
THE PEOPLE OF FLIX
TO MILTON WOLFF AND THE INTERNATIONAL
WHO FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM
AND THE REPUBLIC
6 NOVEMBER 2005
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Duality of Humanity
"Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my Browning"
Last April, in Strasbourg, they celebrated the 60th Anniversary
Summit of NATO.
With pomp and ceremony and Obama.
And riot police armed to the teeth.
Because members of anti-war and peace movements from
19 different countries had planned a counter summit with
cultural events and demonstrations in protest as they believe
that NATO has become the "key vehicle for the US and its allies
to pursue their wars."
And sell themselves the arms they produce.
Only the violent protesters got media coverage.
One has to justify the €150 million cost of policing the 3-day
Some figures from the NATO Defence Expenditure Report
(Estimated for 2007)
- USA.......... 545,328,000,000 dollars
- France........ 44,283,000,000 euros
- UK............. 31,629,000,000 pounds
- Germany...... 30,739,000,000 euros
- Spain.......... 12,771,000,000 euros
Monday, 8 June 2009
John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfeld).
"We have no butter... but I ask you, would you rather have
guns or butter?"
According to the Stockholm peace institute SIPRI
in a press release today
global military spending reached a record $1,464bn in
"The global financial crisis has yet to have an impact on major
arms companies' revenues, profits and order backlogs."
Oh I'm so relieved, thought we'd all be out on the streets soon
because of the crisis.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
At a homage to Andreu Nin and the POUM
Palau de la Virreina Barcelona 16.6.07
(Which of course he said was a waste of time.)
Diego Camacho Escámez. "Abel Paz"
Las Chocillas, Almeria. 12 August 1921
Gracia, Barcelona. 13 April 2009.
A fighter, a writer.
Of what happened.
And what should be.
Such a wise, clear, generous heart.
To the end.
"Si la esperanza se apaga
Y el Babel se comienza.
Que antorcha iluminará
Los caminos de la tierra?
Si el azul es un ensueño
Qué será de la innocencia?
Qué será del corazon
Si el Amor no tiene flechas?
Si la muerte es la muerte
Qué será de las poetas
Y de las cosas dormidas
Que ya nadie las recuerda?
Oh sol de las esperanzas!
Agua clara! luna nueva!
Corazones de los niños!
Almas rudas de la piedra!
Hoy siento en el corazon
Un vago temblor de estrellas
Y todas las rosas son
Tan blancas como mi pena."
Federico Garcia Lorca. November 1918.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Francesc Boix Campo 1920-1951
With his Leica at Mauthausen
Francesc Boix Campo was born in Poble Sec just round the
corner from the small local library which now bears his name.
Just 16 years old when the civil war broke out, he was too young
to enlist, but he had a passion, inherited from his father, for
photography, and a camera - his inseparable Leica. A privilege in
working-class Poble Sec in the 1930s.
A militant in the communist Unified Socialist Youth movement,
he collaborated as a photographer for the magazine Juliol and
served in the Republican army during 1938.
In January 1939 he left his homeland for France with the thousands
of other refugees who, quite rightly, feared for their lives when
Franco and his fascist hordes won the war.
He was young and he survived, though so many did not, the terrible
conditions of the French internment camps set up for the Spanish
Though one war was lost, he knew the fight against fascism had
barely begun. He volunteered and was incorporated into the 28th
Foreign Workers Battalion of the French Army. Sent north he was
caught by the invading Nazis in 1940 and deported to the
Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp complex in Austria.
It was the camp for the Spanish Republicans (60%) along with the
gypsies, the homosexuals, the Jehovah's Witnesses and of course the
In his book "Spaniards in the Holocaust: the Horror on the Danube"
David Wingeate cites 23,400 registered Spanish prisoners in
Mauthausen, though some sources cite less.
But all coincide that over two-thirds died.
Francesc was lucky.
At the request of another Catalan prisoner, Antonio Garcia Alonso,
he worked in the camp´s photographic laboratory. Prisoners were
photographed on arrival, for identification and when they died, for
the record. More incriminatingly for those who would later deny
participation, official visits to the camp by Nazi officials were also
Garcia was a professional photographer. When he arrived at
Mauthausen he was sent to work in the laboratory where a Polish
prisoner, Grabowski (who would commit suicide before the camp
was liberated) had started making secret copies of key photos.
