dimecres, de novembre 28, 2007

Novetats, de bones i dolentes

Sens dubte, el dia 22 de novembre va ser un dia molt especial en la meva vida professional. L'exposició que vaig co-curar, "Moda, modo, mirada...", sembla que va ser un èxit, al menys les reaccions del públic van ser força positives, i la directora del museo es troba molt contenta, gairebé eufòrica amb els resultats, a veure si dura tant bon rotllo! Malauradament no vaig poder tancar la nit amb una celebració, llevat que un dels meus amics va tenir un problema amb el servei del valet pàrking i doncs no va poder ser. Estic molt content, i perquè no dir-ho com cal, orgullós... La vida sempre ve plena d'elements de felicitat, i d'elements de tristor, o tot depén de l'estat mental amb que en pensi. Ahir ens van contar que el nostre director i mestre de la coral pateix de càncer gàstric. Uf, va ser com rebre un cop nosaltres mateixos. No tinc una relació personal amb el mestre, però passats quatre anys d'ençà que el vaig conèixer, certament hi ha un llaç i un vincle amb ell. I de debò que em preocupo per la seva salud i espero i desitjo que tot vagi bé, ans també sé que patir una malaltia d'aquest tipus és un viatge que podria acabar amb la vida, però espero que no. Caldrà donar tot el suport que calgui al mestre.

dimarts, de novembre 20, 2007

When will the US and the UK tell the truth about Israeli weapons?

The Middle East has had a secretive nuclear power in its midst for years

When will the US and the UK tell the truth about Israeli weapons? Iran isn't starting an atomic arms race, it's joining one

George Monbiot
Tuesday November 20, 2007
The Guardian

George Bush and Gordon Brown are right: there should be no nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The risk of a nuclear conflagration could be greater there than anywhere else. Any nation developing them should expect a firm diplomatic response. So when will they impose sanctions on Israel?

Like them, I believe that Iran is trying to acquire the bomb. I also believe it should be discouraged, by a combination of economic pressure and bribery, from doing so (a military response would, of course, be disastrous). I believe that Bush and Brown - who maintain their nuclear arsenals in defiance of the non-proliferation treaty - are in no position to lecture anyone else. But if, as Bush claims, the proliferation of such weapons "would be a dangerous threat to world peace", why does neither man mention the fact that Israel, according to a secret briefing by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, possesses between 60 and 80 of them?

Officially, the Israeli government maintains a position of "nuclear ambiguity": neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons. But everyone who has studied the issue knows that this is a formula with a simple purpose: to give the United States an excuse to keep breaking its own laws, which forbid it to grant aid to a country with unauthorised weapons of mass destruction. The fiction of ambiguity is fiercely guarded. In 1986, when the nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu handed photographs of Israel's bomb factory to the Sunday Times, he was lured from Britain to Rome, drugged and kidnapped by Mossad agents, tried in secret, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He served 12 of them in solitary confinement and was banged up again - for six months - soon after he was released.

However, in December last year, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, accidentally let slip that Israel, like "America, France and Russia", had nuclear weapons. Opposition politicians were furious. They attacked Olmert for "a lack of caution bordering on irresponsibility". But US aid continues to flow without impediment.

As the fascinating papers released last year by the National Security Archive show, the US government was aware in 1968 that Israel was developing a nuclear device (what it didn't know is that the first one had already been built by then). The contrast to the efforts now being made to prevent Iran from acquiring the bomb could scarcely be starker.

At first, US diplomats urged Washington to make its sale of 50 F4 Phantom jets conditional on Israel's abandonment of its nuclear programme. As a note sent from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to the secretary of state in October 1968 reveals, the order would make the US "the principal supplier of Israel's military needs" for the first time. In return, it should require "commitments that would make it more difficult for Israel to take the critical decision to go nuclear". Such pressure, the memo suggested, was urgently required: France had just delivered the first of a consignment of medium range missiles, and Israel intended to equip them with nuclear warheads.

Twenty days later, on November 4 1968, when the assistant defence secretary met Yitzhak Rabin (then the Israeli ambassador to Washington), Rabin "did not dispute in any way our information on Israel's nuclear or missile capability". He simply refused to discuss it. Four days after that, Rabin announced that the proposal was "completely unacceptable to us". On November 27, Lyndon Johnson's administration accepted Israel's assurance that "it will not be the first power in the Middle East to introduce nuclear weapons".

As the memos show, US officials knew that this assurance had been broken even before it was made. A record of a phone conversation between Henry Kissinger and another official in July 1969 reveals that Richard Nixon was "very leery of cutting off the Phantoms", despite Israel's blatant disregard of the agreement. The deal went ahead, and from then on the US administration sought to bamboozle its own officials in order to defend Israel's lie. In August 1969, US officials were sent to "inspect" Israel's Dimona nuclear plant. But a memo from the state department reveals that "the US government is not prepared to support a 'real' inspection effort in which the team members can feel authorised to ask directly pertinent questions and/or insist on being allowed to look at records, logs, materials and the like. The team has in many subtle ways been cautioned to avoid controversy, 'be gentlemen' and not take issue with the obvious will of the hosts".

