dilluns, de juliol 31, 2006

Diumenge i manifestació

¿Para que vas a las marchas si eso no sirve de nada? És la pregunta, resposta i reacció immediata que acompanya la gent que em pregunta si he anat a les manis. Ahir per exemple, sembla que érem més o menys 2 milions de persones. Fent goig i passant-s'ho bé. Avui comencen les accions de resistència més fortes i que segur que encara radicalitzaran més el ja tan afectat aire d’avui. S’han posat ja els diferents campaments de pressió i doncs bueno, caldrà donar suport a totes les mesures que s’hi prenguin. Tornant a la pregunta de la primera línia, la meva resposta generalment és contundent i deixa als meus interlocutors sense cap altre comentari: és una afirmació de consciència. És potser l’única manera en la qual la gent que no té res a veure amb les estructures de poder de l’Estat, fa visible la seva opinió, els seus interessos i les seves aspiracions. Serveixen per alguna cosa? No ho sé. Potser sí, potser no. En podríem donar moltes raons per el sí i per el no, però és igual, jo ja he pres la meva decisió, i seré a les manis. Donant-hi suport crec que em faig més responsable, més compromès amb això que penso que és correcte. És fort i trist sentir tanta gent cínica o mai disposada a comprometre’s amb qualsevol cosa, com passa avui dia. Tot i això em defenso molt bé dels atacs dels cínics i dels de la dreta. També ja se sap de què està feta la gent. Els que simulaven ja no ho fan gaire, es mostres com són: arbitraris, autoritaris, racistes, classistes, reaccionaris, retrògrades i encara pitjor, tramposos. Suposo que vivim una era de definicions, i ja s’ha vist on es planta cadascú.
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divendres, de juliol 28, 2006

Presentación Historia del Arte tras el Modernismo

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HISTORIA DEL ARTE TRAS EL MODERNISMO Y HANS BELTING
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What Gender Is Your Brain?

Your Brain is 53% Female, 47% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and femaleYou are both sensitive and savvy. Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed. But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

dijous, de juliol 27, 2006

Todos contra la ultraderecha

The cracks are opening

Comment



The cracks are opening

Israel can gain nothing more from this war than a bloody reputation. It is the right time to stop

Gideon Levy
Monday July 24, 2006
The Guardian


This war must be stopped immediately. From the start it was unnecessary, even if its excuse was justified. Every day raises its price, taking a toll in blood that gives Israel nothing in return. This is a good time to stop because both sides can claim they won: Israel harmed Hizbullah and Hizbullah harmed Israel. History shows that no situation is better for reaching an arrangement.

Israel went into the campaign on justified grounds and foul means. It claims it has declared war on Hizbullah but, in practice, it is destroying Lebanon. It has got most of what it could have out of this war. The aerial "target bank" has mostly been covered. The airforce could continue to sow destruction in the residential neighbourhoods and empty offices, dropping bombs on real or imagined bunkers, and kill innocent Lebanese, but nothing good will come of it.

Those who want to restore Israel's deterrent capabilities have succeeded. Hizbullah and the rest of its enemies now know that Israel reacts with enormous force to any provocation. An international agreement could be achieved now, and it won't be possible to achieve a better deal in the future.

Israel's other goals - returning the captured soldiers and the elimination of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah - will be more difficult to achieve if the war goes on for weeks and months. The Israeli Defence Force is asking for "two more weeks"; in two weeks it will ask for "another two weeks". A decisive victory is not in the offing.

On the other hand, the price is skyrocketing. Every day increases international criticism of Israel - not only in the streets of the Arab world, but also in the west. Not only hundreds of thousands of Lebanese but tens of thousands of westerners fleeing from Lebanon are contributing to the depiction of Israel as a violent, crude and destructive state.

The fact that George Bush and Tony Blair are cheering Israel might be consolation for Ehud Olmert and the media in Israel, but it is not enough to persuade millions of TV viewers who see the destruction and devastation, most of which are not shown in Israel. The world sees entire neighbourhoods destroyed, thousands of refugees fleeing in panic, and hundreds of civilians dead and wounded, including many children. A lethal summer will exact a much greater price. Slowly, the cracks will open and Israel's citizens will begin to ask why we are dying and what we are killing for.

We've been here before, more than once. Wars began with national approval and ended with a great crisis. When it becomes apparent that the airforce is not enough, the ground invasion will intensify. The cliche about the Lebanese quagmire will be revalidated, and when soldiers are killed, the protests will rise and divide society.

Now Israel is hoping for the elimination of Nasrallah. It is worth reminding ourselves of the dozens of people Israel assassinated in Lebanon and the territories, from Sheikh Abbas Musawi to Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, each replaced by someone new - usually more talented and dangerous than the predecessor. The goals of war should not be dictated by dark impulses, even if they come in response to the wishes and demands of the mob. The other desired goal, the return of the prisoners, will only be achieved through negotiations. Israel could have done that before the war.

Continuing the war guarantees a heavy price without any guarantee of reward. Israel must cease and desist. The president of the US can push us to continue the war, the prime minister of Britain can cheer us, but in Israel and Lebanon the blood is being spilt, the horror is intensifying, the price is rising, and it is all for naught.

· Gideon Levy is a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz; this is an edited version of his latest article www.haaretz.com.

dimecres, de juliol 26, 2006

Diumenge: no us n'oblideu que hi haurà una altra Asamblea Informativa


RESISTÈNCIA CIVIL PACÍFICA, JA!!!

Presentación Postestructuralismo en la Historia del Arte

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Presentación Postestructuralismo en la Historia del Arte
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dissabte, de juliol 22, 2006

Presentación: Mujeres autores, pensadoras y artistas

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Mujeres autoras, pensadoras y artistas en los siglos XV y XVI
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divendres, de juliol 21, 2006

Presentación Cultura Visual Tardomedieval 2

Presentación Cultura Visual Tardomedieval 2


dimecres, de juliol 19, 2006

Ells caminen entre nosaltres i viceversa



Sembla que el premi major de les eleccions llatinoamericanes ja ha estat lliurat. Mèxic per la dreta. Sota l'ombra d'una resolució feta molt malament per les autoritats electorals mexicanes, sembla que consumatum est. El país fará el que sempre ha fet: adoptar formes modernes o modernistes sense canviar de fons i de veritat. Alhora, una part dels mexicans van fer allò que de fa molt saben molt bé, potser força bé: fer trampa. Avui he anat per tot arreu. Carrer amunt i carrer avall, i veig les cares de la "meva" gent. Em pregunto: Qui ha tingut tanta por del canvi? Per què tant d'odi a les classes socials menys afavorides? Per què els mexicans accepten la seva sort amb tanta facilitat? No ho puc comprendre ben bé. A més a més, em pregunto, qui de tots aquests, qui, qui ha estat còmplice del frau? Quant han cobrat? Quant val la nostra dignitat? Miro els edificis de les corporacions i penso, vosaltres, vosaltres heu pagat milions i milions per crear la campanya d'odi i por. Els vostres subordinats pensen que millor asegurar una dàdiva avui que un futur més digne per els seus fills. Quina vergonya, quina manca de visió i respecte. Tindrà autoritat moral o només de diners el nou govern? Gairebé la meitat dels votants en pensen que no. Vosaltres, la dreta, us heu fet amos del govern, però no de les nostres conciències. Mai desitjo res dolent per el meu país, ans espero que la ja tan cantada victòria de la dreta sigui el que sembla que serà: una victòria pírrica. I els mitjans de comunicació, encara més vergonya. Per a mí, de Mèxic, res. El 9 de setembre s'acabará per a mi aquest país, quedará com un mort en vida, condemnat al mateix de sempre, i per sempre.