Garcia collaborated with the clandestine archive, as did Francesc
when he joined them. It was Francesc who passed the photos and
negatives to the well-organized Spanish Communist underground
in the camp. Two young Spanish teenagers, Jacinto Cortes and Jesus
Grau, working with the brigades in the quarries outside the complex,
gradually passed the photos into the hands of Anna Pointer, a brave
and all but forgotten Austrian socialist - one of the few, so they say,
who realized what was really happening in the camp. She hid the
archive behind loose stones in her garden wall.
When Mauthausen was liberated Francesc retrieved the photos
and took them to Paris where some were published in the press.
They were used as evidence of Nazi war crimes in the Nuremberg
Trials and at Dachau during which Francesc was called to testify.
A witness. To help bring some, few, of the criminals to account.
He continued to work as a photographer in Paris after the war, but
the hardship and the suffering had taken their toll.
He was just 30 years old when he died.
There is no lack of photographic evidence of what recently happened
Enough to prove war crimes.
Yesterday UN human rights investigators presented a detailed
report, questioning the legality of the Israeli offensive. The Guardian
have just published their own investigation.
Even the Israeli military have twice issued reports in the last week
which include testimonies of the criminal tactics employed.
But who will bring these new Jews to account?
Monday, 16 February 2009
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Gaza Razed to the Ground
There weren't so many people at the last demonstration.
Maybe because of the ceasefire.
People think it's all over.
Maybe they were watching the inauguration, the world has
placed so much faith and hope in this new President...
But fame and asking the world to listen gets tiring in the end.
According to the UN
More than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed and over 5000
More than 4,000 buildings destroyed and 20,000 severely
There are 50.800 Gazans homeless and 400,000 without
Around $1.9 billion worth of damage.
And so, yes, I will blatantly use photos of children
Monday, 19 January 2009
As part of the ongoing campaign in Solidarity with the People
of Palestine, on Tuesday 20th of January at 18h. there will be
an attempt to deliver a letter addressed to the new President of
the United States at the US Consulate in Barcelona asking him
for a change from the war-mongering policies of George Bush
and specifically to stop arming and financing Israel.
At 20h. the same evening there will be a demonstration in Pça.
St. Jaume, with saucepans as they seem to be deaf, to demand
that the Governments of Catalonia and Spain break off relations
Sunday, 18 January 2009
The F-16 jet fighter was originally developed by General
Dynamics for The US Air Force.
It is now manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
The bombers have been sold to 25 countries.
Including Israel who have used them in their attack on Gaza
to kill 1300 people and injure 5340. And now, with this fragile
ceasefire, they are still pulling the dead from under the rubble.
The Shipload of Arms for Israel.
The ship carrying US munitions for Israel that was blocked from
Greek ports on Friday has a name: the Wehr Elbe. It's a chartered
German-owned vessel. It has now moved away from Greece but
has turned off its transponder tracking to prevent its location
The sale of arms is, of course, totally legal.
Even to rogue states.
The Pentagon insists the sale was arranged last summer and
approved in October. I have read Israel has been planning this
attack on Palestine for months, obviously with knowledge of the
Bush administration. Criminal complicity.
So yes, Mr Obama, we want a change.
Marco delli Santi.
House of Love and Dissent
Though many look away and carry on their lives as if it
were of no concern.
Like Spain, so many years ago.
And look what happened then, when they did not stop
The world at war.
These words of Pastor Martin Niemöller have been used
and abused many times but are true nonetheless.
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
There was no one left to speak out.
Silence is complicity.
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Free Gaza Movement
They bought 2 boats.
The Spirit of Humanity and The Dignity
Four women - Bella, Eliza, Greta and Mary.
And one man - Paul.
To break the seige.
From Greece to Gaza in August 2008.
The first to arrive freely in 41 years.
They subsequently made four more voyages.
Since this war started they have sailed again.
This, for some, is totally unacceptable.
On the 30th December Israeli gunboats, without warning,
deliberately and repeatedly rammed the Dignity, almost sinking
the ship, causing significant structural damage and endangering
the lives of its passengers and crew. The ship found safe harbor
in Lebanon, and is currently awaiting repairs.
If you have seen what has been happening in Gaza hospitals
during this atrocious war you will understand why these, brave
and wonderful people were not deterred.
