Tuesday, July 20, 2004


One of my problems with Spain is always having to be on guard when reading the Spanish press. You know how you can pick up your favorite newspaper, and go through all the news and OpEd pages, generally feeling content and hoping for the next bit? Well, don't have that here. Sometimes I feel trapped in a Seinfeld episode, you know, the one about the Anti-Dentite:

Jerry: Hi, Mr. Abbott.

Mr. Abbott: That's Dr. Abbott, D.D.S. Tim Whatley was one of my students. And if this wasn't my son's wedding day, I'd knock you teeth out you anti-dentite bastard.

Beth: What was that all about?

Jerry: Oh, I said something about dentists and it got blown all out of proportion.

Beth: Hey, what do you call a doctor who fails out of med school?

Jerry: What?

Beth: A dentist. (They laugh)

Jerry: That's a good one. Dentists.

Beth: Yeah, who needs 'em? Not to mention the Blacks and the Jews. (Jerry fakes a smile)

A little later

Elaine: Where's Beth?

Jerry: She went out to get her head shaved.
It's like, just when you think you've figured out a newspaper for instance, they say something that puts everything you thought you knew about them on its head. Take Spanish newspaper ABC for instance. I read ABC daily, think it's one of the more conservative newspapers here, and seem to get it right most of the times.

But then today it runs a backgrounder on (link in Spanish) on Musa Arafat, Yasser's cousin and recently promoted from his old spot as security chief in Gaza to the PA's security chief, only to be demoted back again within 24 hours. ABC's Juan Cierco tells of his torture practices, his Jewish nickname "Moshe" his enemies have given him, and he recalls how Musa Arafat was involved in the death of a Spanish kid, who lived with his parents in 'Palestine', and who got shot during a protest march in Ramalah:
El 25 de octubre de 1998, mucho antes de la Intifada de Al Aqsa que luego tapó todo, Musa, «Moshe», mandaba los Servicios Militares de Información de Ramala cuando dio el visto bueno para que sus hombres dispararan a bocajarro contra una manifestación pacífica de muchachos palestinos.

Los chavales protestaban contra sus prácticas abusivas y los registros de las oficinas de las juventudes de Al Fatah. Volaron algunas piedras, se quemaron varios neumáticos, se entonaron lemas contra los Arafat.

Una de esas balas, disparada con carga mortal y asesina contra jóvenes inocentes, fue a parar a la cabeza de un muchacho español, Wasim Tarifi Marín, de 16 años de edad, hijo del prestigioso doctor Yusef Tarifi y de Rosalinda Marín, una corajuda aragonesa que vive desde hace 25 años en Palestina y que desde aquellas dramáticas fechas lleva dibujada en su rostro la silueta de un dolor nunca apagado.

On 25 October, 1998, long before the Al Aqsa Intifadah, which later covered everything up, Musa, "Moshe", headed the military intelligence service in Ramalah when he gave approval to his men to open fire at a peaceful demonstration by Palestinian youths, at point blank range.

The kids were protesting the abusive practices [of the PA -V-Man] and house searches at the Al Fatah youth organizations. They threw some rocks, they lit some tires and shouted slogans against Arafat.

One of the bullets, shot to kill innocent youths, stopped at the head of a Spanish boy, Wasim Tarifi Marín, 16 years old and son of the renowned physician Yusef Tarifi and Rosalinda Marín, a brave woman from Aragon, who have lived in Palestine for over 25 years, and who since those dramatic days carry with them a never ending pain, carved in their faces.
Ok, let's skip the glorification of this Spanish Palestinian kid, anyone protesting Arafat because he's searching their offices (in the Clinton days of "Look, I'm dealing with terrorism!"), is on the wrong side of the wrong side, no matter who his parents are. I usually accept a certain nationalist chauvinism, this is a country where regional separatism plays a big part, which triggers an extra dose of national pride. And I'll skip the proze too. I know, it's like reading Pravda, or better still, anything coming out of Granma. I don't know what that is, except that journalists here consider themselves writers, much like tv news people consider themselves directors of their own little movies every night. Sois.

But then they close the article with this stinging remark:
Hoy Musa Arafat, «Moshe» para sus enemigos, nombre hebreo para un palestino que muchas veces no lo parece, campa a sus anchas odiado por casi todos.

Today, Musa Ararat, "Moshe" to his enemies, a Hebrew name for a Palestinian who often doesn't appear like one, seems at ease being hated by almost everyone.
Where's Juan Cierco?

He went out to get his head shaved.