dimarts, de juliol 18, 2006

If Israel has the right to use force in self defence, so do its neighbours

If Israel has the right to use force in self defence, so do its neighbours
The west appears to insist that only one side in the conflict is able to intervene militarily across borders.
That will never be accepted Ahmad Samih KhalidiTuesday July 18, 2006The Guardian
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Much has been made in recent days - at the G8 summit and elsewhere - of Israel's right to retaliate against the capture of its soldiers, or attacks on its troops on its own sovereign territory. Some, such as those in the US administration, seem to believe that Israel has an unqualified licence to hit back at its enemies no matter what the cost. And even those willing to recognise that there may be a problem tend to couch it in terms of Israel's "disproportionate use of force" rather than its basic right to take military action.
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But what is at stake here is not proportionality or the issue of self-defence, but symmetry and equivalence. Israel is staking a claim to the exclusive use of force as an instrument of policy and punishment, and is seeking to deny any opposing state or non-state actor a similar right. It is also largely succeeding in portraying its own "right to self-defence" as beyond question, while denying anyone else the same. And the international community is effectively endorsing Israel's stance on both counts.
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From an Arab point of view this cannot be right. There is no reason in the world why Israel should be able to enter Arab sovereign soil to occupy, destroy, kidnap and eliminate its perceived foes - repeatedly, with impunity and without restraint - while the Arab side cannot do the same. And if the Arab states are unable or unwilling to do so then the job should fall to those who can.
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It is important to bear in mind that in both the case of the Hamas raid that led to the invasion of Gaza and the Hizbullah attack that led to the assault on Lebanon it was Israel's regular armed forces, not its civilians, that were targeted. It is hard to see how this can be filed under the rubric of "terrorism", rather than a straightforward tactical defeat for Israel's much-vaunted military machine; one that Israel seems loth to acknowledge.
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Some of this has to do with the paradox of power: the stronger the Israeli army becomes, the more susceptible and vulnerable it becomes to even a minor setback. The loss of even one tank, the capture of one soldier or damage done to one warship has a negative-multiplier effect: Israel's "deterrent" power is dented out of all proportion to the act itself. Israel's retaliation is thus partly a matter of restoring its deterrence, partly sheer vengeance, and partly an attempt to compel its adversaries to do its bidding.
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But there is also something else at work: Israel's fear of acknowledging any form of equivalence between the two sides. And it is precisely this that seems to provide the moral and psychological underpinning for Israel's ongoing assault in both Gaza and Lebanon - the sense that it may have met its match in audacity, tactical ingenuity and "clean" military action from an adversary who may even have learned a thing or two from Israel itself, and may be capable of learning even more in the future.
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There has of course been nothing "clean" about Israeli military action throughout the many decades of conflict in Palestine and Lebanon. Israel's wanton disregard for civilian life during the past few days is neither new nor out of character. For those complaining about violations of Israeli sovereignty by Hizbullah or Hamas, it may be useful to recall the tens of thousands of Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty since the late 60s, the massive air raids of the mid-70s and early 80s, the 1978 and 1982 invasions and occupation of the capital Beirut, the hundreds of thousands of refugees, the 28-year-old buffer zone and proxy force set up in southern Lebanon, the assassinations, car bombs, and massacres, and finally the continuing violations of Lebanese soil, airspace and territorial waters and the detention of Lebanese prisoners even after Israel's withdrawal in 2000.
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It is unnecessary here to recount the full range of Israel's violations of Palestinian "sovereignty", not least of which is its recent refusal to accept the sovereign electoral choice of the Palestinian people. Israel's extraterritorial, extrajudicial execution of Palestinian leaders and activists began in the early 70s and has not ceased since. But for those seeking further enlightenment about Hamas's recent action, the fact is that some 650,000 acts of imprisonment have taken place since the occupation began in 1967, and that 9,000 Palestinians are currently in Israel's jails, including some 50 old-timers incarcerated before and despite the 1993 Oslo accords, and many others whom Israel refuses to release on the grounds that they have "blood on their hands", as if only one side in this conflict was culpable, or the value of one kind of human blood was superior to another.
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If there ever was a case for establishing some form of mutually acknowledged parity regarding the ground rules of the conflict, Hamas and Hizbullah have a good one to make. And if there ever was a case for demonstrating that what is good on one side of the border should also good on the other, Hamas and Hizbullah's logic has strong appeal to Arab and Muslim public opinion - regardless of what the supine Arab state system may say.
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Indeed as George Bush and other western leaders splutter on about freedom, democracy, and Israel's right to defend itself, Tony Blair's repeated claim that events in the region should not be linked to terrible events elsewhere is looking increasingly fatuous.
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The slowly expanding war in Afghanistan, the devastation of Iraq, the death and destruction in Gaza and the bombing of Beirut are all providing a slow but sure drip feed for those who believe that the west is incapable of taking a balanced moral stance, and is directly or indirectly complicit in a design meant to break Arab and Muslim will and subjugate it to untrammelled Israeli force.
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Contrary to what Blair seems to believe, the use of force is unlikely to breed western style-liberalism and moderation. What is at issue here is not democracy but the right to resist Israeli arrogance and be treated on a par with it in every respect, including the use of force. If Israel has the right to "defend itself" then so has everyone else.
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Furthermore, there is nothing in the history of the region to suggest that Israel's destruction of mass popular movements such as Hamas or Hizbullah (even if this were possible) would drive their successors closer to western-style democracy, and every reason to believe the opposite. Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 did away with the PLO and produced Hizbullah instead, the incarceration and elimination of Arafat only served to strengthen Hamas, and the wars in Afghanistan, the Gulf and Iraq gave birth to Bin Ladenist terrorism and extended its reach and appeal. And we should not be surprised if the summer of 2006 produces more of the same.
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However Israel's latest adventure ends, it will not produce greater sympathy and understanding between west and east, or a downturn in extremism. Indeed the most likely outcome is that a new wave of virulent and possibly unconventional anti-western terrorism may well crash against this and other shores. We will all - Israelis, Arabs and westerners - suffer as a result.
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· Ahmad Samih Khalidi is a senior associate member of St Antony's College, Oxford, a former Palestinian negotiator and the co-author, with Hussein Agha, of A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine (Chatham House, 2006)

dilluns, de juliol 17, 2006

divendres, de juliol 14, 2006

Violence and more violence and more violence

  • INTERNATIONAL STATE OF SHAME: ISRAEL

    You are a shame, State of Israel
    What do you think you will gain by bombing another sovereign state?
    Do you think that by shock and awe and humiliation your life will be better?
    Has it been demonstrated that terrorists recede by punishing a whole country? Not
    Shame on your violent ways, shame on the way you terrorise civilians
    One day, Israel, the tide will not flow in your favour, and you will collect what you have seeded.

Presentación Cultura Visual Tardomedieval 1


Presentación Cultura Visual Tardomedieval 1




dijous, de juliol 13, 2006

Introducción a la historiografía de la cultura visual gótica en Cataluña

BORRADOR
La historiografía del "arte gótico" ha seguido un sinfín de derroteros desde el surgimiento de la misma en el Renacimiento. En un principio, la historia y la teoría del arte fueron crueles críticos de las manifestaciones artísticas tardomedievales, tachándolas de deformes o monstruosas, toda vez que representaban la antítesis del idolatrado arte clásico, tal y como autores de la talla de Giorgio Vasari lo entendían en el siglo XVI. El mismo apelativo de “gótico” es incongruente y aberrante con respecto al arte de los siglos XI al XV, puesto que apela a que fueron los godos, etnia germánica, los que concibieron el antedicho arte. Los pueblos godos, visigodos, ostrogodos, etc., están documentados hacia los siglos finales del Imperio Romano, territorio al cual se mudaron, mezclándose con los nativos, hasta llegar a perder su identidad diferenciada. Por lo tanto, es imposible consignar que fueron los godos quienes crearon el arte, pues, gótico. No obstante, la visión florentina italocéntrica de la belleza propuso que fueron los antiguos bárbaros los que levantaron las para ellos chocantes obras que no se adscribían a los cánones inspirados por la Antigüedad, lo cual es irónico ya que los mismos italianos son mestizos resultado de la mezcla entre los antiguos pobladores del Imperio y los grupos germanos que emigraron a la península.

