Sunday, 11 May 2008

Country people. Tortosa.
Estampa. 18 July 1933

In Catalonia the situation wasn't so bad with its milder climate,
and more equal distribution of (largely fertile) land. Conditions
were probably worse for the factory workers and the unemployed
in Barcelona.

When news of the Nargis cyclone broke I was going over some
Spanish Civil War documents, specifically the daily log of the
Information and Liaison section of the organization in charge
of civil defence: La Junta de Defensa Passiva de Catalunya.

The minute by minute reports of the raids, from the detection
of approaching enemy planes to the final count of the victims, are
hard reading.

The chaos, the fear and the tragedy get closer.

I was looking at the log of March 1938 and wondering why Amposta
and Tortosa, small towns in the delta where the river Ebro comes
down to the sea, were getting bombed so frequently.

The Delta de l'Ebre is a now a wetlands sanctuary for over 300
species of birds.

But they also grow rice and have done for hundreds of years.

That log entry from 15th March '38: the destruction of a rice
factory in Amposta the previous day with five dead. Of course,
they were trying to destroy supply lines to the front, further up
the river.

Rice fields and war - inevitable images of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Weary, angry that so little changes.

As if natural disasters were not enough.

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