More of the same yesterday to begin our day: the Facultat uglified by barricades in each corridor (wo)manned by humourless, verbally aggressive students defending the ‘consensus’ reached by the assembly to stop all lecturing. We do whatever we can to defend our right to teach/learn: go on-line, go elsewhere… Our own English Studies students have signed a manifesto against the budget cuts and the ‘okupació’, which has earned them for ever a reputation as traitors (we’re very proud of them). Their votes will not be considered in the next assembly. By the way, the UAB student, teacher and admin personnel assembly that met yesterday claims we ALL back the protest. This is simply not true.

Here’s the oddest, scariest thing that happened yesterday. One of our female teachers –a sweet, fragile-looking one– tried to teach but, typically, access to her classroom was impossible. She and five or six students took refuge in her office; a picket member followed her –he called in a few more. These barbarians entered her office and when she protested, THEY UNHINGED HER DOOR, took it off. She called Campus Security, who were able to identify at least one of the perpetrators (an habitual offender) but claimed they had no authority to mandhandle them. They left the office in the company of the security men, we don’t know why everything considered, after putting the door back on its hinges. We duly reported the incident –a serious breach of the implicit norm that Department corridors are off limits to strikers. These, remember, were students in a public university we all pay for.

As I reported this aggression to the Dean I was thinking about its meaning and intention. Well, sorry, the intention needs no thinking about: you take off a door, the person inside can’t close it in your face, intimidation is absolute. The meaning lies partly in this, but there must be something else. It could well be that this is an action defined by the aggressors’ knowledge that it can’t be easily typified, hence punished. Is unhinging doors a crime or an offence?? Of course, it works perfectly as a terrorising strategy, since a) the victim feels unprotected, b) we all do, thinking that …

The antidote to all this is humour. This is no laughing matter, of course, but for you to see how little the protest has to do with protecting our collective right to learn, consider what goes on in this very witty sketch by the always perceptive José Mota (thanks, Ruben, for the link): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q6NwqGl4ZQ. Here the humour comes from the contrast between what we know about youth’s lifestyle in inner city areas (they don’t read) and how the ones in the video have chosen reading as a most pernicious anti-social activity.

I just wish that the unhinged protesters that unhinged that door would unhinge us all in that way…


  1. Just imagine a bunch of guys doing the same to, I don’t know, protest against the Catalan autonomy, whatever. There’s a deep-seated tolerance for the intolerable in Catalonia. Well, in many places in Spain, but somehow I sense there’s a more spectacular double standard in Catalonia, because somehow the authorities feel that it discredits the current status quo — and the solution? More Catalonia, of course!

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