No fue hasta el siglo XVIII, cuando las ideas románticas cambiaron el paradigma hasta entonces negativo de lo “gótico”. La Edad Media fue vista con ilusión: en dicho periodo se documentaron las comunidades que siglos después conformaron los Estados nacionales, las lenguas modernas y sus literaturas también surgieron en aquel entonces y los valores tanto gallardos como espirituales de los medievales capturaban la imaginación de las elites intelectuales. Autores de gran influencia como Goethe declararon su admiración hacia las grandes catedrales y así, en el siglo XIX, se valoró tanto artística como filosóficamente lo gótico. El término, aunque equívoco, enraizó, y de referirse a oscuridades y monstruosidades, devino en sinónimo de grandeza y maravilla. La Europa del XIX, siguiendo los postulados de Violet-le-Duc, padre y maestro de la recuperación de los edificios antiguos, se lanzó a la restauración, podría decirse, reinvención del gótico, estilo que llegó a identificarse como símbolo nacional (Inglaterra) o de la superioridad artística de un pueblo (Francia).

La historiografía del siglo XX emprendió estudios más científicos sobre el fenómeno, además se presentaron nuevas periodizaciones y se observaron inconsistencias de la teoría lineal del arte, lo cual llevó en los coloquios, encuentros y discusiones varias de los especialistas a proponer que no existe tal cosa llamada “gótico”. Desestabilizaciones tales como el “estilo 1200”, “arte de Císter” pusieron en duda la teoría que gotizaba el arte en completo de los siglos XI al XV. Panofsky también convencía con su teoría de que antes del Renacimiento del siglo XIV, se habían sucedido otros anteriores de menor intensidad. Cualesquiera que fuesen las propuestas, el gótico se convirtió, más que un estilo claramente diferenciable, en un repertorio de interpretación periódica que evocaba en principio la presencia de tres elementos: el arco ojival, el triforio y el alargamiento de las formas. Para mejorar el entendimiento, o para paliar las confusiones, de acuerdo al gusto de cada quien, se llegó a desarrollar una miríada de términos para parcelar al máximo las múltiples manifestaciones artísticas de hasta cuatro siglos: el francogótico, gótico lineal, italogótico, gótico internacional, gótico flamígero, gótico hispanoflamenco, románico-gótico, protorrenacimiento, gótico radiante, estilo perpendicular, etc.

La historiografía ideológica del arte nos demuestra que muchas ideas tienen más que ver con el programa político del momento que con el valor de las piezas en sí mismas.

ESTADO DE LA PINTURA CATALANA

En el siglo XII (1130) en la comarca conocida como Île-de-France aparece, tras una evolución de varios siglos y que atravesó el periodo llamado románico, el arco ojival. El arte gótico pues se definirá a partir de la arquitectura. En los subsecuentes cien años las formas surgidas en Francia se irán difundiendo por Europa. Así, en el siglo XII las artes se irán impregnando de lo que se dispersaba desde el país galo. En la pintura, empero, hubo que mezclarse y después imponerse al canon impuesto por lo bizantino.

En el caso de la Península Ibérica, fue hacia finales del siglo XIII que desde Francia se difunden las formas novedosas. O sea, pasó un siglo y medio para que en los reinos hispánicos se conociera el gótico. En el caso específico de los reinos de la Corona de Aragón, en Cataluña habrá que esperar al siglo XIV para que e interprete lo gótico, el cual llegó a través de artífices ingleses y franceses. Este gótico se le llama en la literatura “gótico lineal” y llegará a coexistir con el gótico italiano, el cual hace su irrupción en la península hacia 1330.

La compartimentación mayormente aceptada sobre el arte pictórico catalán fue acuñada por Post, que propuso cuatro etapas: francogótica, italianizante, internacional e hispanoflamenca. Gudiol Ricart siguió a grandes rasgos la mentada periodización y es la que ahora se difunde. Tal vez el único matiz que se ha de agregar es que el concepto de “francogótico” convive con el concepto de “gótico lineal.”

La relación entre lo “gótico italiano” y los reinos de la Corona de Aragón ha sido explicada, en primer lugar, por la conquista de esta última sobre Sicilia y Nápoles en los siglos XIII y XIV, empresa capitalista que habría fomentado el flujo de artistas hacia los reinos hispanos. Eminentes medievalistas como Joan Sureda, empero, rechazan la tan aceptada teoría de difusión unilateral del gótico, o sea, Italia –Aragón, por considerarla italocéntrica y documentalmente insostenible
[1]. Dicha argumentación se sustenta en el análisis de la pieza llamada Martiro de San Lorenzo, de la iglesia de Santa Margarita de Melfi, realizada supuestamente por un maestro catalán, a quien también se atribuye una Crucifixión en la iglesia del Crucifijo de Palermo. Ambas piezas tendrían una estrecha relación con un retablo rosellonés, localizado en Serdinyà en 1342. Las fechas de las piezas italianas son del siglo XII, mientras que las catalanas son del XIV, por lo que el desfazamiento cronológico es total, esto había llevado a los autores italianos a redactar y repetir asiduamente que las obras en disputa habrían sido realizadas por maestros españoles emergentes y no por italianos, puesto que la historia del arte lineal no daba cabida a las trasgresiones formales en las piezas anteriormente mencionadas. En sus reflexiones, Sureda atribuía las tablas a artistas del Lacio y la Campania, por lo que el discurso historiográfico lineal, puntual y ordenado del “protorrenacimiento” toscano se venía abajo y la literatura del gótico catalán abriría nuevas interrogantes. El mismo Sureda opina que ante el estudio de la pintura “gótica”, cualquier investigador se tiene que enfrentar a un hecho determinante: no hay un corpus lo suficientemente representativo de lo ocurrido en el arte de aquel momento, en virtud de la falta de obra o de documentación. Los pilares en que se sustenta la historiografía artística medieval catalana son frágiles, la documentación del siglo XIV es más bien escasa y las piezas sobrevivientes están fragmentadas, dispersas y modificadas.

No obstante, es posible establecer criterios para tratar sobre los artistas, etc etc. El pintor más importante de Cataluña en el siglo XIV habría sido Ramon Destorrents.

Del siglo XV son harto importantes Jaume Huguet, Bernat Martorell, Lluís Dalmau. Documentados en Cerdeña se tiene a Bartomeu Lunell y Pere Blanch. Según Sureda, Huguet conocía bien el arte septentrional italiano, en específico, el de Piamonte, fronterero de italiano y lo flamenco-germano. El historiador propone que Huguet habría visto y se dejó influir por el arte piamontés, aunque no hay documentación que lo pueda corroborar y que en algún momento viajó por Cerdeña dejando su impronta, cosa que tampoco cuenta con documentación.


Lluís Dalmau, La Mare de Déu dels Consellers, 1443-1445. 311 x 311 cm, óleo y temple sobre madera de roble. Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, Barcelona.

dimecres, de juliol 12, 2006

Chalga!!! Bulgaria's dirtiest guilty pleasure

From www.travelmag.co.uk

Europe
Bulgaria's Chalga Music
By Matt Pointon
2 Jun, 2004, 17:16


“Tonight you will experience Chalga,” said Vladimir Kisiev, as we walked sedately towards the centre of Smolyan.
“Chalga?” queried the ignorant Englishman.
“Oh yes, Chalga,” said Ivelina Metchkarova. “Something very special.”
“What is this Chalga?” enquired the still-mystified Briton.
“Music,” replied Georgi Shopov, with not a small degree of enthusiasm.
Miss Metchkarova and Mr. Kisiev looked at one another. “Perhaps…” they added.


