Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hello World: welcome to the Basque Country... or what's wrong with police

25 years ago, when I was studying in the USA we had a canoing accident, well the other canoe had it and two friends got stranded in a island in the middle of a  river all wet and such. Eventually, after exhausting our helping potential we had to resort to the emergency services (including throwing a pack of matches in a lantern, which was eventually very helpful). Chris said: we have to go to the police. I felt very uncomfortable about it and, while I do not remember the exact conversation, certainly conveyed the idea of "I'd rather not". He dismissed my fears "explaining" to me that police in the USA were the good guys, not like in my country, he understood. 

However he was clearly wrong. Even if we obviously needed at that point any kind of help and local police was in fact the way to go, police is nowadays showing their real nature also in the USA, gratuitously beating peaceful demonstrators, often endangering their health... and being filmed in the act most of the time.

Why?, asks AlterNet and so many other well thinking US-Americans. Why?! Because they are police and they are paid to protect the Capitalist state and obey it. It's their job, which is a poor excuse but that's all those guys know. No, they won't go on strike in solidarity with their victims, no, they won't disobey their orders. In fact many are fascist thugs that enjoy being able to do that with almost total impunity.

I was not really wrong about distrusting the police in that accident and would my friend have been black instead of white, he'd probably have known better, because minorities, specially African Americans know that since always.

And Basques too. 

And so many others. 

So now when US-Americans wake up to the barely varnished fascist brutality of their state and their police (it's not just Oakland: it's everywhere), I feel vindicated in my understanding of the reality. 

I was later again in the USA, in New York City, where I was introduced to a Native American who sold stuff at the street. He told us a bit sarcastically: "Welcome to my country". I immediately noticed the sad wink. 

So now that US-Americans are waking up from the cushy dream of prosperity and apparent freedom... now that the violent reality of Capitalism shows itself in the shape of a rubber bullet shot against your head, of batons mercilessly destroying your body powerless on the floor... and what you haven't yet seen...

I have to bid you also a welcome: welcome to my reality, welcome figuratively speaking to the Basque Country, where all that is normal - sadly enough. 

It is of course not just the Basque Country: it is South-Central Los Angeles, it is Haiti, it is Colombia, it is West Sahara, it is Palestine, it is Kurdistan, it is Kashmir, it is Tibet, it is Chechnya, it is Ethiopia, it is Syria, it is Yemen, it is Greece... 

... and now it is also Oakland, Denver, Richmond, Washington D.C., New York, Tulsa, etc. 

Familiar for me, unexpected for you. With sadness I bid you welcome to my reality:

Welcome to the Basque Country, welcome to the Harsh Reality of the Capitalist State and its violence. 

I wish I could welcome you to a better place... but this is Hell in fact.

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