Category: critical awareness


I guess we all have years that sort of push us, that get us to the verge of not knowing where to start and where to end. This will be one of these years for me. I know it.

2016 is the logical consequence of 2015, and even though the past year brought me so many many good things, it also brought with it a lot of things and insights that have overshadowed this young year. The facts are all known. And hence, the remedy is at hand too. However, I need a break from all of what surrounds me now.

This being the fact, I decided to re-activate my English blog to keep track of what I’m doing.

I decided to take one year off. I need to for various reasons, and I have a lot of things on my mind right now. So this blog will serve the sole purpose of being something of a log book of the year 2016.

At this minute, these are very early stages of a much needed time-out and of a new phase in my life. Hoping that it will bring me wisdom, creativity, laughter and relief, as well as distance to certain things. Traumas that I need to let go.

The good thing about a Sabbatical is the whole tabula rasa notion, the freedom to let go and the ability to find new shores, new tasks and new skills.

The bad thing about a Sabbatical is the emptiness of a blackboard that you need to fill with useful content.

 

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Ok, just let me get this straight. I don’t work for fun. I work because I need to, just like 98% of the population. What makes things harder on me, is that my time is mostly divided up between my several jobs that I tend to have, since none of them not even nearly covers my expenses, and none of them nearly gets me anywhere to some kind of financial security. But, hey, what’s it to me anyway. I am a translator, a free spirit, someone who is blessed to live the way they want to anyway. Right? No, wrong. Big time wrong.

It’s funny to see that my last entry on this blog was about the World Cup being used to cover up for a lot of what I would summarize under the Big Rio de Caca or Spain’s internal crisis. The truth is, now some 45 days on in history. I’ve had my own private Rio de Caca here and then. Why? Let me explain.

As I said, I work as a translator. What I do is that I try to get some jobs here and there to somehow get to the end of the month. That’s basically what I do. Things are not going especially well, not with some people not understanding that a real translation is something else than doing “copy/paste” with google translate. Plus, the market is full with so-called translators who don’t do this profession any favor by calling themselves translators. Anyway, that being said, I was ecstatic when I received an email informing me about an urgent job to translate from Castellano to English. I asked if this was a one-off, but no. It was meant to be a regular thing. Since I was in the last throes of my other almost regular job, I tried to postpone it, but no, of course, it was just now and then. So I agreed to make an appointment. The appointment went well, I got the job, and I was told to be working from now on from the own privacy of my home, a thing I very much appreciated, since the pay was just as much as to cover the actual time spent on the translation (as foreseen by my employer).

Ok, since I was being quite in the middle of a very hectic week, I agreed that they would prepare me things to sign, and since I had their word and a handshake, I thought everything was fine. At least, that was not some kind of back alley deal. That is a newspaper. This is group of different media companies (TV, newspaper, and what not) which have been here for years and years. So I thought, it would not be necessary to show any mistrust against them. A handshake used to fine in this case. So I thought.

In the very first couple of days, things went very chaotic, if not totally unprofessionally. I got sent texts of an amount where I needed to extract about an article of 20% the size and sometimes the titles were this large I was only allowed four to max. five words in the title etc. Plus the texts were sent very late, and many other things that were not really helpful in terms of me having a normal and useful working environment, because my only contact with the company were the emails that were sent to me.

I tried to get back in touch with the man who hired me. I asked him for a second interview even though I had a good mind of simply telling him that this way, the work is not really workable. Not in one or in one and a half hours, which was the base for the amount he was willing to pay. I was actually willing to quit after four or five days, it wasn’t even a week. So I sat him down and talked him through my pains. He listened very carefully and then told me he would change the system, and he could understand my concerns, etc. etc. In the end, he even lowered the amount of articles from 8 to five articles per day, which was absolutely necessary since they always arrived extremely late and it turned out that I had to not only translate them, but also revise them, sometimes rewrite them to make them fit into the small space they were given on one page. I asked for the texts to be sent earlier in the day so I would not wait around so much and could also make use of the afternoon or evening.

A couple of times, the arrangement worked, but mostly, it was simply very chaotic.
At the very beginning of our cooperation, I informed my boss of a course I would be doing in Barcelona but he would not have to worry, I would still be translating that week. I really wanted this job so much. I wanted to move mountains in order to achieve something. He had talked about giving me a proper job in the editors’ team.

Ok, fast forward 40 days. I started on June 15th. I was supposed to get my first cash on July 15th. However, since that was exactly during the week I was in Barcelona, I thought, no big deal, I will be paid the week after. Right? Wrong…

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Last week I showed up at the office, throwing in an office day to say hello and ask about the payment, which I thought at the time, was no problem at all. I mean, they had been printing all my articles and they had thanked me for sending them the articles, so I thought, good. I need to pay my invoices just like anyone else, and so I asked when I could have my money. I was referred to someone in the administration and this someone asked me what type of agreement I had with the paper. I said 30€, went back to my desk, continued translating, was called in after I’d finished and was told that I would need to make myself self-employed, a thing which is absolutely impossible on 900€ (supposing the 900€ = deducted from 30 days per 30€ payable). The thing was we had spoken net amounts, and I told them, I could work on a normal parttime schedule, with the three hours every day and so forth. But then, I was told that the 900€ would be a brut amount leaving me with much less. When this happened, I asked them to send me a comparative study so that I could make up my mind which way to choose. Although I surely wasn’t happy about any of this. 30€ just about covers me, but 30€ minus 25% or even 30% that simply wouldn’t do it.

However, they never send me the comparative study. In the end, I was notified, after I had again send them an email and still kept on working, that the situation had changed. All of a sudden, the word was that I would be reimbursed with 500€ flat, as it had been agreed upon in the very first meeting, before I had even finished three days at work, and when there was no talk about working seven days a week… But no, 500€ instead of 900€ and that was it. No questions asked. I just couldn’t believe it.

I made a short calculation, saw that this amount would simply not cut it for all the hours I lost each and every day. So, I told them, again, in the nicest way possible, that there has got to be a mistake. But right now, I don’t think that any of my doubts, are being heard. I haven’t heard back from them, even though I yesterday (Sunday) sent out a reminder to ask for my due pay for working 40 days non-stop. This company owes me 1200€. And they don’t care that I have worked for them like a clockwork. Never failed them once.

It is now 45 days after my first day at work. I tore the ripcord, stopped writing for them, last Friday (after being informed that my monthly pay would be 500€! For 30 days, for 3 hours, and 5 articles daily). At first I could simply not believe it that a newspaper will act this way. Basically, they are not willing to pay the amount we had an agreement for. This was 30 € / day. I averaged in between two to three hours work, but there were days when I needed four to five hours since I waited for the articles to be sent or because the big article was still missing or they would have problems with the headlines or whatever. So let’s speak of an average of three hours (which under normal circumstances, could have been two hours, but that’s about as low as it gets in terms of time). They claim now that we had a different agreement, which rounds of at 15.60€ / day which is truly quite unbelievable.

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I had a similar case happen to me in spring. When I translated a comic or let’s say I proof-read it and didn’t get paid. I had given them a lousy and ridiculously low price. But even so. It’s still money, and it’s still time I invested into someone else’s work and where I didn’t see any benefits.

But this is so much larger in terms of scale. I am so sick and tired of being ripped off. If I had known this, I would have stopped working for them much earlier. But as things are, I need to stick around, fix things somehow, it just breaks my heart cos my kids ask me to go to the beach, summer time, to relax and enjoy the time, but I can’t. I need to say no, since I am here, in my home office, looking for a new job, a way to get back on top of things. Being ripped off for one and a half month of good work is quite something.

One thing for sure, I am sad and angry. I feel treated like I am some kind of idiot. I feel ridiculed.

Now I can remember what my old primary school used to say “You’re my first class here. Act like you know that you are going to pave the way for many many new primary classes to come. If you blow it, it’ll be on your head.” That was always something that impressed me lots. We were an exemplary class.