Our destination that balmy August evening was Top Stars, the pulsating heart of Smolyan’s nightlife, a discotechque straight out of the Eighties with prices to match. There the local gallants and their girls donned fake Manchester United tops, jeans and short skirts and danced the night away to a strange mixture of Western pop and this aforementioned Chalga.

“It’s terrible isn’t it?” asked Ivelina, several double vodkas later. The song playing at that particular moment was a fast-moving gypsy melody with what sounded like some Greek influences. The lyrics were all in Bulgarian barring the chorus which was English and consisted of ‘Sexy! Sexy! Sexy!’ It was undoubtedly one of the cheesiest tracks that I’d ever heard in my life.

"Actually, I rather like it,” was my reply. Ivelina sighed in exasperation. So did Vladimir. Georgi Shopov however, beamed.

And so went my introduction to Chalga.

Of course, Chalga was something that even if I had never visited the palatial confines of Smolyan’s Top Stars, I was always going to encounter. No visitor to Bulgaria can escape it. Wherever one goes, it’s there, blaring from the taxi radio, deafening customers in the coffee shop, lulling early morning bus commuters into a troubled sleep, blasting out of classroom windows at break times and of course filling the disco dancefloors. No one who has been anywhere near Bulgaria is unfamiliar with this phenomenon. Whether they like it or not is another matter entirely. But the question that should first be asked of course, is what is Chalga?

The word ‘Chalga’ comes from the Turkish word ‘Çalg4’(pronounced ‘Chalguh’), which means ‘playing’ or ‘music’ and comes itself from Arabic. As the word suggests, the tradition came from the East and is not of Slavic origin. Indeed, the movement is derived from the art of the chalgazhia, a type of musician, normally a Tsigani, who could play virtually any type of music, but added his own distinctive beat or rhythm to the song. Often a chalgazhia would not be able to read music, but instead played from memory on his caval, (similar to an oboe). Playing in groups at festivals or weddings, these chalgazhia were the start of the Chalga story.

Throughout the communist years however, this genre of music was not looked upon favourably. The reasons behind this were manifold. Such simple peasant music had no real place in a go-ahead, forward-looking, modern socialist state, and when Zhivkov decided in the 1980s to steer a more nationalistic tack, such Eastern-originated traditions were of course looked down on, as inferior to those with more purely Slavic roots. What’s more Chalga also came with a provocative hip-shaking dance and at times lewd lyrics, and thus its morality as well as its origins was dubious. One also suspects that as an art form predominantly practiced and developed by the Tsigani, then a little racial discrimination also perhaps played its part.

But whilst Chalga was looked down on and discouraged in Bulgaria, in neighbouring Yugoslavia, which operated a much more flexible form of socialism, the genre flourished, and so whilst this ‘pop-folk’ was not played on Bulgarian radio stations, millions still managed to listen to it on stations broadcast from Serbia. It was not only the Yugoslavians either. In Greece, Syrtaki, a fusion of modern pop and Greek traditional dances and melodies, (who is not familiar with the strains of ‘Zorba the Greek’?), was becoming massively popular. In Turkey too, a similar situation was emerging.

And then came 1989. The regime fell, restrictions were lifted and a culture of corruption, fast money, gangsters and new freedoms took hold. A culture that provided the perfect breeding ground for Chalga. Chalga tunes, now played on all stations and available to all on cheap pirated tapes and CDs swept the nation. A new generation of scantily-clad and sexy superstars took centre-stage, performing songs that could have landed them in gaol but a year before. Lyrics concerning gun-running, gangsterism and of course, sex were the order of the day, danced to across the nation in new folkteki, (folk discos). The Chalga Era had arrived.

Most followers consider the movement to have reached its peak around 1998-9. By then countless others had followed the ‘Mother of Chalga’, Ruse-born Gloria, onto the scene, with pop-folk legends Tsvetilina, Kamelia, (and now the men) Valdez and Kondyo all becoming household names, with several recording studios, headed by the redoubtable Payner pumping out a steady stream of tracks every week. The government, under the influence of the European Big Brother, had launched definite campaigns cracking down on CD piracy and tightening up its copyright laws of which Chalga had always been a notorious offender. What’s more, as with everything, tastes change. New freedoms became older and less interesting and free sex less of an event. Western Pop, as well as the works of other Bulgarian musicians, both traditional and those exploring new avenues, (most notably its rap scene, headed by the Dope Reach Squad – Dobrich is their home town and they like dope, gettit?), and the ever-popular bald, middle-of-the-road TV favourite Slavi Trifonov, pushing in on Chalga’s market share. By the advent of the new millennium, the Chalga star was beginning to wane.

Nonetheless, even today, Chalga lives on, probably as Bulgaria’s most listened to form of music, and the mainstay of many a party and disco. And the signs are that that is not likely to change for a long time to come.

But that’s just the outline to it al. I wish to tell you about my personal Journey with Chalga. After that initial encounter in Top Stars, I became an addict, acquiring new CDs and tapes with every visit to Bulgaria, and pestering the Bulgarians abroad to keep me up-to-date with events in the Chalga Scene.

That I, foreign and educated, enjoyed Chalga, became a source of amusement and not a small degree of puzzlement to my Bulgarian friends. Their attitudes at first perplexed me also. “But how can you like Chalga?” asked Miss Metchkarova. Virtually any Bulgarian educated past eighteen echoed her comments. Only the village yokels seemed to share my enthusiasm. Well, to answer their questions, I liked Chalga because it is happy, lively and brilliant to dance to. What’s more, it does not take itself too seriously, or indeed, is it remotely serious at all. Not that I mind serious and thought-provoking tunes from time to time. Quite the contrary in fact, as my CD collection will attest, but some people do take their music far too seriously. And there are times when a little light-hearted fun must take precedence. After all, walk into a wedding disco and one does not want to hear Leonard Cohen or Radiohead.

However, it was not Chalga’s light-heartedness that captured me back on that steamy eve in Top Stars, but something else entirely. And that something was its Bulgarianess. For once here was a country not shunning its own distinct musical traditions for a bland imitation of Western Pop, (or Rock, Reggae, R ‘n’ B, Rap…). For once here was something different, unique and entirely homegrown. That more than anything else earned my admiration.

Now of course, even before I wrote that last paragraph down, I knew well the response that it would elicit. Chalga – Bulgarian! A development of our own distinctive musical traditions?! Why no, Mr. Pointon, you are mistaken! Very much so! Yes, we have our own folk music, and very good it is too, (Did you know that we had a folk song sent into space? ). But this folk music is not Chalga! Chalga is not Bulgarian! It is Eastern, Serbian, it is Oriental and (worst of all, horror of horrors), it is Gypsy!

Well yes my learned friends, (and the ones who come out with such comments are always learned), you are entirely correct. Or at least you are entirely correct if you classify Bulgarian culture as being entirely Slavic. Chalga is no natural progression of ‘Iovano, Iovanche’ or even ‘Kalinka’. It has Slavic elements perhaps, but purely Slavic it is definitely not. But there again, has Bulgarian ever been purely Slavic? Look at Bulgaria solely as a land of the Slavs and then yes, you are right, Chalga is alien. However, if you view her instead as a land where Gypsy, Slav and Turk have intermingled for centuries, and as a country that has repeatedly borrowed the folk melodies and dances of its Balkan neighbours, (as well as exported them, it must also be noted), since time began, and then a different picture is revealed. As a movement that involves members of all of Bulgaria’s races, (over half of Chalga stars are Slavic), and works in conjunction with similar traditions in all of the countries that border her, (though most notably Greece and Serbia), then I’m sorry, but in my mind, Chalga is very much Bulgarian, if not the essence of Bulgarianess.

