La natación sincronizada

La obra de teatro de Mar Gómez Glez, Bajo el agua, imagina el escándalo que pasó en el mundo de la natación sincronizada española justo después de los Juegos Olímpicos de 2012.

Tres artículos y una entrevista reportan lo que pasó en realidad:

 Anna Tarrés

Una perspectiva desde dentro la comunidad deportiva

La carta que expone los insultos

Entrevista con una nadadora del equipo

La historia de la natación sincronizada en España y el sitio oficial:

La historia de la natación sincronizada

La Real Federación de la Natación

Autonomy and Anarchy

I do not mean to suggest that Catalunya is in a state of anarchy.

I do wish to remind myself that historical memory can inform politics today.

During the Civil War, an ideological conflict, the anarchists, some of whom committed anticlerical murders, were associated with the Republicans centered in Barcelona.

The central government’s decision to send in the National Guard to shut down the October 1 referendum elections, with a focus on Barcelona, reminded me that Spanish elected officials, and maybe a few citizens too, may still harbor fears of a Catalan uprising.

I do not believe the October 1 referendum elections amounted to an uprising and the Catalans who chose to leave their homes to vote did not deserve the forceful shutdown of the elections they endured. Did the Catalans have the right to vote on the referendum? Maybe not. But what good did it do to disrupt the process by force?

The central government’s decision to unleash the National Guard on Barcelona’s voters served the public relations function of making it appear that the referendum voters were staging a dangerous revolt. Hence old perceptions of Catalans as anarchists may have been inflamed.

The President of Catalunya, who never declared independence, has refused to rescind his independence movement. Madrid has used Article 55 of Spain’s constitution to seize control of Catalunya’s government including the Catalan police (Mossos d’Escuadra) which group, it is judged, colluded with the separatists by not supporting the National Guards’ use of force.

The upshot is that Catalunya is no longer an autonomous community. The formation of autonomous communities in 1978, nineteen in all, was a major step in Spain’s transition to democracy. Each “autonomía” has a parliament from which a president is named.

Without autonomy, Catalunya will not fall into anarchy. But it will be difficult for Madrid to call regional elections from outside Catalunya and ensure that the majority of seats points to a leader not for independence. In other words, I do not how fair the electoral process will be from inside or outside Catalunya.

If Madrid appoints a president it risks further painting Catalunya as a region of anarchists. This perception could have far-reaching consequences for Catalunya’s image in Spain and in the world.

If the Catalans were anarchists, they would not generate 18.9% of Spain’s GDP (Catalunya’s economy is roughly the size of Finland’s).

Who will compromise?

President Rajoy’s position is inflexible. He will invoke Article 155 of Spain’s constitution to take over Catalunya should it declare its independence. He may even arrest pro-independence Catalan leaders.

King Felipe seems intractable as well. As my students and I concluded from his speech in which he did not mention the violent force used by the Guardia Civil to prevent voting on October 1, the king calls for unity but does not offer mediation or dialogue at this time.

The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Calau, has requested mediation to no avail.

The president of Catalunya, Carles Puigdemont, who has also been asking for mediation after his early announcement last week that he would call for Catalunya to separate from Spain this week, is set to speak to the Catalan parlament October 10.

I believe any viable compromise will come first from Puigdemont, and I do hope that he provides an opening for dialogue, by not unilaterally declaring independence.

This term, “unilaterally,” which appears widely in the news covering the story of Catalunya, can be interpreted and contested differently.

I believe the referendum vote was invalid because it was disrupted.

Spain’s central government believes it was illegal from the outset, and therefore unconstitutional.

So “unilaterally” means that Puigdemont might declare independence without a voter or legal base for doing so.

Where is the king?

Spain is a parliamentary monarchy and a socialist state despite the conservative party now in power. Mind you the conservative party never did win the majority of seats during two national elections.

The only political strategy I can imagine for the Civil Guard’s actions in Barcelona on October first – and this is no justification – is that Madrid’s government wishes to cause such disruption during voting that the referendum results cannot be called valid in the end. Again, means do not justify the end in this case.

And where is the king? His voice is noticeably absent during the police state operations in Catalunya.

After two national elections failed to determine a majority of seats in parliament, leaving Spain with uncertain leadership, the king carefully negotiated continuity and parliament agreed that the current president should remain the president of Spain.

I wonder how the king reflects upon this president’s, and his conservative party’s, extreme measures to disrupt the referendum vote in Catalunya.

And we are back to the question of democracy. Madrid holds that the Catalan referendum is not democratic because it is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Catalunya holds that any ballot process for its sovereignty is democratic.

Do the majority of voting Catalans wish to be a Republic? We will not know the answer based on this vote because the chaos brought on by the police intervention has been great (Madrid blames the Generalitat for forging ahead when told to stop).

