viernes, julio 29, 2005

Las horas y los días

"There’ s a word in Spanish, I suppose you know. I wonder if it’s any longer in use. Instead of saying ‘to wake up’, you say recordarse, that is, to record yourself, to remember yourself. My mother used to say Que me recuerde a las ocho. ‘I want to be recorded to myself at eight.’ Every morning I get that feeling because I am more or less nonexistent. Then when I wake up, I always feel I’m being let down. Because, well, here I am. Here’s the same old stupid game going on. I have to be somebody. I have to be exactly that somebody. I have certain commitments. One of the commitments is to live through the whole day. Then I see all that routine before me, and all thing naturally make me tired. Of course when you’re young, you don’t fell that way. You feel, well, I am so glad I’m back in this marvellous world. But I don’t think I ever felt that way. Even when I was young. Especially when I was young. Now I have resignation. Now I wake up and I say: I have to face another day. I let it go at that."

Borges

jueves, julio 28, 2005

Tirar a matar

La ejecución de Jean Charles Menezes, el electricista brasileño que residía desde hace tres años en Londres, y la abierta aceptación de la policía londinense de que tirará a matar en caso de que haya sospechas de que un hombre o una mujer es, realmente, un o una suicida que se dispone a detonar una bomba, nos deja ver la densidad moral de Inglaterra y de los llamadas países occidentales.

Si bien ha habido un amplio debate sobre el tema, el punto ha sido reafirmado una y otra vez: la fuerzas del orden tienen todo el derecho para actuar en franca violación de los derechos humanos, si está en riesgo la vida de otras y de otros.

El argumento, si bien inmoral, parece ser convincente para la población, más del 65% lo ha aprobado en las encuestas de la BBC. En un tono jactancioso, algunos reporteros y algunas reporteras han preguntado, a personajes que han criticado la medida, cosas como ésta: si alguien viene corriendo hacia usted y quizás oculta entre sus ropas una bomba, ¿no debe la policía disparar? (Se entiende que, a la usanza israelita, debe disparar a la cabeza y hacer estallar el cerebro para impedir que el cuerpo responda, que un solo dedo pueda tener fuerza para jalar un cordón y activar una bomba). La respuesta, generalmente, ha sido sí, debe de disparar, pero sólo como última medida y en caso de que haya justificada sospecha. El problema, como se ve, no tiene solución. ¿Qué es justificada sospecha?

Se dijo, en busca de tal justificación, que Menezes no respondió a las indicaciones de la policía, que saltó los torniquetes del metro y que portaba un abrigo inusual para verano. No sólo eso, la inmediata reacción del jefe de la policía fue engreída y peligrosa, afirmó que esto era una indicación de que se debían obedecer las ordenes de la policía. A la mejor costumbre de las formas de poder, el jefe nos amenazó por imprudentes. Sin embargo, poco a poco se han ido aclarando las cosas: no hay ninguna prueba de que Menezes haya saltado los torniquetes, el abrigo inusual parece ser una chamarra de mezclilla, -y permítanme añadir algo, ese día, el 22 de julio, yo tenía frío y lamente, toda la mañana, haber traído puesta sólo una chamarra de mezclilla-. Pero quizás lo mas importante, la supuesta desobediencia a las ordenes de la policía, es lo mas complejo. Se dice que a Menezes lo seguían desde que salió de su apartamento y que se le permitió tomar el camión de la ruta 2, ¿por qué? Más aun, los policías que lo vigilaban, como muchos de los cuerpos policíacos que patrullan Londres recientemente, no portaban uniforme; así que especulemos: si yo me doy cuenta de que me siguen varios hombres y de pronto me gritan que me detenga, diciendo que son policías, es muy probable que eche a correr y que busque un lugar público de refugio, por ejemplo, el metro. Ahora, que yo siga corriendo, que me suba a un vagón y que en ese momento me den 7 tiros en la cabeza y uno en el hombro, es algo que no parece seguirse de una “presunta sospecha justificada” de tan larga duración.