‘But Mr. Pointon, no offence, but you’re just an ignorant foreigner. If you just understood the lyrics of the songs then you’d realise how bad Chalga is. They’re so dumb!’ Well, yes, at times they are. Some are in fact monumentally dumb as well as being monumentally cheesy. They are stupid and they are often lewd. Just read the English transcript at the end of this essay of ‘Tez cherveni domati’ (‘Those Red Tomatoes’), and you’ll see that they have a point. However, most of the songs are not that bad. 2002’s big hits were ‘Obicham te’ (‘I love you’), and ‘Pogledni me vuf ochite’ (‘Gaze into my eyes’), neither earth-shatteringly stupid, nor particularly different from most of the pop songs out there. And besides, since when have folk songs been deep and meaningful. Examining the British and Irish tradition, I find more lyrics dedicated to sex, romance and drinking than aught else. Ireland’s most famous track, ‘The Wild Rover’ concerns a man who returns home after years of playing the field, and ‘Maggie May’, Liverpool’s most famous folk song, concerns an encounter with a prostitute in that fair city and is lyrically much more comparable with Chalga than Wordsworth.

No, instead I find the lyrics of Chalga fascinating. They are tales of village life, (‘The village bath, ahhh! Great feeling!’), peasant love, (‘Come to the glade, just like this, the two of us. Come on, take off your clothes, let’s wade into the river.’), fast money, (‘Money, money, money, life is money, and cool women.’), and gangsters, (‘I arrive at Burgas Quay, here come my goods from Honduras. Bravo to the customs! Bravo to the police! The heat, the heat in Sofia!’). They tell of insecurity, fleeting happiness, formerly forbidden pleasures, smuggling and a criminal lifestyle. In other words, they could only come from Bulgaria, and they could only belong to this fascinating and fast-changing period in Bulgaria’s history. I suspect that in years to come, the country’s anthropologists will collect and treasure them.

And the videos too! Oh, one has to mention the videos! With Chalga the song is but half the story. The first Chalga video that I ever experienced was ‘Sto Metsedesa’ (‘A Hundred Mercedes’) by Tsvetilina. It was a masterpiece of low budget production. The beautiful Tsveta, (clad in the standard Chalga uniform of a very short skirt and very high heels), sings of how she wishes to own a hundred Mercedes Benzes against a computer-generated backdrop of unparalleled awfulness and cheapness; a sea of vivid colours that would not have looked out of place at a mid-nineties rave with Mercedes Benz symbols rolling past. Then our heroine gets to drive a Mercedes herself, whilst winking and showing a bit of leg to the camera. Except that they obviously couldn’t afford to hire one of those fine German automobiles even for a day, and so instead our smiling Chalga Diva goes to a Mercedes garage and climbs in and out of the cars in the showroom, (an activity which the cameraman utilises to maximum short skirt advantage), before finally selecting one and driving off… into the garage forecourt.

And A Hundred Mercedes is not a one off. Chalga videos are a dreamland of awful outfits, hairstyles and gesturing that only Eastern Europe could produce. Witness Valentin Valdez and his shoot-out in ‘Zhega Zhega’, (using toy guns), or the almost unbelievably eighties spectacle of ‘Tak, Tiki, Tak’, a song so Eurovision Song Contest-esque that no comedian could have parodied it better, and you’ll see what I mean. No please, heed my advice. I you visit Bulgaria only once in your life, and if on that trip you buy but one souvenir, then please, please, make it a Chalga video collection. You will not be disappointed!

No, the world of Chalga is one that should be explored. Take yourself off to a folkteka and learn to dance kyuchek, (Turkish belly-dancing). I visited one with Martin Marinov, a self-proclaimed King of Chalga, and undoubtedly a mine of information on the genre. The secret apparently, is to move every part of your body at the same time, including of course, the stomach, (thus being probably the only form of dance where it helps to have a beer gut), perhaps holding one’s arms out in front of oneself, clicking your fingers in time to the music.

I managed to sample folkteki in Vidin, Blagoevgrad and Stara Zagora, but my favourite was of course Bulgari, Varna’s premier folk-pop venue. Now the term folkteka is usually translated into English as ‘Chalga disco’, but that label is not entirely accurate for it is more a cross between a disco and a mekhana, (taverna). Our visits to Bulgari always started sat with friends around a large table consuming a glorious salad and downing copious quantities of rakiya or beer, whilst listening to a Chalga beat, (often provided by a live band), and watching sexy kyuchek dancers. As the night progresses one starts to tap one’s feet and click one’s fingers before getting up and dancing stood on the chairs and tables. Finally, we move to the dance floor for a kyuchek boogie which acts as a fitting conclusion to the night’s entertainments.

My most memorable evening in Bulgaria however, came in the Spring of 2003 when Plamen Atanasov, Kate Matthams and I visited to watch a performance by Azis, one of the biggest names in Chalga at the time. For a long time I had wanted to watch a real Chalga star live, but alas my regular drinking companions, Messers Marinov and Petkov, were firmly in the Anti-Chalga camp and I didn’t fancy going alone. However, when I heard that Azis was playing, I knew that this was not an opportunity to miss. Now Azis is far from being my favourite Chalga star, but I knew that his live show would be worth the effort. Azis is a Muslim Tsigani who shot to fame with as a bisexual, cross-dressing and outlandish stage personality. In a country that still has serious attitude problems when it comes to homosexuality, (before 1989 it was illegal), let alone towards the Tsigani, I considered his rise remarkable and a strong indicator of just how far Bulgaria has come since the regime change. Azis, with his died blonde hair and beard, cat’s eyes contact lenses, flamboyant costumes and enormous flabby figure was a showman of the first degree.

Not that we noticed much. By the time that he appeared we were all four sheets to the wind and in no state to appreciate even a bad performer, let alone the country’s finest. But we danced kyuchek, enjoyed our salad, enjoyed the alcohol even more, and at the end of the night got a photo with the man/woman him/herself in the background. And in my reckoning, life doesn’t get much better than that.

So that’s it. Listen not to the intelligent and educated Bulgarians who deride this peasant/Tsigani/stupid form of entertainment. Instead gather some friends, a fine carafe of rakiya, a mouth-watering salad and turn up the CD player. Get up on your table, click your fingers, move every part of your body, feel proud of that beer belly and then kiss the person next to you, be it a scantily-clad, bad perm-sporting young maiden, or an overweight, transvestite Gypsy. It’s a pleasure that’s divine and one that can only be had in Bulgaria.

Here is a list of some of my personal favourite Chalga tracks:-

Tsvetilina Sto Metsedesa
Zdravei da e!
Kamelia Nyama Shega
Pachki
Anelia Pogledni me vuf ochite
Ruslan Muinov Az ne sum
Azis Obicham te
Nyama
Valentin Valdez Zhega, Zhega
Zhigoloto v Berlin
Malkite Panteri Kalinka
Malina Obicham lyudo
Gloria Umori ce ot tebe
Ina Petiyat etazh
Naiden Milkov Ana
Ork. Varentsi Tez cherveni domati
Ork. Imperial Shest bez deset
Kondyo Money, Money
Doko, Doko

And here are the English translations of two notable Chalga classics:-

Tez Cherveni Domati
(‘These Red Tomatoes’)
Ork. Varentsi (2002)

Mother told Radka, my dear Radke
I will ask you something and don’t you lie to me, your mother.
Because:

These red tomatoes, who shook them, my girl?
These red tomatoes, who shook them, my girl?
Who did you down, my girl, who lured you, my girl?
Who seduced you, my girl, who poked you in?
Hush, I don’t want to hear of it, everything must stay secret.
Hush, I don’t want to hear of it, everything must stay secret.