I just hope that this company will make the same bad experience one day. And I also hope that then they will realise the true extension of their antisocial and irresponsible behaviour. They are paving the way to being “antisocial” being accepted as a “business model”.

I’m not finished with them.

– To be continued –

Yesterday was the 20th of November, the day of Franco’s death 38 years ago. But his spirit seems to be more alive than ever.

Wanna know why?

– The so-called llei de mordassa (a law that is intended to silence or to gag people by impairing their civil rights) is implemented right now and will be valid from Jan 1st, 2014. It includes all sorts of prohibitions and incredible restrictions, overriding, ignoring and silencing people and mainly taking away good parts of their basic human and civil rights (right to assembly, freedom of speech etc). Of course, aimed at those who are not comfortable with the government or the PP party. Tough luck for those who don’t think that PP is currently handling this whole power business too well.

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Speaking of physics, this is a straight ride into an escalation circle. Government took notice that the people are tired of them, and (il )logically they are maxing it up to the hilt.

I’m basically totally amazed, astounded, dumbfounded that this is possible. It feels weird. It does not feel as if I’m living in a country where the democratic tradition has really got a strong hold, where the hell are suddenly all my civil rights? If I am not allowed to (for example) go peacefully to a demonstration where I’d express my wish for change. Only those demonstrations are permitted that previously have been authorised by the government. Hmmmm… Well, makes you think somehow.

Another point is the unrestricted power of policemen. Why can’t I even video an event that may be precisely vital because maybe a policeman might use innecessarily violence or even abuse his power? If I as a civil person am thus not allowed to film such an event without committing a severe infringement of this law, well, how free am I then???

– When I look at what the government is playing at, I get goose pimples, simple as that.

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Will I seriously question myself and others, will I continue being “brave” and still be taking chances with Spanish law enforcement??? Honestly, as much as I am free and autonomous in thinking, but I am not crazy. I am sure that this pushing back the limits needs to stop immediately and for good. Right now, there is such an incredible and eery atmosphere. The air is thick with fear. People shut up, no, wait, let me rephrase that, they clam up, like oysters do. In the event of danger, they do this click and they’re gone. This is somehow really frightening. I cannot make head or tails of this. It’s like the rabbit and the snake.

– WERT is trying to go allrounds with his LOMCE law which again reminds of the good old Franco times when the only language was Spanish, and thus it was assured that the guardia civil could listen to each and every conversation and make sure that the dictatorship was in no way harmed. This is so insane. Why cannot anybody stop this man who is intending to bring back religion into classrooms and kicking Catalan in terms of a school subject ‘out of the classroom.

– Ok, that Bauza was not the first to promote civil rights was clear from what I observed the past few months, but isn’t it weird that now, 38 years after Franco’s death, a law is being introduced that actually reminds you so much of a dictatorship that Spiegel Online, the German political magazine just found it necessary to issue an article about the new impending law that the PP pushes forward and how it will affect people.

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– You need to be deaf and blind not to read the signs, there is a remarkable shift to the far right in Spain, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that Spain was still as free as it might have seemed to be about say, ten years ago. It is sad but when you think about the connection of PP, the Catholic Church and (not so secret) funding of the OPUS DEI project, then it isn’t too far-fetched to say that Franco’s spirit is still very much around and his die-hard fan-club is very active to make sure they will keep the upper hand, or at least, can carry out his testament, so to say. His heirs and his heiresses are on stand-by, trying to settle the accounts.

Up until now, the whole joke about Franco being back was kind of funny, as long as it wasn’t so eerily true. Now, things are getting somewhat out of tune. The joke, however, will be on us. On us, the people who live in Spain, who did not vote PP, who don’t like the LOMCE, who would like education to be imparted in Catalan, and so on and so forth. The joke will be on those and who basically do not agree with what the government is doing. Why is everybody watching??? I don’t really get this. Seriously. This is no chapter of history that ought to be repeated.

On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) became chancellor of Germany. However, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent. After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse. During World War II (1939-45), Hitler and the Nazis implemented their “Final Solution” to the “Jewish problem,” and carried out the systematic murder of some 6 million European Jews in what came to be known as the Holocaust.

Let’s never forget that this was the beginning of the aggressive and violent atmosphere that tantamounted to Nazi Germany.

As a child and teenager, I always shuddered thinking of this night for being what it was. As an adult, I get goose pimples and I would wish that never ever we will be faced with such insane enforcement of an individual’s delusion that made a nation become murders of so many Jewish people, communist, homosexuals, introducing delusional terms for the definition of culture and censured all culture and all types of art.

What happens if we have censure in a country?
Basically, it stifles all fluid intelligence or makes people go somewhere else. This basically happened in Nazi Germany and very quickly for that matter, and in a historically enormous dimension. I don’t want to name all the artists who had to leave Germany for the sake of their families and of their own sake, but whoever is interested will find the right source who these people were and where they went.

The reason why I decided to make a commemorative blog entry today was basically because in Spain, where I’m currently living, we have a problem with censorship. And this is something that keeps giving me the creeps. I foolishly thought that this was a thing of the past.

Having said that, I would wish that more people became aware of the fact that Kristallnacht and the way people and society as a whole reacted, was one of the many mosaic pieces of tendencies and unfortunate constellations that made Nazi Germany possible. This does not in any way say that this could ever be explained on a rational basis. However, it is important not to forget about recent history. Neither about Franco, nor about Hitler, nor Stalin, nor any other person of that calibre.

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The less inclined we are to actually get up and do something about a situation which we know is wrong, the less chances we have to stop an unfortunate event in time for it to get worse and spread like a fungus. There always will be a moment where we become guilty in a historic dimension if we decide to look away. If you know about something which you know is wrong, and needs to be changed, it is your ethical and personal challenge to make it known. Don’t be afraid to let others be participant in what you see, and let others help you.

We are one people, whatever creed, whatever nation, whatever language.
And if mankind finally got around to understand that we are on a damn sick road here, there would be a way out of this huge mess we created.

However what we need are people who are attentive, and assertive enough to point out the flaws, and the errors of the system. If these whistleblowers are being put into prison and chased like criminals, while the real criminals get voted, and re-voted, while so many other things are turning our society upside down that it is hard to keep up and not end up confused.

Maybe, this is another foolish thought of mine but I do believe that at least we would have the means to get out of this one, using and implementing the basics that are innate to the human being: curiosity, creativity, and also a good portion of sane criticism.

Don’t believe everything at face value. If you switch on the tele tonight, please think about Spain, and the way that censorship got the better of them. This is 21st century. We cannot allow this.

We live in an age where information and the communication media play an immense role. What I find unfathomable is that nevertheless the way how to use all these wonderful ways to communicate has not really been internalized by a great number of people.

Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that we get served all information we would necessarily need. Make an effort to read, and browse all the information that is accessable for you. Inform yourself. Not just once. Each day and every day!

Oh yes, and if in doubt, if you are wondering if you are critical enough, you are not. That is for sure. Read, read, read, but most of all: Noam Chomsky and all the critical writers you can lay your hands on! Be a critical person. Ask rather than accept facts and statistics as being god given.

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Ok, let’s cut the chase. I get to the point right now. Medias in res.

In Spain, we have two major problems.

The two biggest internal affairs right now are as follows:

1.) There is the ongoing fight in the Spanish parliament about whether or not Catalonia should have a referendum for the possible Independence of Catalonia. This is one major concern right now. You cannot open the web, without being aware of tons of articles, or not, but as a foreigner you tend to get lost easily. So what’s up with that?

There are two sides, as always. The one side wants the referendum. The other one does not. The reason for why Catalonia should have their referendum is pretty clear. Two weeks after the 11th of September, which was the celebration for Independence Day, broadcasted around the globe a couple of hundreds of millions times with the historically long “Via Catalana” a human chain by hundreds of thousands of people, and above all, peaceful, without any type of violence. The other side, however, says no… Ok, so let’s ask why…

I could speculate and speculate but the main reason is and always has been the money… Barcelona and the Catalonian region have a functioning economy, much to the chagrin of the NO sayers in Madrid. USA Today even called Catalonia the milk cow that’s being milked every so often when the funds in Madrid are empty. The cow seems to be tired of being milked so often. Ok. This in itself may explain for the obvious NO from Madrid as they do need the money. But let’s go one step further, let’s ask an underlying question. Why is there so much hatred that goes with the whole question…? There is such an underlying hate element in the Spanish society that sometimes even frightens me.

