Monday, 28 May 2007

Manuel Muñoz Diez

Less Politics, More Work Serving the Public.

Manuel Munoz Diez, representative of the CNT, joined Barcelona City Council in October 1936 when the anarchists, against the better judgment of many, agreed to participate in formal government.

As head of Public Works and Urban Planning, he inherited the unenviable task of providing air raid shelters for a population of around 1,000,000, practically as the bombs began to fall.

Honest, professional, tireless in his efforts to protect the most defenceless, he was hardly the bomb-throwing individual capitalist history prefers you envisage at the mere mention of the word "anarchist."

In the preface to the manual on how to build air raid shelters, published by his department in 1937, he criticized the inertia and irresponsibility of his predecessors for their failure to start an effective programme of civil defence. "If there had been less politics and more work serving the public" innocent lives already lost in the raids might have been saved.

Why, you might wonder, have I used a photo of an uprooted palm tree to illustrate the post?

Partly, and regrettably, I have no photo of this man but mainly to offer a comparison.

In the winter of 1936 he issued a press release threatening those who "confuse liberty with licentiousness" with arrest.

He was referring to members of the public who were sneaking out at night to cut down the city's trees for firewood.

Current municipal representatives, in the throes of terminal real estate speculation, show neither similar respect nor sufficient intelligence to realize that replacing the few green areas which remain in the city with buildings, singular or not, and concrete parks is not the best option for the future.

Last year the palm tree was uprooted with five others from the privileged ecosystem it formed part of in the park of Montjuic. Everything else was razed to the ground.

The palm trees were, in fact, replanted with military precision and in single file in the redesigned park.

The one in the picture is now dead.


Arie said...

I have pictures of him... If you want I can send you some.

Valerie said...

Hi Arie,
A picture(s) would be fantastic, especially given recent attempts via a Catalan TV documentary to give all the credit for Barcelona air raid shelters to Ramon Perera.

Aurora said...

Arie, soy la nieta de Manuel Muñoz Díez del que tanto comenta Valérie. Yo sí querría fotos de mi abuelo al que nunca conocí. ¿Serías tan amable de mandármelas a mi mail. Un regalo del destino, lo considero después de que mi madre murió con el deseo de volverlo a ver. Un saludo.

Aurora said...

Valérie, he envíado muchos mensajes a este sitio que no sé si te han llegado. Háblame de mi abuelo, por favor. Veo que estás muy informada.

Anonymous said...

Aurora, enviame tu correo.

Arie Munoz said...

Aurora, enviame tu correo.