On the 14th of January The Spirit of Humanity left the port of
Larnaca in Cyprus for Gaza.
With 21 passengers: doctors, human rights workers, parliamen-
tarians and journalists. And more than a ton of medical supplies
Thursday 15th January.
"At roughly 3am UST (1am GMT), in international waters 100
miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded
the Spirit of Humanity and began recklessly cutting in front of the
slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the Spirit,
demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and
"shoot." When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they
intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed
civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use
"any means" to stop the ship.
Israel's reckless and shocking threats against an unarmed ship on
a mission of mercy are a violation of both international maritime
law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that
"the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes."
They were forced to return to Cyprus.
The only small consolation:
Another boat, carrying a new shipment of arms from the US to
Israel was refused permission to sail from the Greek port of Astakos
on Friday morning.
There can be no global justice unless the worst of crimes
against humanity are subject to the law.
In this age more than ever, we recognize that the crime of
genocide against one people truly is an assault on us all -
a crime against humanity.
The establishment of an International Criminal Court
will ensure that humanity's response will be swift and will be
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
But, of course, in this case it won't.
Friday, 16 January 2009
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Rockets and mortars fired into Israel since 27th Dec.
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
(Since Israel first attcked.)
The photos of the dead, that first day the 27th of December,
were Hamas police, for some a legitimate target.
Though, let's get the facts right.
It was Israel who broke the four-month truce on the 5th of
November with a raid on Gaza which killed 6 members of Hamas.
Though now they lie and whine.
And say they are the victims.
And continue massive air and land attacks on Gaza.
Deaths in Gaza since 27th Dec. Palestinian Ministry of Health.
There are now 1054 Palestinian dead and nearly 5000 injured,
the majority civilians.
Israel, the aggressor, while perpetrating this massacre, has:
Denied the Red Cross access to the injured and UN relief services
access to a people who have been under blockade for 18 months.
Deliberately targeted hospitals and civilian enclaves
Made use of weapons which are banned by the Geneva Convention.
Attacked civilians clearly bearing white flags who were attempting
to flee the bombing.
Denied access to the majority of media representatives,
deliberately attacking those who are there.
Do they really think they can hide their crimes?
They think they are special.
They think they are immune.
A dangerous delusion.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Because there were so many people this time.
At the meeting point in the old University square.
Under a threatening grey sky.
But only clouds.
As always the numbers differ.
Not so important, maybe.
Enough to show, as in so many other protests around the world,
that we do not believe the lies.
It took four hours for all the people to reach St Jaume Square.
Plaça St Jaume. 10.01.2009
Picasso's Guernica was the last to arrive.
This version, a little the worse for wear, is, I think, the one
displayed for months in the window of a student hall of
residence when the US first began the war on Iraq.
Painted over 70 years ago.
Still denouncing the horror and destruction.
Plaça St. Jaume 10.01.2009
292 of these are children.
Last night on the news George Bush, laughing and joking, was
warning Barak Obama of his legacy: the possibility of a new
terrorist attack on the United States.
From the start of this war on Gaza, with the go-ahead, you can
be sure, of the Bush administration, it seems obvious that
this is exactly what has been planned.
The anger and radicalism increase as the days pass...
A new terrorist attack.
What better way to justify the violation of human rights, the
limits on freedom in the name of homeland security.
To ensure the proliferation of the arms industry.
In which they have such a large stake.
And most especially to sabotage the change that so many hope
for with Barak Obama.
Thursday, 8 January 2009
There are now at least 700 dead and 3000 injured.
Since this war started, I have been trapped; impotent, horrified,
outraged, because it was obvious, from the beginning, what
would happen and that we could do nothing to stop them.
Obsessively looking at news feeds and webs and the photos.
The photos. . .
At the demonstrations and on some Palestinian blogs the symbol
of this little figure appeared. Today I read that it is Handala.
An iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.
He first appeared in 1969 and is the most famous of Palestinian
cartoonist Naji al-Ali’s characters.
In 1973, he turned his back to the viewer and clasped his hands
behind his back.
The artist explained that ten-year-old Handala represents himself,
forced to leave Ash Shajara, one of the 480 Palestinian villages
destroyed in 1948 to create the State of Israel, and that he would
not grow up until he could return to his homeland.
His turned back and clasped hands are a rejection of “outside
His ragged clothes and bare feet symbolise his allegiance to the
Naji Al-Ali was assassinated in London in 1987.