Remember that Catalunya was a major stakeholder in Spain’s Second Republic, 1931-1936, and defended this Republic during the Civil War, 1936-1939. Historical memory does play a role in how citizens approach questions of identity, even ninety years later.

Catalunya lost the Civil War, then its identity was repressed and obscured during thirty six years of dictatorship. It became an autonomy, as did other regions in Spain, when the king’s father guided the Spanish transition to democracy, 1975-1982.

What will the king say about October 1, 2017? I am waiting on his word.

La jornada de reflexión

A student asked me, are you worried? I said, no, there will be no violence.

Spain’s central government has made a tactical error in calling in the Civil Guard to prevent voting on the independence referendum October 1.

The polls are located in schools where children are staying overnight with their parents to ensure that the polls stay open. Madrid has ordered the Catalan police to close the polls without force. I do not believe there will be violence against the families camped out at the polls.

Yet pro-Spain vandals have destroyed at least one poll, and painted nationalist graffiti on the place to call for unity.

What is nationalism? It is a narrow definition of who belongs and who does not. This is what makes me worry, and not just for Spain.

The referendum vote is illegal because Spain’s constitution prohibits the separation of the country’s seventeen autonomous communities. They are called autonomous communities, or “autonomías, to respect each autonomony’s identity(ies), whether cultural or economic. This policy of pluralism is the glue that holds Spain together.

Calls for unity are tricky in this context. Yes, Spain is united but it is also diverse. It is also democratic.

Pro-independence Catalans shout that Madrid does not respect democracy.

I believe Madrid does respect democracy, especially the king, but sending security forces is not the wisest strategy in my view.

Let the Catalans vote yes on referendum, then take legal steps to prevent the secession on the grounds that it is anticonstitutional.

Closing polls with children on site will not further Madrid’s position or aid reconciliation between Madrid and Catalunya.

Besides, in Spain the day before elections is a day to reflect on the vote and its issues. All propagandizing must halt, by law. Protests and police on the streets are not a day of reflection.

Sacromonte (Zarah G.)

UntitledSacromonte es un barrio de la ciudad de Granada que es el hogar de la comunidad gitana. Las casas de los gitanos están construidas en cuevas excavadas en la roca blanda de la ladera. Sacromonte atrae turistas por su cultura gitana y la música y el baile flamenco. La Zambra Cueva del Roció es un lugar donde te puedes ver los espectáculos mejores de flamenco. Además, El Centro de Interpretación del Sacromonte, es un museo que explica la geología y el ambiente de los gitanos y cómo viven. Te puedes llegar a Sacromonte desde el centro de Granada y caminar por la Carrera del Darro hasta la Cuesta del Chapiz donde te caminas la cuesta y a la derecha está el Camino de Sacromonte. Aunque es un poco de un ejercicio para llegar al barrio, Sacromonte es un lugar donde se puede ver los más bonitos anocheceres de Granada.

Puertochico (Sonia S.)

El barrio de Puertochico se ubica en la ciudad de Santander en la autonomía de Cantabria que se ubica en el área norteña de España. El barrio de Puertochico es formado principalmente por la plaza de Puertochico. El barrio está en proximidad con la dársena de Puertochico y por esa razón recibe su nombre. El barrio fue la última sede de los raqueros o ladrones de barco, que desaparecieron al principio de la Guerra Civil de España. Puertochico siempre ha tenido una gran población de pescadores. Hay varios restaurantes de calidad que sirven platos de mariscos frescos. Los tres mejores restaurantes según Trip Advisor son: El Pantalan, Los Raqueros, y Heladeria via Mazzini. Las tres atracciones más populares son: Plaza Pombo, Turybike y Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria. Puedes tomar transporte público o caminar a pie por la ciudad para llegar a las atracciones y restaurantes. Visiten a Puertochico!

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El centro (Shelby D.)

UntitledSi quieres visitar un barrio con mucha historia diversa, el centro histórico de Córdoba es para ti. Fue una ciudad de muchos gobiernos diferentes, los más llamativos fueron los romanos, los musulmanes, y los cristianos. Hay muchos monumentos para visitar que preservan la historia de esta ciudad. Uno es la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba que es una mezcla de historia de los romanos, musulmanes y cristianos en un lugar. También hay una judería que tiene una de las pocas sinagogas que existen en España hoy. Y si quieres ver algo muy antiguo, hay el Puente Romano que fue construido en el Siglo 1 d.C. No te preocupes por llegar en Córdoba, hay muchas opciones. Puedes caminar las calles y ver toda la ciudad, o puedes tomar el autobús que conduce de las 6:00 de la mañana a las 11:30 de la noche. Por supuesto, siempre puedes tomar un taxi también.