Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jurando Bandera

There was a ceremony in the square last Sunday, a kind of 'Jura de Bandera' for civilians. I had never heard of such a thing before. They seemed to be mostly young people, and they made a weekend of it, as they were out in evening dress on Friday.

It turns out not to be such a new idea, though I don't know how old it is. The ceremony I am familiar with was carried out at the end of miltary service, and consisted of the soon-to-ex-soldiers parading around the barracks square, filing past and touching the national flag, listening to the colonel, the captain, the sergeant and some local politician droning on interminably about duty and country, and swearing to be eternally available to the nation in time of need before going off to get drunk and trying to forget the whole ghastly business.

In any case I assume it's for the young. But it looked just like the military ceremony it imitates, and there were soldiers there, a military band, and groups marching in formation with rifles and machine guns. One of them had a saw, rather than a gun, in a holster on his back. Why, I wonder? In fact I have just seen there was a whole group with tools- axes and picks- as well as the saw. From an engineering regiment, perhaps.

Military service was finally abolished in Spain about 12 years ago, so the patriotic youth no longer get the chance to swear allegiance to the flag while dressing up and having their photo taken for the local newspaper. The girls never did, of course, nor did those who were not suited or who found a way to slide out of it. I haven't found much on the origins of the civilian version, but I understand it is quite old. WHat surprises me it that there should be any demand at all for such a thing. But there is, and the human tapestry just got richer.


Sackerson said...

Workers of the world uniting? Spain has a history of these little swirly movements, doesn't it, as harbingers of bigger changes coming? The continuing (growing) bank instability is worrying, what with the high youth unemployment etc. What do people tell you it's about, and who's organising it?

CIngram said...

The 'swirly' movement (I assume you mean the 15M) doesn't seem to have a clear origin. It started, and to a certain extent reemerged this year, as an apparently genuine attempt by a breakaway group from mainstream political parties to draw attention to the lack of political accountability in the supposedly democratic system that governs us. The usual hippes, communists, self-proclaimed anarchists and the generically disaffected joined in, but, although there was some violence in the bigger cities, it didn't degenerate the way these things usually do.

On the other hand, I don't think they have achieved anything much. The crisis is so deep that the government has little choice but to do what it is doing. No one seems to care about the banks, because few people understand economics beyond their paypacket and their mortgage (neither do I, really).

Youth unemployment, and unemployment in general, is very high but the dole is more generous than it's ever been which migt have cushioned the effects to some extent. Some of the government-run building societies collapsed a couple of years ago, and it didn't seem to affect people very much, so they're not too bothered about Bankia now.

I have my mortgage with Bankia, and apart from the queues getting longer at the till, I haven't noticed any difference yet.

I don't really have my ear to the street, so if there's revolution tomorrow I'll be as surprised as anyone, but Spain, socially speaking, is still a long way from being Greece.

It all looks pretty stable to me, despite teh poor economic present and future. One thing you notice is that everyone expects someone else to pay to resolve the situation. I think that's behind a lot of the trade union activity over the last couple of years, and especially the last few months. Everyone who has organise representation wants to make it clear that they'll make a big fuss if the recovery costs them anything personally.

Apart from that, I don't know taht I can tell you much.