Habrá que esperar que concluya la investigación que se hace de forma independiente, pero el problema de fondo no se resolverá. Con suerte, la policía no tendrá que volver a poner su sagacidad a prueba; pero no, es algo que hace a diario, en las redadas que se vuelven cotidianas y, seguramente, en las aprensiones violentas que están por venir. En este contexto, sostener la orden de tirar a matar frente a un sospechoso o sospechosa sólo parece que seguirá abriendo la escalada de muerte y terror en la que puede sumergirse por varias décadas Inglaterra.

miércoles, julio 27, 2005

La guerra en Irak



En Abu Ghraibm, foto publicada el 21 de mayo de 2004.

martes, julio 26, 2005

Fear in the city

No sé, exactamente, qué pasa en Irak y en otras ciudades donde la Guerra se desarrolla. Empiezo a entender algunas cosas ahora que estoy en Londres, pocas, seguramente pocas.

En medio de tales cosas, no dejo de ser un admirador del carácter ingles, de ese humus jovial que siempre aparece. Por ejemplo, ayer me iba a la universidad cuando mi pareja me alcanzo a decir, No te tomas un café conmigo. Me senté con ella y de pronto se me ocurrió decir, Quizá por tomar este café me toque bomba. Sólo contesto, Quizá te hubiera tocado si no te quedas a tomar café.

Borges decía de ellos y ellas que comienzan por evitar las confesiones y terminan por eliminar el diálogo. Es cierto, pero tienen modos de recomponer tan desastroso comportamiento. Va el inicio y el final de un texto de Tim Dowling y algunas opiniones de quienes viven aquí.

"I can pretty well pinpoint the moment when my own spirit of defiance started to fade. It was on Saturday morning. I was with the dog in the park opposite our house, chatting to a woman with a boxer while watching two uniformed policeman comb the undergrowth. It's not unusual to see police in Little Wormwood Scrubs; the place has of late become something of a centre of excellence for delinquents. It is unusual, however, to be ordered to leave the area by a plainclothes officer citing the presence of a suspicious device. It is strange to watch the whole park being festooned in police tape, to see cops with machine-guns and earpieces standing on the corner. A huge security cordon was thrown up, with our house inside it.

[...]

On Sunday morning, we were woken by the muffled crump of a controlled explosion. Although the bomb has been taken away, as I write this the police are still here and the park is still closed. I don't know whether I want them to stay or not. For the moment I live in unprecedented safety - a veritable gated community - but I must admit I'm now afraid; afraid that another attack is imminent, afraid of the idea of 3,000 armed police on the streets, afraid that London will never quite be the same again, afraid that my children will find out how afraid I am (don't worry, they'll never read this far). Carrying on as normal seems less politically freighted than it did two weeks ago, not least because it's no longer really possible, but you can't say that the terrorists have won just because the cops won't let the postman deliver my Amazon order.

The Guardian


I haven't been into London since it happened. I'm not going to for two years. That's enough time for it to calm down.
Rodney Odai, 17, sports science student

My great aunt - with whom I never speak - called me from up north. She said, "Is everyone in the family still alive?" I said, "Yes". She said, "Grand", and put the phone down.
Lisa Morgan, 31, legal secretary

I'm a cyclist and the roads are a lot more crowded. The traffic's gone a bit mad. A friend of mine owns a bike shop and he's advertising bikes on Thursday and they're gone by Friday.
Alex Constantina, 42, carpenter and joiner

An Indian friend of mine - English, but Indian parentage - always carries a rucksack and won't use the tube now. He says it's been the first time in years he's felt really aware of his colour.
Pippa Leech, social worker

This morning I travelled from Waterloo to Canary Wharf in the rush hour with 10 days' worth of clothes in a large rucksack. Nobody gave me a funny look or asked to search my bag, but I felt very self-conscious. I didn't do what I would normally do on the tube - abandon my bag at the end of the line of seats and sit in the nearest free one. Instead, I stood up for the five stops in order not to cause panicky "Whose bag is this?" type questions - and to avoid summary execution. I also find myself doing that awful bien-pensant thing of smiling reassuringly at all head-scarfed Muslims, so they know I don't blame them, extending the patronising white woman's hand of friendship across the racial and religious divide. Or something.
Grace Drummond, 30, doctor

I'm getting buses not tubes when travelling alone, getting cabs if I'm in a group and regularly - almost too regularly - checking the news. And I'm feeling irrational anger with people who I feel aren't playing by the rules - playing music loudly out of car stereos, shouting in the street and generally being a non-specific nuisance.
Alan, actor