This pepper without pips, you swallow it without losing any time.
This pepper without pips, you swallow it without losing any time.
Who did you down, my girl, who lured you, my girl?
Who seduced you, my girl, who poked you in?
Hush, I don’t want to hear of it, everything must stay secret.


Durt Kozel Mlada Lyushteshe
(‘An old Billy Goat was scratching a young willow hard’)
Ruslan Muinov (2002)

The best whistle is made out of young willow.
Bulgarian folk proverb.

Come to the glade,
Just like this, only the two of us.
Come on, take off your clothes,
Let’s wade into the river.
You feel ashamed of people,
But that’s the way it is in nature.
Just look there, at the flora,
How it becomes one with the fauna.

Refrain:
An old Billy Goat was scratching a young willow hard!
It was shaking it over and over again with its horns!
An old Billy Goat was scratching a young willow hard!
It was shaking it over and over again with its horns!

Lay your branches down on me
Till when are we going to chase each other?
It seems like I am an old Billy Goat for you,
You are a crying willow.
An almost done woman
An undeserved destiny.
You think I am old, but an old ploughman
Tills much better!

Many thanks to Ani Popova for her invaluable help with this piece and for her English translations of the songs.

dissabte, de juliol 08, 2006

Mexico and Florida have more in common than heat

Mexico and Florida have more in common than heat
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There is evidence that left-leaning voters have been scrubbed from key electoral lists in Latin America
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Greg Palast
Saturday July 8, 2006The Guardian
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There's something rotten in Mexico. And it smells like Florida. The ruling party, the Washington-friendly National Action Party (Pan), proclaimed yesterday their victory in the presidential race, albeit tortilla thin, was Mexico's first "clean" election. But that requires we close our eyes to some very dodgy doings in the vote count that are far too reminiscent of the games played in Florida in 2000 by the Bush family. And indeed, evidence suggests that Team Bush had a hand in what may be another presidential election heist.
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Just before the 2000 balloting in Florida, I reported in the Guardian that its governor, Jeb Bush, had ordered the removal of tens of thousands of black citizens from the state's voter rolls. He called them "felons", but our investigation discovered their only crime was Voting While Black. And that little scrub of the voter rolls gave the White House to his brother George.
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Jeb's winning scrub list was the creation of a private firm, ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia. Now, it seems, ChoicePoint is back in the voter list business - in Mexico - at the direction of the Bush government. Months ago, I got my hands on a copy of a memo from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, marked "secret", regarding a contract for "intelligence collection of foreign counter-terrorism investigations".
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Given that the memo was dated September 17 2001, a week after the attack on the World Trade Centre, hunting for terrorists seemed like a heck of a good idea. But oddly, while all 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, the contract was for obtaining the voter files of Venezuela, Brazil ... and Mexico.
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What those Latin American countries have in common, besides a lack of terrorists, is either a left-leaning president or a left candidate for president ahead in the opinion polls, leaders of the floodtide of Bush-hostile Latin leaders. It seems that the Bush government feared the leftist surge was up against the US's southern border.
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As we found in Florida in 2000, my investigations team on the ground in Mexico City this week found voters in poor neighbourhoods, the left's turf, complaining that their names were "disappeared" from the voter rolls. ChoicePoint can't know what use the Bush crew makes of its lists. But erased registrations require us to ask, before this vote is certified, was there a purge as there was in Florida?
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Notably, ruling party operatives carried registration lists normally in the hands of elections officials only. (In Venezuela in 2004, during the special election to recall President Hugo Chavez, I saw his opponents consulting laptops with voter lists. Were these the purloined FBI files? The Chavez government suspects so but, victorious, won't press the case.)
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There's more that the Mexico vote has in common with Florida besides the heat. The ruling party's hand-picked electoral commission counted a mere 402,000 votes more for their candidate, Felipe Calderón, over challenger Andrés Manuel López Obrador. That's noteworthy in light of the surprise showing of candidate Señor Blank-o (the 827,000 ballots supposedly left "blank").
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We've seen Mr Blank-o do well before - in Florida in 2000 when Florida's secretary of state (who was also co-chair of the Bush campaign) announced that 179,000 ballots showed no vote for the president. The machines couldn't read these ballots with "hanging chads" and other technical problems. Humans can read these ballots with ease, but the hand-count was blocked by Bush's conflicted official.
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And so it is in Mexico. The Calderón "victory" is based on a gross addition of tabulation sheets. His party, the Pan, and its election officials are refusing López Obrador's call for a hand recount of each ballot which would be sure to fill in those blanks.
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Blank ballots are rarely random. In Florida in 2000, 88% of the supposedly blank ballots came from African-American voting districts - that is, they were cast by Democratic voters. In Mexico, the supposed empty or unreadable ballots come from the poorer districts where the challenger's Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR) is strongest.
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There's an echo of the US non-count in the south-of-the-border tally. It's called "negative drop-off". In a surprising number of districts in Mexico, the federal electoral commission logged lots of negative drop-off: more votes for lower offices than for president. Did López Obrador supporters, en masse, forget to punch in their choice?
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There are signs of Washington's meddling in its neighbour's election. The International Republican Institute, an arm of Bush's party apparatus funded by the US government, admits to providing tactical training for Pan. Did Pan also make use of the purloined citizen files? (US contractor ChoicePoint, its Mexican agents facing arrest for taking the data, denied wrongdoing and vowed to destroy its copies of the lists. But what of Mr Bush's copy?)
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Mexico's Bush-backed ruling party claims it has conducted Mexico's first truly honest election, though it refuses to re-count the ballots or explain the purge of voters. Has the Pan and its ally in Washington served democracy in this election, or merely Florida con salsa?
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· Greg Palast is the author of Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama Wolf? China Floats Bush Sinks, the Scheme to Steal '08 and other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class
Wargregpalast.com

dijous, de juliol 06, 2006

Lectors meus, a Mèxic les coses no estan definides

Estimats lectors meus del món catalanoparlant:
Només per informar-vos que a Mèxic, després del procès electoral del passat 2 de juliol, les coses semblen més embolicades que mai. El nostre Instituto Federal Electoral ha treballat d'una manera més que túrbia durant els passats dies, i des de l'Estat s'ha orquestat una campanya de desinformació i descalificació de qualsevol queixa o reclamació dels candidats i partits d'esquerra. Encara no hi ha guanyador de les eleccions i no hi hauria d'haver-ne cap fins que es tornin a contar vot per vot els resultats. Puc contar-vos que els ciutadans s'estan mobilitzant i formant xarxes d'informació i suport, de cara a la miríada d'irregularitats i inconsistències del procès electoral. Els poders fàctics ja ens estan descalificant per demandar claredat, i segur que amb el pas dels dies pujará el to utilitzat per ells en referir-se a la gent que volem certeses i no desinformació. Així ho esperem. Marc