Best example was this poor Valencian guy who was imprisoned for talking to the police (in a normal traffic control) in Catalan, one of two official languages of the Catalonian region. The thing is: He was neither drunk nor drugged. And yet, he was taken away, he was arrested and put before a judge: For speaking his mother tongue. No, we haven’t taken a time machine. This is not 1939. This is 2013. This has some strange taste to it. There are a lot of historic “ghosts”, evanescent moments of hatred and repression that still work the same way as 75 years ago. All this is embedded on a very emotional level. Luckily, the poor chap, got some media coverage and via change.org and with the help of the social networks, the man was freed and his prison sentence of six months for speaking to the police in Valencian was revoked. But does it need to get that far??? I mean, come on, really. The whole incident seemed so warped that I had to include it even though it seems like a slight affair.

We are faced with the dark side of history. Spain had a dictatorship up until 1975 and the violation of civil rights, the pain and suffering, the cruelties, the passion, the fear and the repression so many people had to deal with, it is still alive. It is still inside most families. Some of them remember who someone close to them was charged politically, was taken away, and imprisoned or even executed. Spain is a free country. It is democratic. Is it?

Yes. On the whole it is. Spain is even liberal when you think of places like Marbella or Ibiza… But then again, is this actually the real Spain, or is it just what people think Spain is??? So what do I know??? You might argue, but you are not even Spanish, or have a Catalonian husband or whatever, but I see what I see. And each day, I get a better impression about what happens. Ever since I started to learn Catalan and finally prick up my ears.

The thing is there will not be any kind of mutual understanding and a non-hatred fuelled relationship between Spain and Catalonia, unless Spain simply lets go and leaves Catalonians be who they are, and let them go their chosen way. It might not be what Madrid, what the Spanish royal family, or what Rajoy would want for Spain, but still, they have a right to decide. We live in a democratic state (at least that’s what they say), so let them have it their way. Let them please vote.

We in Europe have so many states with two, with three or even with four languages. Think Belgium, Switzerland, parts of Germany, think Sicily, think Crete, think Malta. The more attractive a region is, less chances you have of there being only spoken one language. Chances are that a couple of nations already tried to invade it, and chances are that this happened. I am sorry if this is a bit juvenile but I always think of Asterix and Obelix when I think about invasion.

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You might think that the people in Madrid may be the Romans trying to force the Catalans to give up their language and cultural identity. But Madrid and a couple of politic agitators just see it just the opposite way. They see the Catalans as the agitators, or the traitors of the Spanish crown. There are some ultra-right wing people who deliberately disturbed the celebration of the “Onze de setembre” (September 11th), the Catalonian Independence Day. Funnily enough, justice was very lenient here, and they got away with a ridiculously low amount of 300€ while they smashed up things, menaced people, were hooded, entered a government building and were clearly not there in a pacific mission.

 

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Justice is a funny thing. This is something that startles me. How on earth can they get away with that? And how can the politicians in Madrid believe that their behavior was tolerable when they behave like that, that one might call a screaming injustice. Justice must have had a pretty bad day to sentence one man to 6 months of prison for speaking his mother tongue, and for fining another for an act of sheer and utter violence & some slight terroristic tendencies with a slight slap on the wrist.

Ok, I now. I am guiri. I should shut up. What do I know anyway?

Being a foreigner in Spain, not knowing any Catalan, and just about able to speak a few sentences in Spanish, I came here to the island of Ibiza in 2007, in December. I was not aware of all these underlying conflicts when I first came here. I tried to find my way around this place. I was busy getting my kids into kindergarten and into school. I had to work. And I had to take care of the kids on my own, as my husband was still 1 and a half years in Germany while I already lived here. I was quite alone, kept to myself, but in a still quite male dominated society I was treated like a “soltera” and somehow, people suspected I was. I did not know what to think about it but I was too busy to care.

So many of my friends in Germany shook their heads in despair when they heard where I was going and they asked me “Why on earth are you going there?” (rough translation: this pool of sinners, of depravity, hedonism and sex, drugs and rock’n’roll). I just laughed it off. And hey, now, almost six years later, I still live here. I feel integrated. My husband came down to Spain one and half years later than us because it was more difficult than we thought. Exit personal history.

But one thing really still startles me, especially now that I understand Catalan and speak it fairly well. Why on earth, do my friends who dared me, who induced me, who told me to learn Catalan… Why do they now back down when we are talking about the Catalan Way, the question of Independence??? Why are they the ones I never see when there is some event for the Independence? Why don’t they react when I post something on facebook??? Even though in private, they are fervent defenders of their home, their island, the right to speak their language and their right to vote. What’s up with that?

On the 8th of September, Ibiza also had a small human chain. The press said that there were 300 people. I can safely say that there were little more than 160 people, maybe 200 in the end. So: What’s up with that?

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However, now we come to the second problem, or to the second internal affair, that Spain has to deal with.

2.) The plan and its implementation of the TIL – integrative trilingual language system. This is a brain child of Jose Ramon Bauzà who somehow now seems like a Little Napoleon as he tries to push forward with this seemingly progressive system. So what does the TIL include: Basically it means a reduction of the Catalan and a high increase of the English language, that instead of 50% Catalan and 50% Spanish, the children get their classes in 30% in Catalan, 30% in Spanish and 30% in English.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love English. And for me, it would probably be a piece of cake, but then again… Think about how well or in some cases how not so well the outcome might be. Do they have decent teachers, do they have decent funds to invest in this Project. No. E.g, the school of Sant Miquel (a small village in the north of Ibiza) had placed up a huge bed-throw at the Wall of their school advertising tyhat the Balearic government still owed them a sum of 19,000€. And that is only one school. How so? How are they going to pay for the extra teachers… ??? How are they going to pay for the extra tuition??? For the extra books??? Hahahaha… Ladies and gentlemen. This will be solved Ibiza style, or Mallorca style. That is so easy, if your name is Jose Ramon Bauzà. Basically the answer is you are not getting any of this. Yes, You heard me.

No extra teachers.

No tuition paid.

No funds for books.

No funds for even paying old debts that concerned parents, the school itself or the state.

How on earth can this be a good basis for such a Project that – if it were well planned and well put into practice – not such an idiot thing. However, we are faced with empty wallets, resigned teachers, teachers who fear being menaced by disciplinary punishments and so on. The spirit of the generalissimo is still very much present. That present that the press today showed that Madrid does not want to change the name of Franco because of linguistic reasons. It is scary to see the adoration of a dictator who would have thrived in the amount of fear and repression that is subconsciously planted in the souls of so many, many Spaniards, as well as Catalonians.

And even if the TIL had come out as a proper plan, it would still be an attack against the Catalan language.

Let’s talk about how well are the Balearic Government free to decide what they are doing. There are many, many jokes in the net and one can see on television who is in charge. It is clearly Bauzà himself. Getting rid of a third of his parliament and claiming it was to show respect and the need to cut costs, was a nice excuse to get rid of his opposing forces within his own party. Bauzà has a nice little streak of a mini dictator in him. He may look like an ageing model or a car salesperson but in fact he is very strategic in what he does. Plus he thrives in the power he was given.

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Back to topic. No… I don’t know either. It is scary and it is such a preposterous idea. I am a strong activist for any type of increment of language and literature in school. But the way this is done is just… so, so, excuse me, it is so wrong… We have heard about the proposed system change right before the summer break and even then teachers were saying no. Little did we know back then. Now it is the second week of school and the teachers are still on strike, twitter is full of hashtags that show the support they are getting from so many different places, from so many different people.

So, I hope you know now about what’s going on in Spain and more specifically on the Balearics.

