Monday, 28 April 2008

Song for Monday


La Polla Records (late, lamented) Basque punk band

Johnny coge el bombardero
y lo eleva por el cielo,
no hay cañon que alcanze a Johnny
ni rival que lo derribe.
Johnny está en un video juego
controlando la pantalla
Johnny nunca ve la muerte
Johnny tira los pepinos oyendo heavy-metal
Es nuestro campeón.
Johnny no mata la gente,
elimina el objetivo.
Johnny no es un asesino.
Johnny tiene un buen oficio.
Johnny es frío y profesional.
Johnny escribe en una bomba
"el petroleo es para mi"
y la gente quiere a Johny
que defiende a su pais.
Se acabo la gasolinaaaaa
Y aunque Johnny vuelve a casa
convencido de su hazaña.
Johnny solo es un cretino
que maneja un bombardero.
Johnny es un bastardo.

Johnny gets into his bomber
Takes it up into the skies
There's no cannon can touch Johnny
no rival that can shoot him down.
Johnny's inside a video game
he's controlling all the screen
Johnny never sees the dying.
Johnny drops his bombs listening to heavy metal
He's our champion.
Johnny doesn't murder people
He eliminates objectives.
Johnny isn't an assassin
Johnny's got a real good job.
Johnny's cold and professional
Johnny writes on one of the bombs
"The petrol's all for me."
And the poeple do love Johnny
He's defending his country.
The gas has all run out now.
And though Johnny's going home,
Sure of his what he has achieved,
Johnny is just a cretin
Who flies a bomber plane
Johnny is a bastard
Oh Johnny is a bastard.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

A little more to do with air raid shelters

The barbarians came with their arms blessed by the Pope
Gráficas Valencia. U.G.T. C.N.T 1937 (?)

Southworth Collection. University of California San Diego

At a Pentagon press conference last Friday, America's
top military officer, Admiral Michael Mullen, announced
"potential military courses of action" against Iran.

The excuse?

Iran's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq."

Pardon me, "Sir."

(Is that the correct form of address? I obviously cannot
misuse "Compañero")*

The only lethal and malign influence most of us have noticed
in the last few years in Iraq is the purveyor of those B-2 Spirits.
Et al.

"Stealth" bombers?

We did notice who sent them.

*At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War there was an attempt to
abolish forms of address denoting rank or title. In the new world
they were fighting for everyone would be an equal, a "compañero,"
a companion.


Pedrero. Junta Delegada de Defensa de Madrid
Delegación de Propaganda y Prensa. 1937(?)
Sindicato de Profesionales de las Bellas Artes, UGT.

Southworth Collection UCSD

Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that
the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons,
will somehow work for the benefit of us all.

(or words to that effect)

John Maynard Keynes.

Useful translations:

English to Catalan/Spanish:
Rank (n) Rang/Rango
Rank (adj) Putrefacte/Podrido.

Spanish to English:
"isimo" suffix meaning enormously, most superlative.

"El Generalisimo" is the title given to Franco by his admirers.

One wonders if they were being sarcastic.

Franco was only 5ft 4in. tall.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

This is not a way of life at all

Share of arms sales of top 100 arms-producing companies
excluding China. 2004

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched,
every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a
theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those
who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms
is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat
of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes
of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any
true sense."

Dwight D.Eisenhower April 16th 1953

Friday, 18 April 2008

Nothing to do with air raid shelters


Or maybe it has.


CORN 31%

RICE 74%

SOYA 87%

WHEAT 130%

Source BBC

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Gerda Taro

Gerda Taro. Guadalajara front, Spain July 1937
International Center of Photography.

A few posts down (10 March) I posted a wonderful photo
of a group of Republican Navy marines.

I had been digressing about war ships and the news had
just come in that the ultra-conservative Popular Party
had not won the Spanish general elections. The men in
the photo are all beaming. For those who do not understand
Spanish perhaps I should also have mentioned that a polite
translation of the song "Tragala" linked to the post might be
rendered as something like "Oh you'll just have to grin and bear

I found the photo on some web page which cited the author as

Robert Capa is considered one of the greatest of war photographers,
thanks, partly, to his much-published photos of the Spanish Civil War.
But this wasn't one I recognized as his so I didn't post his name.