Earlier tonight I had to turn my back on the photos.
The decapitated head of a child was too much.
The aerial bombardment of civilians as a legitimate war strategy
really got to the point of no return during the Spanish Civil War.
Guernika, the raids on Barcelona in March of 1938, Madrid, the first
to suffer, though it is mentioned less as the battle front was on the
edge of the city itself at the university campus. Difficult to separate
civilians from the military.
Shattered glass from windows can be lethal in explosions. I don't
know what caused the decapitation of the Palestinian child in the
photo but I do know who is responsible - and I'm still trying to
comprehend something I read yesterday: that some Israelis are
taking plastic chairs and cans of pepsi out onto the hills of Sderot
to watch the raids and cheer the explosions.
Then I remembered these other photos.
To be a spectator of this war is almost unbearable. To study a past
war in any depth is almost as bad, in spite of the ideals, the
solidarity, the hope that is tangible. Sometimes just a small thing
can help, some indication that people prefer to create rather than
Some of the first civil defence instructions issued in the autum of
'36 by Manuel Muñoz.
Paper tape to be glued on all house windows.
In neat criss-crosses.
Until, perhaps, you start to think something else would look better.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Ideas. Weekly publication.
Read it and spread the word!
Libertarian voice of the Bajo Llobregat
Venezuela Expels Israeli Ambassador.
By Latin American Herald Tribune staff.
CARACAS -- Venezuela expels the Israeli ambassador and
part of his staff in Caracas to show its condemnation of the
Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Communique from the Foreign Ministry:
"The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,
along with the Peoples of the world, is witness, once more, to
the horror of the death of innocent women and children resulting
from the invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli troops, and the
systematic bombing by air and land perpetrated by the State of
Israel on Palestinian territory.
Indignant in this tragic hour, the people of Venezuela express
their unreserved solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people, share
in the pain of thousands of families for the loss of loved ones and
states that the Venezuelan government will work tirelessly to see
those responsible severely punished for these atrocious crimes.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly
condemns the gross violations of international law that the State
of Israel has engaged in and denounces its planned use of state
For the above reasons, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic
of Venezuela has decided to expel the Israeli Ambassador and the
staff of the Israeli Embassy in Venezuela, reaffirming its mission
of peace and its call for respect for international law.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has
instructed its Mission to the UN to press, along with the majority of
governments who so demand, for the Security Council to implement
urgent and necessary measures to halt this invasion by the State of
Israel on Palestinian territory.
President Hugo Chávez, who has held meetings with senior
representatives of the World Jewish Council, and has always been
opposed to anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination and racism,
calls for the Jewish people throughout the world to oppose these
criminal policies of Israel that are reminiscent of the worst pages in
the history of the twentieth century. With the genocide of the
Palestinian people, Israel will never be able to offer their people
the prospect of a lasting and much needed peace."
Caracas. 6th January 2009.
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian Doctor at the Al Shifah hospital in Gaza
talks of what is happening.
By Azmi Keshawi and James Hider / London Times
Amid the tidal wave of human misery swamping Gaza City's central
hospital a horrified Norwegian volunteer doctor found a minute to
type a text message on his mobile phone to friends back home.
"We are wading in death, blood, and amputees. Many children. A
pregnant woman. I have never experienced anything so terrible.
Now we hear tanks. Pass it on, send it around, shout it out. Anything.
DO SOMETHING! DO MORE! We are living in a history book now, all
It was signed Mads Gilbert.
Monday, 5 January 2009
Yesterday evening in Plaça St Jaume.
There were a lot more people, maybe three to four thousand.
Because the number of dead continues to rise: 512 at a conservative
estimate over 70 of whom are children. And with 2500 injured the
aggressors are refusing the entry of humanitarian aid.
Yes, you are right, Shimon Peres: "What country can tolerate this?"
Though your "this" is different.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Photo Dan Maudsley. Auschwitz shoes
Maybe that's it... the evil that continues and corrupts
and eliminates the light.
A thousand useless shoes now in Gaza.
The Israelis have prohibited the majority of international media
access to the strip.
But we know what they are doing.
For what solidarity is worth, the least, the very least, is to say: No
Another protest has been called for this evening in Barcelona:
Plaça St. Jaume 20.00h.