Why did I mix these topics together and added some streaks of personal history to it, even though they only on the surface have something to do with each other?

I would think that there is a deep underlying structure. If Wert called for the fact “españolizar” hispanize the children of Catalonia, then this is actually quite fascistic if not downright fascist.

If speaking Valencian is a crime, and smashing up a government building and disturbing an official act (given you’re rightwing!!!) is a small thing easily forgiven and does fall under the jurisdiction.

If a TV show (on IB3, the local TV station of the Balearics, government funded… ) about the TIL only shows:

– a group of six, all men (not one woman!)

– the majority were lawyers and not education experts

– one teacher, whose forte certainly was not to speak in public

– and without a decent distribution of the time allowed for each side (the defenders of TIL had 7 minutes, the ones against it 2 minutes!!!)

There is slight feeling, that this whole program could have been government sponsored and PP-program aligned. It is just so wrong the way they do a supposedly political program on TV. It was just so previsible.

Personally, I could not believe that there was not one person who was rhetorically able to speak up and up for the challenge.

Conclusion:

In effect, I wrote this blog post here, mainly because I was getting tired of being asked all over the same questions.

What is the TIL?

Why are you so in favor of the Catalonian Independence?

Why are you so Pro-Catalan?

Why are you against the TIL?

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Mainly, I hope to have clarified this issue with the above text. I am a language lover, I do not think that TIL is actually oriented in real life and will promote “fracaso escolar” more than anything else.

My obvious tendency towards the Catalonian Independence derives from the fact that I among other subjects (I majored in languages), I studied history and I think that the free state of the Catalonian people is necessary. Historically it can easily be derived that Catalonia is a state. I could go deeper into history but this would go to far. Also from the point of view that being a repressed nation, the Catalonians deserve to decide for themselves. Psychologically it can be argued as well, when the amount of suffering has been big enough for them that their will for independence outweighs the fear of being defeated. The Catalonians need to try it, I feel also Catalonian, I am one of them, and I wish them, I wish us the best of luck, and I think that Spain would be wise to let them go. Unless they want to have a century long hate relationship with even worse cases of linguistic recriminations and also crimes in the name of the Spanish state which presides everything.

First of all, I know, Catalonia is different, but Ibiza is also different. We work so much with tourism on a daily basis that the idea of reinforcing English in the school system is not the worst idea, but again… The way this is done, is what makes it turn out to be a total disaster or a plan that should be planned and scheduled properly in order to be successful. Please do not implement TIL. It is not worth the trouble it will surely cause. And try to prevent it for the sake of your children!

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So, where do I tie the knot?

Language and culture is like two peas in a pod. They belong together. If you take away the language from a person, in the sense that you make it a crime to speak that language, you steal part of his culture and basically you victimize him.

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Invaders have often done this. The Romans did this. The Greeks did this. The Spaniards did this. No big deal. But this here is the 21st century. I wish for mankind to be as far evolved that they see that you cannot suppress culture and language for a long time. It will stir things up. It will make people rebel.

Those in charge in Madrid, and also our little Napoleon of the Balears, Ramon Bauzà, would be well advised if he saw that denying people to speak their own mother tongue is a crime. It is a direct reference to the military dictatorship of Franco. And to be honest, this in itself gives me the creeps.

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What gives me the creeps even more is that there was a report that they want to reprimand people who speak on facebook, twitter or any online media about things that could cause a public disorder. This is also a step away from a democratic system. Be warned. And be alert that Spain and also the Balearics do not move back in time. This would be fatal.

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I seriously apologize that I could not post the homage to T.S. Eliot whose birthday it is today. But I will take the opportunity to thank you.

They say if a door closes, another one opens. Right now I can see where the saying is going but to be quite honest, I don’t really believe it as yet.

Things right now could not be worse from my standpoint. Ok, but this post is not strictly about me but about people who find themselves in a similar situation. It is about the people who will suffer a lot because they frigging have jack shit in their pockets, jack shit to eat, jack shit to spend on their children, jack shit to clothe themselves, and jack shit in order to follow a cultural life.
Apart from the ones who have been made homeless since they could not pay up their rent, apart from the ones who took their own lives in desperation, it is now quite predictable that a huge tidal wave of families or couples is coming who will be stuck in the same situation as me, which eventually looks like this: A family of four. One partner’s got a steady job, earns some cash, not the world, but somehow they get by, the other partner has a more or less steady job but as a seasonal worker (fijo discontinuo, which is not an uncommon scenario at all). For those of you who don’t know what this means, it is a specialty of the Spanish labour law, meaning that you have a seasonal contract for a certain time of the year, while the rest of the year, you will be jobless, simply because there is no need or no necessity to have a worker in this job in the low season. The contract revives after the low season again so you are truly a steady worker.
So, beware. Singles and one parent families can now safely breathe deeply cos they won’t be affected. This time around the families that this law is after, it is actually rather disturbing when you think about it. So, if you are married, it will basically happen like this: The woman (or whoever is the one with the seasonal contract) has completed her six month of seasonal work and applies for the usual state benefits for the upcoming six months where she is on the dole.
Then, the shock arrives. Instead of receiving 426€ state benefit, she will know only receive 105€ no matter whether the couple have got kids to support, whether they dire need the money just to get by. It does not matter the least.
I informed myself and it seems that if you have a partner who (now listen up, this is really good!) earns more than the so-called “intersalario minimo” (the average minimum wage) of 640€ / month, the law applies leaving you with 75% less of your normal state benefit.
So, instead of receiving a total of 2.556€ in a six month period (which in my case is to be expected as the island of Ibiza does not tend to have so many jobs to offer in the Winter months) you will receive 630€. The almost 2.000€ gap is something that a family of four is left to draw conclusions themselves.
That’s pretty, no?

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I would say this is the most horribly unjust law of the 21st century I have ever read about. This is a crime, and I don’t say this not just because I am affected too (which truly fucks me up too, admitted) but the core of this post is that I really envision what is going to happen in terms of the affected families, how will they deal with it, what will happen in Spain, on the peninsula, and also on the Balearic islands, and the Canaries.
It is not too difficult to foresee what will happen. Basically this here.
By taking away the last bit of money, not mentioning the last shreds of their dignity, not mentioning stripping the last bits of social mobility from this group, it basically spells poverty, cruel and not to be hidden poverty, poverty that is no fun at all. Not being able to pay all the necessary monthly bills, having to juggle things where to make another cut, in order to somehow scrape things together and get to the end of the month. Simple as that.
Taking into account that at the same time there has been a growth in nouveau riche people coming to the lively Spanish cities and hip islands, so the nouveau riche is just a stone throw (quite literally, in this case) away. This again heats up the rivalry between rich and poor, between have and have not’s. If Karl Marx were still alive, he would get out his pamphlet about the class battle.

Today, people seem to have forgotten that today’s world shows even stronger and much more cruel signs that there are three if not four classes today.
1) The poor, the unwell, the lower class – the ones who are either out of a job, too wasted, too ill or too socially unfit to work. The ones who are denied access to the big ferris wheel.
2) The mixed working and middle class – which slowly but surely seems to disintegrate – they either fall back into the group of the poor and unwell or they somehow make it into the group of the well off people. They are also struggling, they can get by, depending how clever they are, trying to work the system here and there. But basically, they are the working force of the new millennium. They hate the class 1 people because they think they are really just scum and don’t want to work. And they envy the class 3 people for obvious reasons.
3) The upper middle class – the well off people – they are also working people, at least formerly, but mostly they don’t really need to work anymore. Somehow, they are able to enjoy life as it is. They are able to lean back and watch what happens around the world. They despise class 1 and they belittle class 2 people. They envy class 4 people for obvious reasons.
4) The stinking rich – self explanatory. Of course, they know nothing of the sorrows or the pains that class 1 and 2 or even class 3 people go through. They could essentially make a difference with their wealth, but they don’t. They are reluctant to activate themselves. They observe and journey from yacht to yacht. Their biggest worry might be the question what to bestow their sons and daughters. Basically, this class is the real trouble. They are the root of all evil. If they understood that the world has come into such a crass imbalance moneywise and also in terms of division of wealth, and therefore if they would let others participate in their immense wealth, the world might be a better place. But, let’s face it, hey, this isn’t a fairy tale and I know it won’t happen.
When it comes to categorizing people, I tend to be quite ruthless, sarcastic to some extent, but I can spot the people in their peer group and make out their characteristics. I used to be middle class, today I can safely say that even though I try to hold on to middle class for dear life, I drifted back into the arena of the poor and unwell and it is only a matter of time but I eventually will stop posting blogs since I might be more than busy with the fight for survival. This is pure social Darwinism.