I'm glad I didn't because the photo was taken by Gerda Taro.

Gerda Taro was Robert Capa's friend, lover and companion.
She was also a photographer but, until the recent exhibition of her
work at the ICP in New York, had been given very little credit for her
work or for being, perhaps, the first woman photo-journalist to cover
a war.

The first to die.

She was 26 years old when she was hit and killed by a tank at the
battle of Brunete on 25 July 1937 soon after the photo on this post
was taken.

There's more about her on the ICP web and The New York
Times and The Telegraph.

I hope they bring the exhibition to Barcelona.

Boy wearing cap of FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation)
Barcelona August 1936. Gerda Taro.

I love Poble sec, the district I live in in Barcelona.

I love the narrow little streets and the park of Montjuïc behind.

I love its working class history, the sense of community.

Which survives.

Gerda probably didn't know that this photo was taken in Poble sec.

It's the anarchist barricade in front of the old Molino Rojo theatre
(Barcelona' s version of Le Moulin Rouge) and was decisive in
stopping the advance of the insurgent troops at the beginning of the
Civil War.

I love that she was here.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Truth, Lies and the Olympics

Photo: Agustí Centelles Ossó

"All British and US troops serving in Iraq will be withdrawn within
a year...The planned pull-out from Iraq follows the acceptance by
London and Washington that the presence of the coalition now
seen as the main obstacle to peace."
Telegraph 08/03/2006

"...the Bush administration has begun keep U.S
troops in Iraq for years, even decades, after George W. Bush leaves
Washington Independent 26/03/2008

I would prefer to explain the history of the suitcase with the
negatives of Agustí Centelles photos of the Spanish Civil War,
recuperated, like Robert Capa's, to bear witness to a time.

But that must wait.

Because Iraq is now.

Britain isn't saying much about troop withdrawal except that it
has been "delayed".

Meanwhile preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London

Just think how many armless, legless athletes they can bring from
Iraq for the "Para-Olympics".

I wonder who will boycott London.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Fear and loathing in Barcelona

Manuel Monleon

On Monday afternoon Tony Blair was in Barcelona to give a

2000 of the more economically privileged were invited.

But not the general media. Apparently at his request.

Afraid of something, Tony?

After all hundreds of thousands of people protested in Barcelona
about the invasion of Iraq and TV3, the main Catalonian television
channel, has always maintained a critical coverage of the Iraq war
and its terrible and continuing aftermath.

Tony Blair, who is directly responsible for the deaths of unimaginable
numbers of Iraqi people was paid nearly 300.000 dollars for a 30
minute speech.

His visit was given very little advance publicity and was surrounded
by strange secrecy.

Like a sneak thief.

Like the criminal he is.

What did he speak about?

There is little information available.

Probably something to do with the wages of sin.

"New Labour"?

The old labour is still around. It earns 31 dollars a day.


Sunday, 6 April 2008

Tibet and Berlin 1936

Two years before Hitler came to power in 1933,
the 1936 Olympics had been awarded to Germany.

Intimations of what the Nazi regime was and
would be capable of led some to call for a boycott.

Not many listened.

But that Spain of 1936...

The dreams of freedom and a better world.

The Republican government decided not to send
any participants to Berlin. Instead, with the government
of Catalonia and the City of Barcelona, they organized
an alternative in protest:

The People's Olympic Games.

With 6000 registered athletes from 23 nations the games
were due to start with an inauguration ceremony on the 19th

But with the fascist uprising on the night of 18th to 19th
Spain was plunged into 3 years of civil war. The popular
Olympics, evidently, did not take place.

Some of the foreign athletes immediately enlisted in the
militias on behalf of the Republic forming the basis of what
would later be the International Brigades.

Some died.

I don't like competitive sports and do not believe the
Olympics significantly further peace and understanding
between Nations. But, oh, I would have liked to have seen
Hitler, Master of the Master Race, watching Jesse Owens,
black and beautiful, winning 4 gold medals that summer
in Berlin.

Today, on the news, I watched the Olympic torch on its
journey through London, surrounded by heavy police
protection and jeered by crowds protesting about Tibet.

I wonder who will boycott Beijing.