Por el bien de todos, a contar cada voto

Sergio Zermeño
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El escenario que se ha querido hacer pasar como inevitable después de estas elecciones es el que tenemos ante nuestros ojos: Felipe Calderón ha obtenido, por los medios que usted guste, lícitos o ilícitos, una diferencia a favor de menos de uno por ciento, suficiente para ser declarado ganador de la contienda. Pero no fue inmediatamente declarado ganador de la contienda, porque eso habría podido desatar la furia de sus contrincantes. Lo que convenía era magnificar en todos los medios de comunicación ese uno por ciento, mientras se contaran y recontaran las actas, de manera que la ciudadanía se fuera acostumbrando a ese hecho incontrovertible. Sólo entonces el consejero presidente del Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE) o el tribunal electoral declararían triunfador de los comicios a Felipe Calderón.
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Y la oposición a esto, ¿dónde está?, se preguntará el lector. Bueno, el PRI, o al menos Madrazo y su camarilla, aceptaron corriendo el triunfo de Calderón, reconociendo y ensalzando al IFE y descalificado las protestas del PRD: "no le apostamos al conflicto. En la democracia se gana o se pierde con un solo voto, y lo asumimos plenamente". La combinación de la contundente derrota del tricolor, aunada a estas declaraciones (acuerdos tras bambalinas de un oportunismo desenfrenado), ¿precipitarán por fin el golpe de Estado interno que ya todo mundo corea? Quizás, ya veremos, pero ése es otro asunto.
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El operativo hasta el martes parecía bien planeado y los responsables del IFE parecían tener elementos para sostener un discurso hasta cierto punto convincente. Un hecho, sin embargo, vino a enturbiar todo el panorama y a sembrar la desconfianza: entre el lunes y el martes aparecieron resultados de casillas que habían sido "puestas de lado" y que le eran claramente favorables a AMLO de manera que se acortó su distancia del 1.1 a 0.6 por ciento. Sólo con un programa cibernético se pudieron haber "puesto de lado" esos resultados tan desfavorables al candidato de Estado. Pero ese hecho tuvo el efecto de desatar la furia en un bando y sembrar la duda en el otro: lo de Hildebrando y la manipulación del padrón ha comenzado a revelarse con evidencia incontestada, y entonces la demanda de revisar voto por voto, y no sólo acta por acta, amenaza convertirse en una confrontación muy seria entre el PRD y los cada vez más cuestionados consejeros del IFE. Todo esto podría conducir a dos escenarios más: por una parte, al terreno de las instituciones políticas y la legitimación del nuevo gobierno, cuya arena principal sería la parlamentaria: buscar por todos los medios que sean anuladas las elecciones, debido a la sucesión infinita de irregularidades antes, durante y después de los comicios, trabando el funcionamiento institucional de la República, no permitiendo, por ejemplo, la instalación del nuevo Congreso el primero de septiembre y haciendo imposible la gobernabilidad.
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Sería una fatigante redición de 1988 que puede atascarse, aunque también podría conducir a un arreglo político en el que probablemente ya no estarían los mismos candidatos, colocando en su lugar a una figura de consenso, a una personalidad de conciliación nacional arropada con un gobierno de coalición. Para que esto fuera posible, primero tendría que producirse, en el interior del PRI, una revuelta que desautorizara el reconocimiento que Madrazo otorgó a Calderón.
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El tercer escenario sería uno en el que el perredismo, después de demostrar una infinidad de irregularidades contables (aunadas a las marrullerías ya detectadas), decidiera declarar un fraude electoral asumiendo todas las consecuencias de abandonar la mesa de negociaciones y enfrentar al arsenal la "deslegitimación" cibernética y televisiva del status quo. Un escenario así implicaría pasar a la movilización popular, a la presión directa, y conduciría a que el pequeño grupo que rodea a AMLO tuviera que darle cabida, y sin duda la prioridad en las decisiones, al ancho caudal de las corrientes de base del partido, todo ello inscrito en una dinámica inevitable de radicalización y de confrontación. Abonan en una salida así el hecho de que la gente ya no quiere lamentarse otros 18 años por no haber sabido defender un triunfo y el argumento de que en el valle de México el perredismo popular es muy consistente y es en ese espacio donde se asientan las instituciones de la República.
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Este escenario presenta, sin embargo, debilidades que no sólo derivan de las resistencias de cualquier cúpula a ser desplazada, sino también del hecho de que gran cantidad de dirigentes no querrán poner en riesgo sus curules, cuyo número creció fuertemente en estos comicios. Por lo demás, los responsables de mantener el orden serían los propios gobernantes perredistas del Distrito Federal, y eso naturalmente complicaría muchísimo las cosas. Pero si una dinámica así se desatara, no cabe duda de que también exigiría una salida política consensuada: un gobierno de coalición.
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Es difícil que los conflictos electorales deriven en grandes confrontaciones políticas, pero una mala salida de este tipo resulta como los terremotos: a mediano plazo terminan resquebrajando la cohesión social.

dimecres, de juliol 05, 2006

Me duele mi país

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2006/07/05/016a1pol.php

Me duele mi país. Me duele hasta las raíces más profundas que me habitan. Me duele verlo dividido entre pasiones muy oscuras. Y así, advertir con impotencia los bordes de un futuro acaso incierto. Me duele ver el ansia de sus ciudadanos respondiendo al llamado de las urnas de una manera nutrida, pacífica, desde un tiempo largo y turbio de ignorancia.
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La ignorancia -esta lacra secular nuestra- la tomo aquí de dos maneras. Una, desde luego, la deficiente o nula escolaridad de una porción amplia de la población. La otra, una forma de dejar de ver, de ignorar, de hacer de lado, los elementos de realidad para dejarse sorprender por una sensación de apremio ante la "amenaza" tan prolijamente difundida.
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Me duele haber visto a la gente tan crispada bajo razones, las más veces mentirosas, que fueron torciendo voluntades. Me duelen los embates de una guerra sucia que obnubiló el pensamiento hasta los bordes de la estulticia.
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Me duele la defensa a las prebendas de unos cuantos, que se unieron temerosos de perder sus privilegios adquiridos en una inequidad flagrante. Quizá, de otro modo, ya no se habrían multiplicado estas prebendas tan impunemente como antes. Y sólo la perversidad de los mensajes, tan machaconamente repetidos, los llevaron a creer patrañas tales como que perderían su patrimonio. Para bien o, diré mejor, para mal, el país está acotado por las leyes de su tiempo. El reino absoluto del Rey Sol hace siglos ha sido rebasado y Stalin, por ejemplo, murió ya hace más de medio siglo. Hoy imperan leyes que no reconocen fronteras nacionales, pero que es imposible dejar de lado.
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Me duele el engaño a una mayoría hambrienta que no sólo es manipulada por el gobierno, sino que asimismo lo es por los sermones parroquiales. Los orígenes humildes del cristianismo hace mucho que son letra muerta, porque el clero dominante tampoco está dispuesto a privarse de sus condiciones ventajosas. Sé, sin duda, también de la existencia de otro que sigue aquellos antiguos preceptos.
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¿Qué ofrece esta lucha desigual, donde el más pobre recibirá la displicente limosna de los ricos? El altruismo se vuelve un vocablo equívoco, apoyado en la ignorancia cultivada durante muchas generaciones: "Hijo mío, el premio a tu sumisión lo hallarás en el otro mundo". ¿Y qué hay para éste? ¡No hay nada! Porque los empresarios -tan activamente presentes- buscarán que todo siga igual para ellos. Si acaso, una limosna dirigida a cerrarles los ojos, cerrarlos a la obviedad de la injusticia. Y la clase media -igual de ignorante que la inmensa mayoría- se desbordó enviando y atendiendo mensajes abusivamente mentirosos. Primó el miedo que se esparció como reguero de pólvora.
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Me duele mi país en su ignorancia atizada por la moral doble de aquellos que defienden este estado de cosas. Los bienes de la nación deben ser para la "gente decente". Y admiro su eficacia, la eficacia que los vuelve ejército de leones persignados por los mandatos civiles y por el fanatismo que el escaso saber, o querer saber, propicia. ¿Qué gana la inmensa mayoría de pobres? Nada. No gana nada. Si acaso, el emigrar hacia un país con una frontera armada.
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El campo no es negocio redituable. Por tanto, que se mueran los que no han comido bien, pero que han sido muy bien nutridos por palabras huecas que aterrorizan buscando paliar -en el discurso- sus carencias. Finalmente, si la fruta o la hortaliza es extranjera, nosotros, "la gente decente", no nos privaremos de éstas. Los demás, que se rasquen con sus uñas.
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Y es que la educación tan defectuosa que ahora -más que nunca- va a estar dispuesta a ejercer una selección natural -no inoperante- que a ésta tendieron los mensajes, y que orilló a permanecer en el camino que hace alarde de una sana macroeconomía, sin tener en cuenta el bienestar de esa enorme cantidad de gente sin futuro.
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Pero el poder de la palabra mendaz ha probado sus bondades, mientras aquella clase de muy pequeños burgueses -miopes e ignorantes- luchó con pies y manos para que nada pudiera ser modificado. Un gatopardismo inmundo. La gente, ayuna de protección social, se dejó seducir -en su ignorancia- por el canto de unas sirenas que no lo hacían para ella.
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Me duele la ignorancia de la gente de mi país que no mira hacia adelante. ¿Y cómo puede hacerlo en este estado de cosas? El espejismo del país del norte llama a muchos desarrapados con un llamado engañoso a resolver lo que el gobierno dejó al margen. Y esto, a sabiendas del trato lamentable del que son objeto los audaces que deciden arriesgar la vida cuando en su patria han sido abandonados.
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Me duele el alarde de democracia que alaba la asistencia a las urnas. Y así sería, si las condiciones no estuvieran manchadas por la serie de amenazas que las enturbió de forma dolosa.
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Me duele el alborozo de las mujeres de derecha, que celebran el resultado de estas elecciones. Porque, tanto las mujeres como los homosexuales, como quienes buscan en la educación y la cultura una puerta que permita el libre acceso a este tiempo nuestro, han sido derrotados. ¿Cómo -me pregunto- se alegran de ser ordenados a la obediencia infame que dictan los prejuicios? Y de inmediato me respondo: por ignorancia.
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Me duelen las leyes del mercado, que han probado su inefectividad para la mayoría que no goza de los derechos plenos con los que se buscaría el acceso, si el bienestar del país, pero más aún el de sus habitantes, fuera tomado en cuenta.
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Pero hoy y mañana el apoyo a la ignorancia continuará su camino en este estado de cosas. ¿Para qué el civismo, la geografía, la historia antigua? ¿Para qué, si se ha acordado, y con esta votación controvertida se apuntala, que es irrelevante para los dueños del capital y para los omisos?
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Y en esta ignorancia funesta que nos bordea, surge, crece y prolifera la corrupción, que es otra grave lacra de este pueblo, que pareciera que sólo así subsiste. Unos cuantos, en la abundancia más inicua, el resto, amplio y descartado desde la cuna, es conducido borreguilmente a obedecer las palabras de la "gente de razón".
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Me duele la democracia, acotada por las amenazas y la superioridad de los que dominan con su verbo tramposo.
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Me duele mi pobre país. Y me duele verme en esta indefensión.