Nixon refused to pass the minutes of the conversation he'd had with the Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, to the US ambassador to Israel, Wally Barbour. Meir and Nixon appear to have agreed that the Israeli programme could go ahead, as long as it was kept secret.

The US government has continued to protect it. Every six months, the intelligence agencies provide Congress with a report on technology acquired by foreign states that's "useful for the development or production of weapons of mass destruction". These reports discuss the programmes in India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran and other nations, but not in Israel. Whenever other states have tried to press Israel to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the US and European governments have blocked them. Israel has also exempted itself from the biological and chemical weapons conventions.

By refusing to sign these treaties, Israel ensures it needs never be inspected. While the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspectors crawl round Iran's factories, put seals on its uranium tanks and blow the whistle when it fails to cooperate, they have no legal authority to inspect facilities in Israel. So when the Israeli government complains, as it did last week, that the head of the IAEA is "sticking his head in the sand over Iran's nuclear programme", you can only gape at its chutzpah. Israel is constantly racking up the pressure for action against Iran, aware that no powerful state will press for action against Israel.

Yes, Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dangerous and unpredictable state involved in acts of terror abroad. The president is a Holocaust denier opposed to the existence of Israel. During the Iran-Iraq war, Iran responded to Saddam Hussein's toxic bombardments with chemical weapons of its own. But Israel under Olmert is also a dangerous and unpredictable state involved in acts of terror abroad. Two months ago it bombed a site in Syria (whose function is fiercely disputed). Last year, it launched a war of aggression against Lebanon. It remains in occupation of Palestinian lands. In February 2001, according to the BBC, it used chemical weapons in Gaza: 180 people were admitted to hospital with severe convulsions. Nuclear weapons in Israel's hands are surely just as dangerous as nuclear weapons in Iran's.

So when will our governments speak up? When will they acknowledge that there is already a nuclear power in the Middle East, and that it presents an existential threat to its neighbours? When will they admit that Iran is not starting a nuclear arms race, but joining one? When will they demand that the rules they impose on Iran should also apply to Israel?



Judici Jaume i Enric. Suport a ambdós!


dilluns, de novembre 19, 2007

The Intense Year

I'm nervous, all the anticipation has got me adrenalyzed. On the 22nd we'll have the great opening of the exhibition I co-curated at the Museum. It's been a daunting task because putting together a great show about art and fashion has proven to be more difficult than how we had originally thought, especially with the very little money we were given and the whimsical changes we were ordered by the big boss. It'll be the most important thing I had done, professionally speaking, and hopefully will be the beginning of many interesting curatorships by yours truly in the future. It's been a very full year, with some lows but also some remarkably very high highs. I have a lot of stress ahead also, for the semester is coming to an end, and there's papers to be written and submitted to the tutors, and all that. There's also a couple of other important choices I need to be clear about, and very soon, and that will take time. On the mean time, I shall decisively celebrate this small huge thing; my first exhibition. Gosh, the things one does for attention!

dilluns, de novembre 12, 2007

Moda, modo, mirada. El atuendo en el arte y en el cuerpo

El rey está nervioso

La Jornada

El rey está nervioso

El incidente protagonizado ayer en la clausura de la 17 Cumbre Iberoamericana por el rey Juan Carlos I y el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, es reflejo fiel de la relación imperante entre el régimen español y algunos gobiernos latinoamericanos cuya visión se aleja cada vez más del antiguo centro colonial.

La insólita salida de tono de Juan Carlos, mandando callar a Chávez, dio el tono a una reunión en la cual, por primera vez en esas encerronas de altos vuelos, los empresarios españoles fueron objeto de duras críticas de los gobernantes de Argentina, Venezuela y Nicaragua.

El colofón, ayer, fue la reiteración de los calificativos que Chávez endosó el viernes al ex presidente español José María Aznar; “fascista”, lo llamó, tras decir que era el encargado de vender el discurso de Washington. También recordó el apoyo que el empresariado hispano dio al fallido golpe de Estado perpetrado en 2002 contra el gobierno de Caracas.

Cierto es que el presidente venezolano interrumpió a su homólogo español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, cuando éste defendía la honorabilidad de Aznar argumentando que “no es aceptable” que en un foro democrático hubiera descalificaciones a personas que gobernaron como fruto de la voluntad popular.

Pero de ahí a que el rey español, en un foro democrático, mande callar a alguien, hay, cuando menos, un pequeño abismo conceptual. Es entendible que el monarca hispano tenga últimamente sus nervios en estado de alta tensión. Allá en su país les dio recientemente por quemar retratos de él, e incluso se hizo mundialmente famosa una caricatura del semanario El Jueves donde aparecían su hijo y príncipe heredero Felipe con su esposa Letizia en un acto sexual. El cartón, muy discutible, fue hecho célebre por la respuesta de celosos jueces que cerraron filas en defensa de la inmaculada corona, queriendo dar a entender que la realeza es una divinidad encarnada con la que nadie puede meterse.

