And no, this isn’t the way I proposed to my dear wife.
Apparently, a woman who said “No” to her ex-boyfriend’s proposal live on El Diario De Patricia was stabbed in the neck five days later.? Svetlana Orlova, who died in hospital on Monday, had already suffered violence at the hands of? Ricardo Antonio Navaro and didn’t know that he would be joining her on the TV show. The programme makers have said that they were completely unaware of Navaro’s history of domestic violence for which he had already been given a suspended prison sentence (and a restraining order to keep him away from Orlova). “You’re everything. Everything. Forever”, he told her.
It looks likely that the humiliation of a public rebuttal pushed this nasty man over the edge and that five days later, he stabbed the woman he professed to love. What a sad story. Domestic violence against women still appears to be a major problem in this country: 63 women have been killed so far this year.
As you have probably seen, Hugo Chavez was told to shut up the other day by king Juan Carlos during an international conference. Chavez was boorish as usual, using flamboyant insults to lambaste former Spanish president Aznar as a ‘fascist’ (not strictly correct – Aznar was a falangist, which isn’t quite the same thing). When current president Zapatero stepped in to say ‘Steady on, old boy’, Chavez wouldn’t stop interrupting him, despite his microphone being turned off. At this point, Juan Carlos did his bit for international diplomacy by saying “Why don’t you just shut up?”.
The general feeling in the media is that most Spaniards are pretty happy about their king taking Chavez down a peg, but the people I’ve spoken with don’t sound quite so pleased. Chavez was being a complete prick, as usual, but JC didn’t make himself look much more civilised by telling him to shut up, and then storming out of the conference. A friend said to me “He shouldn’t have said that… that’s not how you talk to people at these sorts of events”. And I agree. The king, for all the short term ‘macho’ points he might have earned, didn’t do much to make Spain look like the modern, civilised democracy we know it to be. He may also have piled some more risk onto Spain’s relations with Latin America, which could affect trade and the economy. No, it was an unhelpful flare of temper and not much more.
One man did make Spain look good, and that was Zapatero. In the coverage on the UK’s Channel 4 News, ZP was praised for his composure and diplomacy. Oh, and apparently, our cousin Mariano Rajoy telephoned the king to thank him for sticking up for Aznar… but failed to call Zapatero to thank him. What a petty, poisonous little man Rajoy is. He’s almost worse than Aznar.
In an utterly unsurprising move, the Vatican has beatified 498 Roman Catholics who died ‘as martyrs’ in the Spanish Civil War. These men and women died at the hands of leftist (mostly anarchist) fighters during that terrible conflict. The Catholic Church has been criticised for not recognising victims from the other side in the war: but why would they? After all, the Catholic Church in Spain openly supported Francisco Franco’s mutiny: that’s the main reason Catholic officials were attacked. Before you apologists-for-fascism start foaming at the mouth, I’m not trying to justify the fact that monks, nuns and priests were killed. I will, however, point out that plenty of Catholic officials were agents of the fascists, and that when the Church (or its officials) took sides in the war, it had to expect casualties.
The timing of this beatification is also somewhat mysterious (read: very well planned). It coincides with the introduction of a new law here which will change the way the crimes of the Civil War and dictatorship are officially remembered. Apparently, part of the new law demands that churches remove Franco-era memorials. Don’t forget: however many died at the hands of the disparate Republican forces, there’s no question that the fascists killed far more innocents, both during and after the Civil War. The Church was also arguably the greatest victor of the Civil War: it was handed total control of education and morality in Spain for decades.
That the Vatican should indulge some of its more right-wing supporters in a move clearly aimed at dividing opinion in Spain, should surprise no one. This is, after all, the same organisation which is led by a former Hitler-youth member, an organisation which persists in claiming that European countries are intentionally spreading HIV-aids via wicked condoms in African countries. It seems a shame that such an antiquated and morally dubious body should hold sway over so many people around the world. In fact, over the last century it is very likely that Christianity has been responsible for more death and unhappiness than Islam. The sooner we rid ourselves of the lot of them, the better.