I know that I will need to somehow generate an extra of 320€ out of thin air. My husband works, he cannot get more money. Sincé we have been trying to cut down costs, I don’t know where another cut could be made, I don’t see any job opportunities either, especially not ones which are viable when you have two kids. So, even though economy is down, and the season is ending, I know I need to have an extra job for the winter, which is not going to happen as there are no jobs. So there is no need to worry at all. The poor and unwell are all waiting for me.

Noam Chomsky called it the class warfare. Listen for yourself.

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Back to Spain: Which conclusion can be derived from this? The sacred cow named family has now officially been killed. Or to put it plainly, it has been slaughtered and its entrails hang out its guts.
Had I been divorced or would I be a single mother, this would not have happened to me. Brave new world that has such people in it!
But being a happy mother and not a divorcee or single mom made me conspicuous. I see. Duh! I could have understood it if we were talking Franz Kafka, otherwise this scenario is just too Kafkaesque for me.
Apart from these schizophrenic mind-warping thoughts of some politicians who came up with this ludicrous law, I have other, still darker visions to share.
What about the children? Will I tell them to eat 75% less, to consume 75% less of a needed education, to need 75% less clothes, to give me 75% wear and tear to compensate, to grow 75% less so they can still wear last year’s clothes, take part 75% less in children’s activities which are not for free as we all know??? I don’t think so.
Luckily, you might say, you live in the countryside. Here the differences are not as crass. Yes, that’s what you would think. But they exist nonetheless. And my children have spotted the differences a long time ago. What is going to happen now?
The thing is poverty, seen from the outside might seem like a romantic hideaway, like a safe haven from the crazy world, but the truth is that poverty basically means, that your life is not much fun, and basically it is also going to end sooner and in a fashion you won’t like as much.

Poverty basically means:
– Not having the means to pay for a doctor (and here is to people who plea the national health service in Spain was good: Please spare me the discussion. Don’t come up with national health service and how good it was, I would hate the discussion and you know, NH in Spain is ridiculously bad in some areas, and to some extent, so let’s cut the crap and face up to some realities. I’d rather ram a rusty needle into my arm and do nothing about it than ever let a Spanish NH gynecologist ever touch me again. That was the most traumatic and dehumanizing experience at a doctor’s!!!)
– Not having the money to buy the most sensible food and therefore consequently not able to follow the most equalized and sensible diet. (Even though we know which food is better, sometimes your wallet decides what you buy. Simple as that. Look at the prices in a supermarket, compare what you can buy with 30€, and then you will see what I mean. Sugary, fatty, basically all highly processed food is dirt-cheap whereas natural, authentic, sensible and good food is quite costly.)
– Not being able to buy the educational books, toys, you name it that you as a parent wanted to provide for your children (and yes, we are all avid users of a public library, but there are books that are not available, and nothing can substitute a book that belongs to you, etc.)
– Not be as relaxed, nor as well-informed as others as you keep struggling with the mere and naked existence as it is. (this may be a secondary effect, but nonetheless it happens like that)
– Not able to make the cheapest choice since in effect you are forced to buy at a time when others lean back and say, “No, I will wait until the prices fall, and stabilize at a lower level.” You, as an impoverished person, are often forced to buy at the highest rate. And yes, it is true. This makes you even poorer. It is a vicious circle.
– This situation leaves you wasted and wane
– Not happy
– Not healthy
Ok, I could continue this list for ages, but even if we suppose that you are still capable of providing yourself with the needed information, still able to cut corners here and there, there is a physical limit to all of this. And the majority of all people affected will – and here you can be pretty sure – not be as realistic, and not as rigid in what to buy and what not to buy, they will also fall into the typical poverty traps. Therefore, their poverty might even look worse than the one depicted.
But the bottom line is this: poverty cuts you off from the rest of others. Shuts you up.

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Why? They are tiny things really. You will say NO more often and at times where you want to say YES. You will say NO when invited as you don’t have the money to buy a present. And you will also say NO because even though it may just be 25 kilometers, the trip of 50 kilometers just for a party plus a present you need will leave you skinned. So you got to decide. You will say NO because the last time you were invited and this time it would be your turn to invite but you haven’t got the money to invite, so you don’t. Poverty makes you lonely.
It sounds like it was copied out of a Dickens novel, a tale of gruel, and the workhouse, but this is the bare and naked truth.
I wish for some Spanish politicians and businessmen that they may come to experience the full-blown and fucking awful situation like this.
I know there are families which are even worse off than us. There are families where both lost their jobs and so on. But I don’t understand how the state can agree to destroy familiar unity with a law like this. I nudged my husband and asked him if he wanted to divorce me so we would get the full state benefit. It is so ridiculous. The bitter truth is that nobody cares about families anymore, let alone children growing up safely. This is something that makes me angry and sad.
For me, as an adult, things are much easier. I can survive on six months on nothing but the cheapest spaghetti and the blandest yoghurt, and nothing else. I will not be able to pay all my bills, so I will have the odd problem here and there, even though I have a very good consumer’s morale. But what bugs me the most is the crime of stealing a piece of childhood, which they are taking away from our children. The innocence and the feeling of carelessness is somehow lost along the line.
Apart from needing vitamins, proteins, vegetables and fruit, children need the feeling of being protected and well looked after. They need stability. They need laughter and also the safe home which is theirs. They need clothes, new shoes every now and then. It seems so incredible that all of this seems impossible just because the state decided they would rather help out some criminal bankers and some thieving politicians. No wonder that there is no money left to help out families.
How foolish to think in the 21st century that a family is something the state wants to protect by law. How sad to be mistaken in this point.
Ever since I was 15 I have been working. There is a multitude of jobs behind me, not all of them were good ones, but each and every one of them taught me something. And I do remember and also cherish this. When you work, you should go home with a smile on your face. Today, this smile is wiped away. It has been replaced by constant worries of will I have enough to pay my bills. Will I be able to keep up this rat race? With people who are (for whatever reason) on the dole or only part-time workers, things are even worse. You are being looked upon as some kind of underdog. You are an outcast of the system. There is something you’ve done wrong. Something in your personality that did not quite fit in. Oh, you have children. See? Told you so. To have children and to be proud of them is something that our society does not want to hear, much less cares about.
So, basically, I won’t take this lying down and I hope I can keep my dark sense of humor and still make things funny and worthwhile for my children, my husband, and for me, but if truth be said: in spite of being a born optimist, I have most extreme doubts of how we might get through this long, dire drought period, how well we will be able to adapt this time, how to make our way through the winter period. How to spin gold out of thin air.
It is going to be a tough ride.
Not to mention all the burglaries and muggings, which will start happening for sure.
Ibiza is a place for seasonal workers. Most of them leave the island after the season, but some of them live here, so these families will be in deep problems. Just like us. And there is no cloud, and sorry also no silver lining.
On mainland Spain, similar problems will arise with focus on big cities like Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid. I am curious how the crime rates will develop. This should be a fun thing to watch.
Oh, and another thing. It is pretty clear that this law is another red herring, a decoy to take away the force of criticism off Mister Rajoy and his ridiculously incapable leadership. So sad if people cannot just say “I fucked up. I take my hat and leave.” He does not seem to get the message.

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It is time for a new beginning. And time to shake up the system.

Orwell –  a dystopian writer or a socio-realist?

Down and Out in Paris and London” was the first book Orwell ever wrote and therefore it demands some special attention. He wrote it in 1933.