De manera que el estado de nervios del rey se plasmó ayer en Santiago de Chile, en un país que como España vivió en carne propia los estragos de una dictadura. Y con un gesto antidemocrático, Juan Carlos I puso una pica en Flandes y envió el mensaje de que no se aceptará, al menos por parte de la corona española, que sus antiguos súbditos cuestionen a ex gobernantes y empresarios de aquel ultramarino reino.

Que Chávez tilde de fascista a Aznar no debe sorprender a nadie mínimamente informado sobre los dichos injerencistas del líder ultraderechista español. Y en efecto, que muchos españoles crean en él y voten por la opción política que representa, pues es un asunto muy de ellos. Pero que Rodríguez Zapatero diga que con ello se ofende al pueblo español…

Mayor fue el desprecio –¿democrático?– que Aznar mostró hacia millones de sus paisanos que en las calles dijeron no a la intervención del trío de las Azores (Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña y España) en Irak, agresión ilegal, contraria a derecho, antidemocrática y, ¿por qué no?, fascista. Y ello no quiere decir que esos pueblos sean fascistas, en absoluto.

Aznar, cabeza visible de la democracia intolerante, y defendido ayer por el socialista Rodríguez Zapatero, sigue poniendo en jaque al estado de derecho español con su máxima fijación: que la voladura de trenes en Madrid del 11 de marzo de 2004 fue maquinación de ETA. Los jueces ya han dicho que no, que los etarras nada tienen que ver.

Aznar perdió las elecciones por mentiroso, por tratar de vender a su pueblo, cuatro días antes de las elecciones de 2004, que ETA era autora del criminal atentado. Y también defendió esos días y noches su nefasta alianza con Washington y Londres. Todo era una mentira. La mitad de sus compatriotas no le creyeron. Y perdió el poder.

No le correspondía a Juan Carlos I callar a nadie. A menos que quiera demostrar que en esas cumbres se hace lo que él ordena. Tal vez está cansado, y nervioso, porque en su paíscrece imparable un estado de opinión que cuestiona todo, incluyendo la vigencia de la monarquía.

Tal vez el problema estriba en que siendo que en España no dice, o no se atreve, a decir lo que realmente siente, cuando viene a sus antiguos territorios aprovecha para dictar una cátedra tan obsoleta como la misma monarquía.

Ojalá el monarca y Rodríguez Zapatero entiendan de una vez por todas que deben hablar de igual a igual hasta con los que se expresan, según ellos, en términos “políticamente incorrectos”. Máxime si se tiene en cuenta que algunos empresarios españoles, apoyados silenciosamente por su gobierno, alientan asonadas como la de Venezuela. Y sin olvidar el trato humillante que regularmente reciben los emigrantes latinoamericanos que recalan en la península ibérica. De ahí también el reclamo del presidente de Ecuador por la brutal agresión xenófoba sufrida por una conciudadana en el Metro de Barcelona. Claro, su homólogo colombiano Álvaro Uribe nada dijo de la golpiza que días después le propinaron en Madrid a un emigrante colombiano.

¿Estará de más exigir que Juan Carlos I de España y Rodríguez Zapatero, con todo y su talante, entiendan y asuman que la democracia es para todos y en toda su expresión?

diumenge, de novembre 11, 2007

Corruption, climate change and plain bad luck: Tabasco

It seems we have to get used to it. To suddenly have the whole country in dispair because neglect, and the climate circumstances currently going on have left a million Mexicans with no home, or with a flooded one or both, and with no immediate source of income or insurance or anything of the sort. Also, as always we have to deal with a State corrupted to the bone, with governments coming and going, but with public servants uncapable of looking beyond their tenure and plan ahead. We've had dozens of Tabascos, and surely more are waiting to be listed. We have lists of tragedies, thousands of dead. And at least half of the country still acts like there's nothing going on. Let's see, we've had earthquakes, explotions, floods, hurricanes, guerrillas and everything in between. What's next? more rounds of the former and perhaps enhanced forms of the latter. But as always, we'll carry on. Civil servants will come and go. And then there'll be no more worrying. Living for the moment. Who cares if we lose everything in the future.

divendres, de novembre 02, 2007

Feliç dia de morts!

En arribar a casa m'ha commogut força l'altar de morts que la meva cosina ha montat. Senzill, però ple del simbolisme que es necessita tenir en dits altars. La nostra celebració és molt bonica. Crec que és una de les característiques més positives de la cultura mexicana, la qual cosa probablement ens fa tenir una relació creativa amb el fet de la mort, tot i que també continuem l'esencialisme i l'esperit de la gent morta, tot i que potser no hauríem d'estar tan agafats a la gent que ja no hi és. De qualsevol manera, em trobo content recordant als meus morts, als meus avantpassats i gent que recordo amb nostàlgia. Que tots estiguin bé, tant de bo que siguin feliços, o si ja han renascut, que hagin trobat una bona conciència per fer-ho.