Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Zombies And Some Stories From 2017

Spain's government has faced some difficult issues this year, none more so than one beginning with C. But things could have been very much more difficult for the government (and for most of us), had there been an attack by zombies. The possibility of such an attack and the defence against it was raised in the Senate by one Carles Mulet of the Compromís party in Valencia.

Carles wanted to know what plans there were for a zombie apocalypse. The government wasn't able to provide a swift response. It needed, among other things, to consult the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. According to the dictionary, zombies are "people who are supposed to be dead and are revived by the art of witchcraft in order to dominate their will". Given this definition, the government concluded that there was "doubtful probability of such a circumstance arising".

Carles wasn't overly impressed, but it seemed as if he hadn't really believed Spain was in imminent danger of a zombie attack. He was using it all as a metaphor. Hence: "The government has no plan of action for the zombie apocalypse. Its answer can be interpreted as meaning that the government itself is a zombie apocalypse, a human catastrophe brought about by stupefied and automaton people."

The relocation of Es Trenc

The Balearic government, meantime, was finally completing its legislation for the Es Trenc Nature Park. After many months of delay and endless arguments, the legislation was about to be published on the Official Bulletin when someone spotted an error in the nick of time.

This was just as well. Once on the Official Bulletin, things are official and it takes a lot to make them unofficial. In the case of the nature park, had the mistake not been noticed, Kenya and Ethiopia would now be able to boast having the park. The latitudes and longitudes for the park, as noted in the legislation, were wrong - by some several thousand kilometres.

Some might have in fact thought the park or at least Es Trenc beach had indeed been relocated. The promised chiringuitos, to replace the demolished ones, never appeared, while the sunloungers took an age to see the light of midsummer.

Hunt the tourist
There was a spot of anti-tourism agitation knocking around during the summer, but one of the last places that such sentiment might have been expected to have emerged was Esporles. It doesn't really have vast numbers of tourists. Still, this didn't prevent them coming up with a new game for their "jocs tradicionals" (traditional games) that are played during the summer fiestas.

This was "hunt the guiri", as in foreign tourist. It wasn't xenophobic, the organising committee insisted, just a spot of humour with an ironic touch that took "massification" and holiday rentals as its themes. No offence was meant and none was taken, probably because there weren't any tourists.

Kelvin MacKenzie
Even The Sun decided that enough was enough. Its one-time editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, was sacked because he compared footballer Ross Barkley to a gorilla. Shortly before this (it was something to do with Gibraltar) he had hoped the UK would say goodbye to all Spaniards living in the UK, that there would be a holiday boycott of Spain, that a special tax could be place on Rioja and that the state visit by King Felipe would be ruined. No sense of xenophobia there, then.

The CIA files
Declassified CIA files revealed that Joan March, Franco's banker, had been involved with the sale of Jewish assets. Michael Olian, who was a contrabandist like March, sold the assets of French Jews at reduced prices through an agreement with a Swiss bank in Madrid. Joan March was a beneficiary of this. The CIA had wanted to arrest March but was unable to as Spain was, in their words, "supposedly neutral" and because obstacles were placed in front of American intelligence by "our diplomats".

The files also pointed to Mallorca having been the focus for what in 1947 was felt might have been the imminent resurgence of the Nazi Party.

Josep Ferragut
Josep Ferragut's name crops up quite regularly nowadays, even though he died in 1968. He was the architect responsible, among other things, for the Gesa building in Palma and the Glass Church in Playa de Palma. In June there was a premiere at Bellver Castle for a documentary on his life and death.

Ferragut was a homosexual. He was bludgeoned to death by two men (supposedly rent boys) and his body left on the Bunyola road, a few kilometres from Palma. The two were arrested, held in custody and then released some eighteen months later. The case never went to court.

The truth about his murder will probably never be known. Was he murdered by two male prostitutes or had there been other motives? Ferragut was outspoken against corruption. His ethics frustrated building developments. He referred to "barbarities", such as ones in Puerto Pollensa. He had plenty of enemies.

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