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Who was George Orwell? He was born Eric Arthur Blair 110 years ago, on June 25th 1903. He died on January 21st, 1950, some 46 years later. To me, Orwell has always been an important touchstone, a true pleasure to read since he is different in as much as he combines some traits I find important for any writers: will for social and political justice, very clear language, intelligence, sharp observation, wit and accuracy in the depiction of social realities.

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I’ve read him ever since I was little and funnily enough, at school, we read 1984, just in the year of 1984, when I was 13. Yes, it did make a huge impact on me. I cannot say anything else. We discussed the book. We wrote essays on it. We saw the movie 1984. It was a blatant attack against totalitarianism. That much was clear. And for a classroom with a lot of rebellious hormones flying around, Orwell was just right in showing us what society would be if we allowed ourselves to be let astray. Everyone in class including the teacher was sure that there would never be any similar surrounding, that everything depicted in the book, was pretty much a dark pessimistic fantasy, way out, and that basically this was a dystopia which would never happen.

Now about 30 years later, I am not so sure anymore. I find that Orwell had the unusual talent of absorbing very slight historical tendencies and thinking them till the bitter end and turning it into fiction. Orwell’s fiction is never just fiction. It is a moral signpost that says “Don’t go there. It might happen if you don’t watch out.” On the other hand, he wrote a lot about what happened in real life. He was in no way a writer in his ivory tower. He was pretty much connected and set in the real life of his time and confronted with real-life problems. “His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism.” That’s what Wikipedia says, and I solidly agree with that.

Orwell. The dystopian writer, the social critic

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There are many books by George Orwell, well worthwhile reading which are hard to come by because of course, 1984 and Animal Farm are the evergreens and the bestsellers that cannot be surpassed.

Retracing his steps, we find that he was basically a middle upper lower middle class son, who was born in India, grew up in Burma, living a privileged life within a well bred family. But as he grew older, and after having returned to Europe, he seemed to have been a wandering spirit. He tried out multiple ways in order to live, he had something inside him, a search of something else, a weariness of everyday life about him. Something that made him seek out adventures. He led an unusual life. Orwell wrote his first book with the title “Down and out in Paris and London” (1933) which I would like to recommend today with all my heart.

In a nutshell, it is a desolate depiction of what the social reality for poor people, for people out of a regular existence, jobless, homeless, sometimes vagabonds and basically impoverished people must have been like. The daily search to get by on a minimum of money is shown with a pinch of salt. It is not someone who is crying into his bowl of water-soup at the workhouse. There is nothing that resembles rage or an accusation against the state or the state of things in there. It just shows the reality of what things were like. Without commenting as much on it. That is Orwell’s English side. And this is what made me have goose pimples all over when I first read the book at 20. It was hair-raising. The cruelty and the sometimes really very harsh if not brutal realities are depicted in a very formal and sometimes offhand manner. It is something hard to digest at first. But that way, the reader gets to the bottom of things, to the places where Orwell leads him, to the darkest corners in pre-war Paris and pre-war London. The reader must ask himself what made Orwell endure all of this. He wanted to be a first-hand narrator. He did not want to narrate the hell of others, of vagabonds, he first wanted to endure it so he could write his books with a totally different stance. Today, we might call him an investigative journalist. Yes, but Orwell was more than that. He was a critic in his way not to criticize anything but depicting every cruel detail of what happens to poor people and what happens if you get to the point where you lose your job, you home and your social framework. Something which in the nineteen-thirties must have been something not so easy to endure.

Another very good book by Orwell is “Burmese Days” where Orwell actually lets us in on the secrets of his upbringing in the colonies. It is an eye opener. Truly recommended.

All in all, I can only recommend George Orwell again and again. I know, that 1984 is a must read for many classes (at school as well at university) but it rightly is so. As well as Animal Farm has become a total classic. However, Down and Out in Paris and London, as well as Burmese Days and his collected Essays should find more readers, the way I see it.

Orwell was a bright man, with a vision.

Ending this post, I would like to point out that in fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel that Orwell is a more than a modern classic, he is a post-modern writer, someone to foresee something sinister that was about to happen. Let’s us all see to it that we can make this dystopia stop before Big Brother and the thought police become reality.

I wonder what Orwell would write if he was alive today.

This is just a quick post. I just saw a very awesome video blog post on the outlier collective today on the controversial subject of feminism on the Outlier Collective Blog.

and it got me into thinking why I don’t like the term feminism and why it strikes me as something which is unbalanced, anachronistic or even weird since I don’t like the term but on the other hand, I do think that the movement in itself is still pretty much needed as we have things going on in our society that are not strictly speaking women friendly. And this goes for many, many areas of our lives:

– less wages for same kind of work (some of us are more equal than others)

– not the same kind of emotional / physical / scientific / moral education for boys and girls

– the so-called “glass ceiling” (meaning that women will often not be promoted as men or even be stopped from being promoted at all for the simple fact because they are women)

– the way that boys are still taught to “toughen up” and girls at the same time are being told not to be such “a tomgirl” or are encouraged to yield her own interests and be more caring towards others (Cinderella complex)

– the devaluation of anything that is vaguely “too” feminine and therefore not manly enough: in terms of language: sissy, wimp, pussy, but also in terms of being labelled as worthless. Ergo, the mere depiction of testosterone fuelled macho dreams which have not been full-filled are therefore not to be regarded, so they are being either ignored, made fun of, or they must be eliminated as they are the enemy, well, at least for some blockheads.

– funnily enough: the reverse example should be working the other way around, it should show be the opposite, but ha! wrong again, when in fact, it doesn’t come full circle here: the “as-male-posing” female is also not viewed in a good manner either. She is not a she, she is more a deformed kind of female and therefore also devalued.

There are so many things, that come to mind that it is hard to recount them all. The point is however, as soon as you talk to someone about this fact, they will go “woah, so you are a feminist”. No, actually, I am not. I always said no to this question simply because I don’t like the term and the associations that go with this term. However, I do have the strong feeling that there is still a lot to be desired in terms of what is possible and what isn’t in a male society.

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This might come as a surprise to some readers, but the majority of all women are not ready to give up their career when they have children, and they do want to go on building their career, and they might even have more dreams to accomplish. But the truth is feminist and feminism for the 21st century seems like an anachronism. And we tend to think of women refusing to wear bras, who don’t shave their armpits, wearing baggy clothes, eating macrobiotic food, not using lipstick, and who might in fact turn out to be lesbians (hahaha, good one, isn’t it???), whatever. But why is that? Because we again do the same thing, that Kozo mentioned in his video post, we judge women by the way they look and not by the things they know or by the things they say. It is so damn true. Please watch his video, it is so worth watching.

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We need to open our hearts and our minds to be aware, to get to the point where it becomes clear that we can only have a truly egalitarian society in the sense of women and men being treated equally when people start seeing that a woman is more than her outward appearance and a man is more than this tough guy who is never allowed to shed a tear. We need to view things and people in a more adult, grown up way.

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So, let’s readjust a little. Let’s even out the playfield a little bit. Let’s open up a little by making a small change.

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May we all get to the point where we start healing: the ones who grew up with the toxic “water” around them, the ones who have been victimised. But we all can start to heal, even the ones who are not victimised as they might still advocate a new kind of thinking and promote it.

However, since I would not be me if I would not bring in at least one thing which is a little bit controversial… let’s watch another video and listen to this song.

Like I said earlier on, the joke is still on us. 😉

Maybe we need a female Tim Minchin who would text an equally disconcerting, subversive and amusing song and make fun of men having their male kind of periods and laugh at the nonsense of thinking one gender to be superior to another. Hey, and one thing, sex and gender is not the same thing.

Have a happy and good relation to a man or a woman, to both as a matter of fact, whoever and wherever you are!

Remember:

We are afraid to be vulnerable so we pretend to be someone else. In most cases anyway. And there are few brave ones out there who can strip off the mask and be themselves.

