Sunday, September 17, 2006

It’s official. The dreadful August fires in Galicia were not the result of a criminal plot involving property developers, drug smugglers, timber merchants and/or paper mill owners. According to the special team sent by the Guardia Civil, they either stemmed from disputes between neighbours or were the work of mental defectives or alcoholic pyromaniacs. In each case, able assistance was supplied by the tinder-dry undergrowth and the persistent strong wind from the north east. The question left hanging is - But why only in Galicia? The wind was hardly confined to this region and other wooded areas of northern Spain must surely have their share of jealous neighbours, nutters and drunks. And today’s Voz de Galicia poses an even bigger question – Why no resignations? Is it really necessary – the paper asks – for a politician to be found with his hand in the till before he’s forced to quit? Seems so.

Galician Fact: The Spanish bury their dead in horizontal niches in a long, multi-tiered building inside a walled graveyard. Up near Finisterra, there’s a celebrated cemetery designed by Cesar Portela, one of those architects whose every work is greeted with sycophantic approbation no matter how bad it looks. In this case, there’s no walled graveyard and no long buildings. Instead, there’s a group of concrete cubes apparently placed randomly on the hillside. It was designed for 216 bodies but it’s not a popular place and no one is dying to get in. In fact, although it’s been open for 8 years, it’s completely empty and the cubes are under siege from the undergrowth. The only thing dead there is the graveyard itself. Which all seems to me to be a very eloquent testament to Mr Portela’s work. Looks like he’ll have the place to himself.

Here’s a link for those who want to see what the place looks like.

The Voz de Galicia confirmed today the selling of driving licence points is not an urban myth and claims the price can reach 600 euros a point. It also talked of the practice of family members assuming responsibility for the offences of others, citing the case of an 80 year old woman who turned up at the police station and insisted it was she who’d been clocked at 200kph in a powerful Audi. They didn’t believe her but I hope I’m treated with more respect when it’s my turn. Even if I have been going at this speed the wrong way down an autopista. Age surely brings a few privileges.

1 comment:

Biopolitical said...

Those arrested by the Guardia Civil are not representative of those who start fires in Galicia. "Mental defectives" and "alcoholic pyromaniacs" are the easier to get caught in the act. Maybe revengeful neighbours are also easy to catch, because their victims perhaps inform the police - but I don't really know. In any case you are right that the big questions remain - why in Galicia and not elsewhere? Why mainly in certain areas within Galicia? Why in those areas of Galicia where free-ranging, often illegal livestock are most abundant?

Note also that the Guardia Civil has an incentive to say that they are doing a good job arresting those responsible for the fires, and that they are not missing the main culprits. So they will try to convince us that their arrests tell the whole story.