dilluns, 7 de març de 2011

Missing Items

It never ceases to amaze how here (and anywhere else, for that matter) certain news items – no matter how remarkable - just never make it into the mainstream media. Recently two long-running news stories of this type are about to reach the term of their natural lives in Catalonia, that is to say, both will soon be resolved one way or the other by court cases. News item one is known by the few who have heard of it as the Jona affair: on October 13th of 2006, a young Barcelonan man, Jonathan 'Jona' Ivorra, was arrested in his own home by a squad of balacavaed Mossos d'Esquadra and accused of damage to public property and violent behaviour towards police officers during a recent neighbourhood demonstration against property speculation in the city's Ciutat Vella district. At the station, he was stripped naked and verbally abused. In 2008, the preliminary hearing came up and even his own lawyers found the judge's demands hard to swallow: 8 years in prison and a 3000 euro fine. By the time you read this, the trial to determine whether he will be sent down for nearly a decade will have taken place (on the 1st of March). Item two is the Auditori cafeteria scandal: last July, the Laie bookstore/cafeteria chain purchased the franchise of the Auditori concert hall cafeteria, vowing to respect the previous owner's contract with the workers there. However, on returning to work at the end of August, these same workers found that nine of them had been laid off, and that the rest had had their salaries cut significantly. Since September 1st, come rain, shine or snow, the workers, eighteen in all, have picketed every day, seven days a week, outside the cafeteria (now staffed by illegally employed workers on verbal contracts). Both the extraordinary case of Jonathan Ivorra, subject for years to the psychological pressure of possible long-term imprisonment, and that of the sacked Auditori workers, who have been protesting daily, and highly visibly, for the last six months, have been ignored by every single mainstream Catalan news publication. Until now.

Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, març de 2011

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