So, I’m with Kozo and I’m with Tim on this one: Kozo said: Start opening your mind and opening your heart and see what happens. Or as Tim said: We are just fucking monkeys in shoes!!! So, loosen up!!!

P.S. By the way, there is a short add-on to my article: Did you know there is a FEMINIST PORN AWARD? Yes, sex industry and feminism is no longer a contradiction in terms. Look it up the blog orbitadiversa.wordpress.com and click on the link in her blog or simply use this one here:

http://www.golfxsconprincipios.com/lamoscacojonera/porno-feminista-1/

Ok, no cuddling this time. No time for that. Straight full sex. Or said in other words: medias in res. I’ve really had it this week. Maybe, it’s the lunar constellation, maybe it’s fate, maybe it’s kismet, karma, call it whatever you like, but I’ve had so many weird experiences and no-go situations this week that I’ve seriously had it when thinking about the time I’m losing due to the negligence and poor behaviour of other people’s behaviour. My pain threshold has been pushed and scraped past or also being plainly crossed many times.

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I won’t go into details because this is personal, but fact is when you can’t keep an appointment for whichever reason (whether you did not like the appointment in the first place, whether you thought otherwise, whether the moon was in a bad constellation for you, maybe your chakra was out of tune, your cat was sick, or you were sick, or the whole idea was sick) it basically does not matter. What matters is you inform people when you are not coming. It is simple as that: this is basic. If on the other hand, you don’t find informing someone who came to see you helpful, so this other person does not know that you have no intention of seeing them, it is common knowledge this is basically downright rude behaviour and, basically, even by today’s low standards absolutely inacceptable unless you willingly want to annoy someone (in which case, bravo, this is way to go). Maybe I am naive, maybe I am still believing in Santa Claus, it does not matter. I basically tend to believe people what they say. This does make me vulnerable, and maybe I am an easy prey too for some people. I can see the downside in this behaviour of mine clearly. So maybe it was about time that I got shaken up a bit to make it clear that this time around, I need to adjust my asshole threshold level a bit… But on second thoughts, I really don’t want that. Yes. I am a sensitive person and I seriously want to stay that way. I don’t want to adjust myself to make myself less sensitive because some other people aren’t sensitive enough.

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Don’t get me wrong. This is not an ego trip. This post is so not about me, this is basically about how society is changing and why I find it difficult dealing with some of its worst outcomes. This is about the way in which so many people have morphed in terms of behaviour. It is so sad. It is seriously breaking my heart. I don’t like what I see. But beware that you don’t criticize this. Otherwise you are the weirdo forever and ever.

I might be a weirdo to some. Still… I am pretty clear on this one. Society is what people consent to make it. In other words, society is the product of all our commonground behaviour. And if this rude, insensitive, and pretty much asshole like behaviour is cementing itself as being acceptable then we don’t need to make any moral claims to the future… That will be a redundancy. This is the 101 of human behaviour. And it is slowly but surely getting lost.

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Everyone who I told this story, basically just shrugged and asked me “what do you want?”… “People are like this today.” No, I am sorry, they are most certainly not like that. I deny the possibility and I also resist the temptation of verifying it. The people I chose to deal with are my circle and in my circle I demand a certain standard, and the most basic understanding to me is that if you cannot make an appointnment, you at least pick up a phone and cancel. This is like the 101 your mum or your dad ought to have told you when you were little. And if not, hey, it’s still time to learn.

I am so sick of this shit. In Ibiza standards do tend to get lowered by the watering down of boundaries, by the mixing of different cultures and different standards.

So, I am going to tell you guys which kind of behaviour is really totally unacceptable:

1) not cancelling an appointment, and basically being a “no-show” – highly penalised in my book, I am dead serious. There are thousands of ways: phone, email, facebook, whatsapp, twitter (or even excusing oneself through a third person, even though this is pretty iffy… but at least it’s something)

2) being extremely late and not excusing oneself. I am not talking about the socalled academic 15 minutes. I am talking about serious time here.

3) not answering one’s emails – also not really courteous, respectful or nice… can be excused in some cases, but basically is neither welcome nor promising either.

4) Being closed-minded. Being hard of hearing in a metaphorical sense. Be a good listener – it does make such a big difference as people generally don’t want to listen anymore. They just want to tell things. The most challenging thing today seems to be to have an open ear for someone. I try it every day. And believe me, it is so rewarding. Whenever I do it, I feel I am being me, I learn sometimes something from doing it, and I get one step closer to being the kind of human being I aspire to be.

5) saying please and thank you in general… I feel terrible even having to write this down. But there are so many cases each and every day where I feel inclined to slap some people’s faces… and it just seems so normal to be impolite that you feel weird even being polite. And this is just soooo wrong… to me, this would go without saying that of course, you need to say thank you but there seems to be a tendency that some people might find this acceptable. I personally find this kind of thank you is very important as a motivation factor and therefore and also out of sheer courtesy ought to be said. However, society as well as their benchmarks are changing.

6) To be honest, truthful and still be polite, this seems to be today a contradiction in terms as it is. Either people slap you in the face verbally or they suck up to you. But you rarely get a moment of truth which is even made sweeter by someone who is actually capable of serving you some truth in a polite and understandable form. This is such a dying species. Please don’t become extinct. It is so important to have true friends who will tell you things, important things and still be able to remain your friends because they might do it in such a way that you can actually learn from each other. This is something I totally miss these days. There are hardly any people around who combine both properties.

7) Be moderate. People tend to brag about themselves so much. Where is moderation and modesty gone? I sometimes don’t believe the exaggerations I tend to hear. Basically, this means that you need to reduce everything you hear by someone from outside your circles by a certain ratio. This is truly exhausting. Actually, you could even say… that lying is becoming trendy.

8) Being helpful. This is again a dying species in mankind. DO not always think first in the good someone else can do for you. Think first and foremost in the relation that you might be having with any given person. See the person. Do not see them directly as a competitor, as an enemy, as someone who might steal your show. This actually is so annoying.

9) Be respectful. I know there are a lot of moments when I lose my temper and I might also not be overly respectful to some people and I feel ashamed for it. But the mainstream of today’s world seems to be – the less respectful you are, the farther you get. This is bullshit. Try learning, try studying, try outsmarting people. That’s the way to go. And don’t think you’re better than someone else. First of all, it is all relative. Secondly, respect your fellow men. And thirdly, does it really matter?

10) Be kind. Kindness is something I am really missing big time in the new century. Kindness used to be all around. And the past 12 or thirteen years or so I have the feeling that kindness is often mistaken for weakness. As if kind people could not be strong… Or that tough people need to be unkind and therefore they show their real tough nature. This is so wrong. That’s again skindeep.

11) Don’t judge people. Who are you to judge someone else?

12) Don’t insult or write flame-mails to people. I am serious. This is the worst. Things are somewhat seriously getting out of hand. It went that far that I did not want to open my email account but I can only say. There are lessons to be learnt here. I don’t know which ones yet.

I am so not a preacher. And I don’t want to be one either. But I needed to vent in this case. And be sure, I know, I am so not in the position to preach anyone either. I do a lot of wrong things my end, believe me. But, at least, I am aware of it and I try to mend, I try to become better, someone nice and someone I would truly love to meet. If this were the maxim, if this were the bottom line, then we all could not go wrong. If we all became just a little the people we ourselves would love to meet in the street, at the school meeting, in the press conference, in the board meeting, at the music concert, at the gas station.

Little changes. If everyone does their bit, we all might get along better, and this little could go a long way.

 

 

I would really love to get feedback on this one here. How do you feel about the way that society is changing slowly into?

Part TWO.

As promised here comes part two of this dual post that I ventured today. I know it is a bit of a stretch for some people. But to be honest, I don’t think that these topics are too far apart.

Both deal with death in some way. One deals with the way, that some people may feel inclined to take their own lives away and the other topic is about the manner, a very modern manner to prevent a death that is also in some way endogenetic. It is something that comes from inside you.

