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Darth Vader


Dear friends,

 

I wrote my previous report in the middle of the biggest roundabout in the center of Madrid. Not a single car drove by. People had formed a huge circle to close off the square, and while I was wandering in my mind through the streets of our village, they danced around me singing.

   So what happened yesterday, Saturday? It was the day the new city council was sworn in, and we wouldn’t let this occasion pass by quietly. "Everyone to Plaza de Villa with pots and pans!"

The police was well prepared this time. They sealed off almost an entire neighbourhood. We couldn’t enter the square. But I'm sure they heard us. All entrances were blocked by groups of people banging their spoons on pots and pans. And I can tell you, it makes a lovely noise.

   After a short walk through the multicultural neighbourhood with my friend Ronaldo I come back to Puerta del Sol. The megaphone announces that police is charging.

   "Where?" I ask someone.

   "Calle Bailen."

   "Here in Madrid?"

   "Yes. At the town hall. "

   It’s happening, and dammit I'm not there. I walk over to Communications. "Vamonos! Vamonos! Everyone to city hall! It’s going down!"

   Off we go. With a megaphone and a healthy pace. Whoever stays behind looks up the images from the livestream.

   "Why are we going anyway?" Mehmet asks. "There’s nothing we can do at this point."

   "Of course there is! When there’s a charge you should be there. First of all, you must witness it, so you’ll be able to testify. Second, you should be there to create mass. Our only weapon against violence is our number."

   We arrive on the spot, we ask around. We reap conflicting messages. Yes, the police have dragged people away. But real violence has not been used. They wanted to create an escape route for the lords of the municipality. The inauguration in the old city hall is over at this point. Now they are on their way to the new city hall in the Plaza de Cibeles, to have lunch.

   "Everyone to Cibeles!"

   On the way there I pop in at Communications. The livestream is working. We see a line of police officers with helmets marching through a narrow street. There’s people all around. They’re humming the sinister march of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

   Adrenaline starts flowing. The masses are taking possession of the boulevards. It’s fantastic. Each day every single one of us has to play by the rules. Those rules are not ours. But when you're all together, you can play your own game. And then you can decide the rules yourself.

   We walk over the boulevard of Alcalà, singing, up until the roundabout of Cibeles. There is an enormous cream pie palace over there, all topped off by towers and frills. It's the old post office. The little bigwigs of Madrid have appropriated it. They know no humility. We will teach them. I arrive with the first group. But we’re not enough to block all the traffic. Two police officers make a brave attempt to guide the cars along the crowd. Then we see the next group coming towards us from a distance. Critical mass. We hug each other like brothers and we sit down on the roundabout.

   But then what? Sometimes the spontaneity of our movement is bordering on naivety. It's noon, it’s hot on the asphalt in the sun. So what do we do?

   We dance around. I'm cooling off with my feet in the fountain, writing, while the people of the movement are hopping around me in a wide circle, singing.

 

All the best,

Oscar

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