I won't go in the front carriage of a tube train.
Lisa McEvoy, 42

I'm doing my best to carry on exactly as before. From what I've seen of people's reactions within London, they are the ones who are most determined to carry on as normal, whereas those who live outside London are the ones who are most concerned - so, ironically, those most directly affected are the most resilient, while those furthest away seem to be most fearful. But that's typical of all such scenarios - my brother spent five years living in Jerusalem with little fear of attacks, while all those outside the country assume it is a 24 hour warzone.
Adam Hoffman, 31, investment banker

I went shopping in yucky Brent Cross rather than Oxford Street today. I want my husband to leave in the morning so he's at work by 8.30, whereas before I'd want him to see the baby more in the morning as she's in bed when he gets home.
Emily Smith, 38, teacher

My housemate got off a train at London Bridge and took a cab home last week as there was someone acting strangely in his carriage. He was furious with himself, but what can you do?
Tom James

This morning, I found myself walking on the inside of the pavement rather than on the roadside edge, to put some distance between myself and the buses. How ridiculous is that?
Jennifer Stone, 30, stylist

· Interviews by Lucy Mangan

sábado, julio 23, 2005

La guerra en Irak

* 24, 865 civiles muertos, lo que equivale al 0.1% de la población
* Se sabe que los “ejércitos de liberación” asesinaron a 9,270 personas, las fuerzas anti-ocupación a 2,353 y criminales comunes a 8,935.
* Casi 10% de los muertos eran menores de 18 años, esto es, más de 2,400 eran niños, niñas, adolescentes y muchachas.
* Otra 10% de la población eran mujeres.
* 42,500 civiles han sufrido heridas, de ellos y ellas, 6%, esto es, cerca de 2,550, son niños y bebes.

Daños



7 de julio de 2005. Un jueves, en Londres. La prensa inglesa dice que fueron asesinadas 52 personas, cierto. Pero no menos cierto es que esa mañana murieron 56 hombres y mujeres. Los 4 suicidas también murieron.

Perdido en Londres

Fragmento de un texto de Ros Coward publicado el 23 de julio en
The Guardian

"Stockwell station is somewhere I go a lot. My family use it all the time too. It's not somewhere I particularly like; it's always a bit edgy. There was an armed bank robbery a few years ago and drug dealers hang around late at night. But edgy is different from what happened yesterday when heavily armed police chased a man on to the tube there and shot him dead in front of terrified passengers. According to witnesses there was blind panic and passengers emerged from the station crying and shaking. The local vet's, better known for its sensitive treatment of bereaved pet owners, was commandeered for witnesses of a suspected suicide bomber. Surreal was the word someone used and that's what London now feels like to me.

[..]

Accounts of the Oval incident describe three passengers struggling with a man with a rucksack while a woman standing next to them hugged a baby and sobbed. On Thursday, at the time of the incidents, I saw for myself streets full with parties of schoolchildren and tourists. Should politicians really be telling people like these to come into London to "enjoy themselves", knowing they are dealing with terrorists whose only concern appears to be the numbers of casualties they can cause? Closer to home, should I really encourage my daughter to travel on the tube as if everything is "normal"?

Perhaps taking decisions to continue as normal would be easier if the justifications for doing so were more palatable. But, as with 9/11, I feel conscripted to a bizarre war where I don't know what my enemy wants but I'm told it's my moral duty to defend western consumerism by defiantly riding the underground. Perhaps I would feel easier if political leaders were prepared to do the same. Perhaps if more than just Ken Livingstone were back in London using the tube and "enjoying this great city" the rest of us would feel reassured. In the meantime I view these as exceptional times and have just texted my daughter suggesting she walks home from school."

viernes, julio 22, 2005

En el nombre de...

Difícil permanecer lejos de las formas de comunicación que acompañan la guerra, una de ellas, la red. Y aunque sus riesgos son evidentes, -languidez, frivolidad y nostalgias humanistas y revolucionarias-, no parece haber más remedio que ceder. Se trata de una antinomia perfecta: comunicar, (ese eufemismo de la permanencia al lado de otros y otras), mata y, sin embargo, es la única forma de sobrevivir.