Before I go any deeper into the matter, let me get one thing clear: I do admire Mrs Jolie as a an actress, as a mother of her many children, and also as a beacon for many charity projects. She does good and she keeps talking about it. Which is perfectly legitimate to me.

However, what I felt was a bit hard to swallow was the supposed altruism that went with the breast story. I don’t quite believe it was that altruistic. But I may be wrong. If I am wrong, I will retract my statement and I will be first to state it here.

Reasons for my concern?

– She is a filmstar.

– She is a multimillionaire

– She is someone used to standing in the public eye and she knows damn well what publicity is and also what public sympathy is

– She is getting money for her media exposure (hmmm… makes you wonder somehow… )

But on the other hand, I want to try and be objective.

Ok, here goes.

Let me put myself in her place. I am a woman of three biological children and four (?) adopted ones. Me and my husband are working truly hard on our career. Then, I get this health check, and someone who is into selling genetic tests which are the latest fad and actually still way too expensive that a large population group might actually access it. So they are running a scan with my genetic material. Ok. I have no idea if she was specifically looking for hereditary conditions or it was a pure random find. Well. Shit. I get scared. I don’t want to die. Like my mum who died at 56. I have kids. I have a husband. So yes, after she had her mother die on her at the age of 56, I think it is perfectly legitimate or ok to have a genetic scan, more so, since she has got the money.

BUT DOES SHE HAVE TO IT PUBLICLY???
DOES SHE NEED THE PUBLIC APPROVAL???

OR … HEY… IS IT JUST A MEDIA SCAM… ??? Yes, in my humble opinión, it really is. AND NOTHING BUT.

FACTS?

That treatment Mrs Jolie got is something that millions of women around the globe would love to do for themselves because they too have some hereditay cáncer in their family. Trouble is… Ain’t gonna happen. They will never be able to do. Because such a scan is immensely expensive. I guess at this particular moment in time, Slim chances if you are on public health… I very much doubt it that public health will a) run a health scan that profoundly and that deeply to make you aware of your specific risks. and b) even if you know it, there is still no way, that public health is going to pay for a preventive breast amputation PLUS reconstructive surgery. NO… Sorry, until someone can prove me wrong I am SIMPLY NOT INCLINED to believe that this is possible. And no, I live in the real world. Where I see each and every day how important things are being taken away from patients each and every day, so please don’t sell me this BULLSHIT about we have such a good health system.

I can prove that the health system is really pretty poor. And you don’t have to go very far to see it. You can see and experience it each and every day. The point is as long as you’re healthy, you don’t get to see it. But as soon as you need it, you will very quickly learn about the shortcomings of this Rajoy new economic wunderkind… It is sad. Spain is not a paragon country in terms of medicine like it used to be. That thing is for sure.

If you can afford to be in a private health scheme, then, you may get to see the benefits of modern medicine, but not on public health. Sorry, I am not buying it.

And here we are. Amidst the actual discussion about the real problema here… This is not about the breast glands of MRS JOLIE at all, this is about the SOCIAL DISPARITIES which are getting bigger and more and more irreversible and so tragic that we need to focus on what is happening here. This is really some kind of BRAIN WASH. Please be aware that there are thousands of women who die each year because they can’t pay their medical bills. And here I am talking about the US, about Germany, about Spain and about many other countries.

When we look at the oath of Hippocrates. What did he state? Think about it for a minute. We have to have ethical concerns. Not only financial ones and ones that keep our company’s margin in the win zone. This is not Harvard business school. This is about the lives of people. This is about people who will be scared. This is about some bad media scam. Don’t believe everything the media agencies feed you. They pay a huge amount of money to plant these articles… That is not a fairy tale. This is the 101 of social media. Be aware!!!

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Getting back to Hippocrates: My question would therefore be –  Is it ETHICAL to promote a possibility to prevent hereditary cancer when at least 90% of all affected women are not able to access that particular treatment.

I would venture to say NO!

Because? Because pharmaceutical companies don’t want to ruin their return business. That is why…

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It is a sad joke, but it is true. Think about it. Please.

And if I make myself the devil’s advocate, I could even go further and ask really shyly if Mrs Jolie got some shares of the company who is offering this genetic scan and thus the possibility to shake up millions of women who adore Mrs Jolie and won’t hear about PREVENTION or EARLY DETECTION because now…. AMPUTATION WILL BE ALL THE RAGE…

And that, to my mind, is in the deepest sense of the word CRIMINAL. Because thus, innocent and non-suspecting citizen are being scared into the GENETIC SCAN HYPE and therefore they will act like lemmings. Without a clue but with a huge feeling of panic in their hearts. If Mrs Jolie does it, it’s gotta be worth it….

No, hang on, the world is not a children’s birthday party. It does not work like that. Pharmaceutical as well as researching companies are hard-headed business men, they are market vultures. They will prey on the media scare and hope to devour many female souls who is scared shitless. And yes, I think, this is depraved.

And no, I would not even consider having such a genetic scan, even if I had the money. But I must say, I have a definitive opinion on that one. And it largely brings me back to those years when I used to be a Young girl helping out at my dad’s practice, who used to be a gynaecologist. Think about the patient’s welfare, Think about her as a human being. Breasts are the epitome of a female anatomy. To take it away and not be able to reconstruct it, because that would be the bottom line for women who probably could venture to get a genetic check, and even get the result that yes, they are indeed affected, but then, hey, sad thing, but the reconstruction… Hm, that is something you have to pay on your own…

I am 42 years of age. I recently had a mammogram because I think it is about time I had one after two years or so. It is nothing that I like but I do know… if something fishy is going on I would like to know about it as son as possible.

If people acted responsibly, they would first make it a REAL ROUTINE for women to get a mammogram or at least an ECHO once a year. That way, a lot of the cancers would have a much better to be caught. Truth is… Genetic scans only tell you one thing. The ratio of how high a risk you have to get cancer. But apart from hereditary there are more and more environmental, nutritional and other factors that can or cannot contribute to your personal risk to develop cancer.

My plea would be to really get away from being star struck and start to think why such a multimedia star like Angelina Jolie, ok, she may have done it for the right reasons, was placed in the NEW YORK TIMES to have her article printed… This is the global media machinery. She and her cancer story is industry fodder and water on the mill for the company owner who will rub his hands now… And believe me… If he was such a medicine hero… why would he not cross subsidise the Price of this genetic scan and thus permitting empiric data finds.,.. This would truly be a heroic gesture.

One thing which is positive, however, is that we started to talk about cáncer more freely which is good. And this helps to raise awareness. Point taken. But to know about a decisión, which I deem to be basically the result of a media scam by some genetic scan company owner is something iffy… if you get me.

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I honestly think we are still quite far away from viewing any heroes in this article. Sorry to say so, but this is my humble opinion. As much as I like Angelina Jolie on the silver screen. Her presence in the media especially with this topic has been a thorn in my side. She is helping someone out there to earn millions and millions of dollars by scaring the shit of women to do costly genetic testing they don’t need, and basically, for her, it may have been a load of her chest to do the operation and to subsequently talk about it…. But honest? Wouldn’t it have been braver to keep the mouth shut about something where you know that millions and millions of women can’t afford to go the same way as you, and you kind of dangle a carrot in front of their noses… Um… Uh… Don’t think she gets my vote for WOMAN OF THE YEAR…

Angelina

I would really love to see more people do TRULY ALTRUISTIC THINGS, like make this genetic scan free… so any woman who wants to have it, can have it. That would be good in two ways. More data material would be collected. And secondly, the fear factor would considerably be reduced. I do think that prevention is still good and still very important. But if you have such a strong weapon against cancer, why would you not try to make it accessible to everyone???

No, I am not involved in medicine in any way. I don’t write for a company who is targeting this genetic testing company. I am just someone who is concerned about the media shit we are being fed each and every day. And if something gets on the wrong side of me, I feel my conscience and want to set the record straight. This is how I operate when I read something that I find worth commenting on.

And this is why I wrote this article. I hope you found it helpful and to some extent illuminating. I guess I might have clarified some issues. If not, do use the comment section below the text.

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