¿Cuánto miedo le tienen a AMLO?

Por Ciro Gómez LeyvaMéxico, D.F. - Miércoles 5 de Julio de 2006http://www.milenio.com/mexico/milenio/firma.asp?id=105731

Es enfermiza, irresponsable, la insistencia de los dirigentes del PAN y algunas personas, grupos empresariales, locutores de radio e incluso medios de comunicación, para que Andrés Manuel López Obrador reconozca su derrota en las elecciones del domingo. Esa prisa intransigente es hoy la principal amenaza para echar a perder la luminosa jornada del 2 de julio.
¿Por qué tendría López Obrador que levantarle la mano a Felipe Calderón, si el propio presidente del IFE, Luis Carlos Ugalde, ha aceptado que, por inconsistencias o errores, 3 millones de votos emitidos no están cargados al PREP? ¿Por qué tendría que hacerlo si el PREP sólo le da una ventaja de 400 mil votos a Calderón?
Pero la obsesión por enterrar al odiado Peje está superando a la lógica más simple. Nunca pensé que los grupos conservadores le tuvieran tanto miedo a Andrés Manuel.
Esos fanáticos, mal disfrazados de demócratas, deberían sentarse a estudiar lo que ocurrió en Alemania hace poco. El 18 de septiembre pasado, la coalición de la Unión Democrática Cristiana y la Unión Social Cristiana, con Ángela Merkel al frente, ganó por un millón de votos la elección de los miembros del Parlamento al Partido Socialdemócrata, de Gerhard Schröeder. Pero había una controversia sobre cómo se debían repartir los escaños. Merkel y los suyos se movieron y Schröeder apeló en todas las instancias legales al alcance, antes de aceptar que había perdido y dejar su cargo de canciller el 22 de noviembre. Dos meses y cuatro días tomó dirimir la elección en la Alemania ejemplar.
Por no hablar de Al Gore, el candidato demócrata a la presidencia de Estados Unidos en el 2000. Obtuvo más votos de la gente que el republicano George Bush, pero al final, Bush ganó con los votos del Colegio Electoral: 271 a 266. La clave era el estado de Florida, que aportaría los votos decisivos en el Colegio Electoral. Bush ganó gracias a 537 personas que marcaron la diferencia en Florida. Quinientos treinta y siete sufragios en la gran democracia occidental.
Gore llevó el caso a la Suprema Corte de Justicia, que, tres semanas después de los comicios, resolvió cerrar el proceso y proclamar ganador a Bush.
No entiendo, pues, por qué nuestros fachos se enfurecen porque López Obrador pide, simplemente, que se cuenten los votos.

Que no decaiga el ánimo

Parece que la campaña de desmoralización fraguada no sé por quien no surte efecto. El Instituto Federal Electoral de México está hecho un relajo. Faltan por contar cientos de miles de votos y hay que revisar miles de discrepancias. No hay nada dicho, aunque las televisoras ya votaron y los periódicos de derecha ya alardean sus triunfos, pero no, esto apenas comienza. Con serenidad y firmeza hay que presionar para que se haga valer lo que es. Izquierda de Europa: no crean que ya se decidiò la elecciòn, para nosotros es tiempo de escribir y presionar a las autoridades mexicanas a garantizar la plena legalidad del conteo de votos. Vamos

dimarts, de juliol 04, 2006

Did We Really Lose?

By one point only, it seems we have a new president, and not the right one. The Right has done it. It succesfully managed to scare, shock and awe the bulk of the Mexican brainless Middle-Classes into thinking that only them can be a good government. The Extreme Right has come into power. I feel a bit of a combination of sadness and anger, yet, I know that Mexicans are a people that resent any sort of change. Most Mexicans then feel happy to remain a chained people. They've learned to love the masters that keep them on their knees. And therefore, if this result turns out to be valid, they will certainly have voted the kind of rulers they deserve. I'm at peace, my family and close friends are all thinking people and voted for the choice they knew would give hope. As I always do, I will regroup, put myself together and fight back. Although perhaps not here, it seems to me that Mexicans have finally shown what they are really made of. And that material is certainly not gold. Could be even less than cheap metal.

dissabte, de juliol 01, 2006

On the Eve of the Mexican General Elections

We're a few hours away from electing a new governmenty in Mexico. The campaign has been by and large dirty and pitiful. This may be the second time that the former lord of Mexico, the Revolutionary Institutional Party won't be winning it, but yet, it seems its systems has so made malfunction the whole scene of Mexican politics, that every trick and every vice has been learned by the opposite parties. In this media-dominated times, the spectacular and outrageous has been the tone used by the right wing to ingratiate itself with the masses, at the same time trying to cover up its substantial failure in delivering a good, meaningful government. There's not a lot to become enamoured with the left either, but they can be at peace that they didn't start the hating. Tomorrow it's basically going to be a battle of two big realities: the fight of the status quo for things to stay the same, that is for 20% of the country to suffocate and hate the major 80, or perhaps a ray of light for the vast majority. I feel no pride whatsoever in being Mexican. I feel deeply ashamed of how we've come to format our country. I feel, in many ways, trapped in this place. I certainly hope the Left wins tomorrow, and I hope the national state of hate will diminish so that we can become somewhat civil again. So be it.