jueves, 30 de mayo de 2013


The other week the subterranean traveller was watching the nine o'clock news, as he often does, and he was thrown right into a police chase, or manhunt, as it's called these days. The police of Boston Massachusetts USA were after a young man, a teenager really, whom they suspected of complicity in the bombings at the finish line of the city's previous weekend's marathon race, a heinous act which would kill three people and wound multiple others; since the scrap filled bombs exploded sideways, mostly by cutting into ankles and legs, often so severe amputation was necessary. The traveller, having heard of the story before, had ceased to be disgusted by the apparent senselessness of the act. He started wondering about some of the other characteristics surrounding this miserable deed and its aftermath.

Firstly, he asked himself: why does a manhunt in the greater Boston area receive 15 minutes coverage on prime time Catalan evening news? Check for a sample operació policíaca de Boston . And after he had zapped some channels, why was it shown on all available news channels in his area, either national or regional, commercial or government controlled? Hadn't anything worthwhile happened in Spain that day, perhaps? The ever deepening crisis, ups and downs along a descending slope; the ongoing revelations about the illegal financing scheme of partido popular, with its leadership denying undeniable facts for a response; the daily refreshed list of minor corruption cases around the country; the never ending struggle between Catalunya and Spain, currently involving the educational system, budget tightening beyond repair and the possibility of Catalan independence as an answer to Madrid's inability to address the issue of a strongly felt need for greater Catalan autonomy; had all these topics suddenly been resolved or simply lost their importance? And knowing the answer to be an absolute no, since none of these problems had been dealt with nor would they ever in a satisfying and intelligent way, the subterranean wondered in how many countries around the globe news stations were airing the same live footage of thousands of police and military troops hunting down a lonely and in all likelyhood severly wounded 19 year old, a university student not previously known for his fighting skills or love of arms. How many people on planet Earth had been following the Boston hunting party on their tv screens?
Why is it so important we all share the same negative experience, the traveller asked. Would the citizens of the world perhaps frequent Mc Donald's more often if they were fed American crime in stead of learning about what's happening in their own town or country?

The subterranean traveller kept watching until he couldn't stand all the shouting and profiling any longer and then turned to the internet for further detailing. And that's when new questions arose, dozens of unanswered and perhaps difficult to answer questions. He wondered, why would somebody want to bomb a marathon? Why would somebody who presumably aimed to hurt American citizens for what the US is doing to Iraq and Afghanistan, choose a local sports event known for its international participation? Then the young man and his older brother, already killed it seemed, were suddenly linked with Chechen nationalism and the traveller wondered, where's the win situation in making an issue of that?

The traveller got into detail of the narrative, the official one that is, with some commentators warning not to believe everything being told, and he became instantly overwhelmed with new questions. Everything seemed so bizarre. Why was there a fire drill going on when the bombs exploded, a type of coincidence now almost habitual whenever a terrorist attack occurs? Why had the FBI been in contact with the elder brother for at least two years, encouraged him to seek spiritual refuge in militant islamism, yet failed to notice his apparent radicalisation towards terrorist attitudes?

Why was it, that after the initial confusion only one narrative stood to be played out? How did the police know the two men seen walking away were definitely the ones they were looking for? Why did all this remind the subterranean of the London bombings in the summer of 2005, where a couple of youngsters carrying backpacks were identified as the perpetrators and then after police shot the wrong guy nothing much was heard of them anymore?
The subterranean traveller asked lots of questions and received very few answers. Can anybody tell him why police these days must look like the military while the military look like invaders from Mars?

The traveller asked other types of questions as well. Like, why do people collectively lock themselves up in their homes to let state hunters have a free go at a nineteen year old kid on the loose, a local university student whose involvement in the bombings is far from proven, just a suspect police would like to ask some questions?
Did the people from Watertown realise they had given the corporate politburo which passes for government these days free rein to hunt down one of their own, a young student who had lived in the region all his teenage life?
Do the dear people of Watertown understand this posture is not so different from how the good citizens of Germany let the nazi's quietly go about their particular manhunt, starting off on questionable yet strongly promoted moral issues in combination with incidental killings and then escalating upto a level which came to involve each and every once good citizen, the initial righteous fever soon girating into a dark desire to fully exterminate, in modern lingo to finish the job?

How do you make a young man who is seriously wounded in his throat, not able to speak and heavily drugged, produce a coherent chronicle of events in which he states how his elder brother persuaded him to participate, by merely nodding and shaking his head? What kind of questions does one ask a person who can only nod and shake in order to write an exciting, convincing and not nearly original story of two self-radicalised jihadist brothers acting on their own, the elder the initator and the one who would get shot, the younger influenced by his sibling and the one who fled away from the shoot-out in which his brother had been killed, starting a wild fox hunt in which one lonely wounded fox was hunted down by thousands of science-fictionally armed dogs – a story so near yet not precisely ! at the heart of people's expectations, that it manages to captivate the imagination of millions the world all over?

Such things he was thinking about, and he wondered who'd next be hosting the travelling mad war machine. Is it likely there are bets going on? How much does one make from getting it right? Is this why our politicians sell us out, because they are promised their good share for dirty work delivered? El puto máster of the universe, the one-up bandit, who is catching all the headlines today, is after all like most headline makers small bite compared to the real profiteers of destruction: those who believe they have the means to survive whatever is coming.

Inevitably, he turned sentimental. The subterranean often gets sentimental when truth closely appears. He asked himself a different kind of question, again. Honest emotions started running him over and the traveller made himself believe a good outcome merely depended on collective intelligent thinking, if anything else. Did the peoples of the world realise their leaders had stopped being decisive to their fate and that it all had become a matter of financial interests being played out? And if so, wasn't it time people stopped the machine? Isn't it time people stopped the machine?

With love,

The Subterranean Traveller

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