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July 28, 2002
Sympathy for the little guy

By Alex Dominguez
from the truth, justice and the Gallego way dept.
MERA (Oleiros, La Coruña) España (JNS) _ On the radio, the socialists in Congress urge conservative president Jose Maria Aznar to return relations with Morocco to normal as soon as possible following that morning’s retaking of an island the size of two football fields. Spain has much invested in the advancement of Morocco, they warn.

In the fashionable beach town of Sta. Cristina ``Palestina Vencera!’’ (Palestine will win!) and ``Galiza Nova’’ screams out from a 6-foot by 2-foot stencil on the temporary masonry block wall of an unoccupied bajo _ the term for a commercial space in the bottom of a condominium building.

Nationalism pervades, but so does a sense of fairness and sympathy for the little guy in the region which has seen waves of emigrants, and now immigrants. A nearby park has a monument to Jose Marti, the national hero of Cuba, with phrases in Gallego etched on the sides of the monument.

_ ``Nada fatiga como repouso,’’ ``Nothing tires like rest.’’

_ ``Trincheira de ideas vale mais que trincheiras de pedras,’’ ``Trenches of ideas are worth more than trenches of stone.’’

_ ``Patria e humanidade – e preferable o ben de moitos a opulencia de poucos,’’ ``Homeland and Humanity _ the good of many is preferable to the opulence of the few.’’

A columnist tells in the morning paper how his father, as a student, tried to hide in the hills during the Civil War. Franco was from Galicia, but there was also sympathy for the plight of those tied to the land. The war dragged on, and he was captured and sent to dig trenches on the front. He was wounded working for an army whose cause he didn’t support and still blames himself for not fighting for the democratic Republicans, the columnist says.

The man who lived across from Rosario, growing potatoes until he died last year, also harbored regrets.

``El plan de Marshall, el plan de Marshall,’’ he could be heard saying derisively.

Spain did not receive any Marshall Plan funding after World War II _ Germany started the war, and received aid, but Spain was still under fascist rule. The WWII years were filled with hunger for many as the country recovered from the Civil War of the late 30s, and many were bitter when aid did not arrive when the war in the rest of Europe ended.

Rosario’s mother never spoke of politics. It has been more than a year since Feliza died at age 97, and the memories are still fresh for Rosario of those last few months _ the end of 24 years taking care of her.

She still had a good appetite until she died in her chair by the stove and the window on an April day.

Feliza asked for everyone, alive and dead, at times, even though the two had lived by themselves for years.

``Grito un noite pa a dua de la madruga. `Sto moriendo do fame, fai me un par de huevos,’ ’’ Rosario remembers.

(She cried out one night, about two in the morning. `I’m dying of hunger, make me a pair of eggs.’)

``Ti vais a despertir a todos,’’ (you’re going to wake everyone up) she told her mother.

``Ben, fai me un par de huevos.’’

Posted by Alex at July 28, 2002 11:52 PM
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