War and Peace
Yes, I´m back from seeing my father and helping him with some things, accompanying him for a little while on the journey to his particular Wonderland. On the one hand, he is calmer than ever because he no longer remembers who he´s on bad terms with; he doesn't remember how to remain in a consistently paranoid state. He says extraordinary things because he doesn't see any difference between what he sees in the newspapers or TV and what happens at home. For instance, we watched together on his TV a 1956 John Ford movie with John Wayne (The Searchers,) and the next day, he told me that John and he were drinking some whiskey in the village and a bunch of Indians came in wanting to burn the saloon down. I told him, "The movie with John Wayne we saw last night was good." He answered, "That's right, it was very like the movie, but we didn't suffer a single loss, not a scratch. We had those savages' number, see? Too bad you weren't there, but the truth is that John and I did not need any help from anybody. And you are just a kid." He told me they bumped them off in twelve minutes and went back to their whiskey. I said to him, "It´s a good thing you were so lucky." "We didn't need luck," he corrected me. "No, of course not." It makes no sense to argue about those things. None whatsoever. If my father is happy and calm, everything is fine. But sometimes he gets overwhelmed by events that cause fear and imagines seeing dangerous people around him and, at that point, you have to see how to change the subject or soften the situation in the best way possible. The woman who looks after him during the day told me yesterday that he was very nervous because there were many terrorists on the terrace, and the police were in the garden doing nothing while the soldiers were running around with machine guns. He was hearing explosions, screams, everything. He was very upset for a couple of hours, but then he forgot everything, went back to thinking about something else and read a magazine about fly fishing. That night he told me there were fourteen brown bears and a hundred moose in the living room. I asked him whether they had shit everywhere, and he said no, that they were very clean animals.
I too have been without a computer for several days. I went to Palestine to present the movie, Loin des hommes (Far From Men) adapted from an Albert Camus story. Upon arriving in Madrid after having seen my father, I left immediately for Palestine to present the movie with its director, David Oelhoffen, in Ramallah, Nablus and the eastern part of Jerusalem (which supposedly is Palestinian territory but is actually controlled with a firm hand by the Israeli army, as is all of the Israeli-Palestinian territory.) I didn't want to take the laptop or the cellphone because some friends who had gone to Israel told me that the customs police had taken them on arrival in Tel Aviv, for having made critical comments about the brutal colonization of the lands and lives of the Palestinians for almost seventy years - something I have also publicly spoken about at times. The atmosphere is very tense there lately. When we were in Bethlehem looking at the horrible and illegal wall that the government of Israel has built to keep the colonized Palestinians apart from the Israelis - to protect, among other things, the settlers who have built their homes and swimming pools on land stolen from the Palestinians - we heard some shots nearby. We couldn't see what was happening on the other side of the wall, but we later found out that two Jewish settlers and a Palestinian boy had died. I had read a lot about the history of the area, and talked a lot with people from there - with Israelis and Palestinians, with journalists and activists - but I had never been in either Israel or Palestine. It's impressive, and often depressing, what one can see and learn. I suppose it's no worse than other colonial situations from the nineteenth century or earlier in its brutality and the despair of the oppressed citizens, but it's very sad. The situation is probably not as complicated as it might seem or as the government of Israel and its unconditional ally, the US, would like to paint it. As much as they try to justify the negative dynamics and the intransigence that reigns as if it were the most normal thing, it's simply a situation of the brutal colonization and oppression of old.
© Viggo Mortensen.
Like everybody else, I see how the Russians, Americans, British and other armies continue bombing Syria and Iraq, killing many more non-combatant civilians than enemy soldiers. After the Paris attacks, Hollande sent his air force to heavily bomb Syria and Iraq, asking his allies to join the disproportionate, out of place and chaotic Western military response. I think of Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz, who talked about military strategies, claiming, among other things, that the best way to confuse the enemy is not doing what they expect. What the terrorists of the Islamic State and other groups from the Middle East and East Asia expect is bombing by the Western countries. The criminal terrorists must be pursued with police tactics and using special forces, by land, through the Internet, using our heads. I sincerely believe that what the American, British and other governments have done since the attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 has been a total mess, a series of reactions, often understandable from the emotional side, but tragically wrong, that have increasingly put their citizens, and those of the countries the Western armies bomb, invade and occupy, in greater danger. The consequences are ever more destruction, more pain, more lack of communication, less hope, more refugees and more nastiness. This is leading us nowhere. We don´t create democracy, friends or peace that way.
And, yes, bye Cristina! Thank you for all the good you did - a lot - and we forgive you the administrative errors. I hope Macri doesn't destroy the progress made regarding education, public health services, the interconnection of citizens and historical memory for all the Argentines, especially for those who are not rich or live in Buenos Aires. The truth is that the transition began a bit clumsily with the monetary policy, the attitude towards the leftist media, and the imposition through the back door of new judges to the Supreme Court. We'll see how this evolves.
PS: What is the Carrera book about?
Hello Viggo, here in Baires [tr.note: Buenos Aires] after having been in Lima. Again with my laptop and writing to you. The author I read is Emmanuel Carrère but the bloody auto-correct in the laptop persists in calling him "Carrera." It's a nuisance. It corrects me, like my old man used to do when I was a child; he would tidy my room, everything. I inherited that from him and my wife and children will suffer for it. Here it's raining. Guada will be forty this Saturday and we are going to the countryside to celebrate with friends. Since we are arguing a lot in front of the children this year, Anita arranged for us to get married, so that we can make up with each other - so in the middle of the birthday party, if all goes well, we are going to have a little wedding. It's a make-believe wedding for Anita. I think that by then we will all be wasted with drinks and alcohol will power the spiritual part. For more than fifteen years, Guada and I have been united in spirit, with two children, and we will be until the mind - and not death - do us part.
More things: Returning from Palestine I found out in the cab that took me from Madrid airport to our home that Barcelona had thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu [tr. note: RM stadium]. The guy, about 65, was about to have a heart attack, his face red, scratching hard on his skull and the few hairs he had left. He shouted a monologue from the airport until I got out of the car. That Benitez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema had let him down. That Iker Casillas is an ace who should never have been sold, that Mourinho and Florentino Pérez destroyed [Real] Madrid… Anyway, I listened quietly and in complete agreement, and I only said "Go Madrid" when saying goodbye to the poor, wounded Merengue [tr. note: Real Madrid supporter]. It will pass, like everything else, and other matches will come, other challenges. I watched the Clásico replay the next day. Real Madrid had many opportunities, but theirs was not a well-oiled, collective game. Besides, Claudio Bravo saved very well for the Culés [tr. note: Barcelona supporters]. The local defence was terrible as it was so many times for Casillas during his last year dressed in white. Anyway, the League and the Champions are going ahead. The bombings continue in the Middle East and Western Asia, too.
I read in Marca, the propagandist newspaper of Real Madrid - and, to a lesser extent, of Atlético de Madrid - that Emilio Butragueño, the great Real Madrid striker in the 80's and 90's (who is now working in public relations for the club) retaliated against the accusations of the Spanish media saying that "Real Madrid is never embarrassing." Well, I don't know; lately the club I like most after San Lorenzo is always embarrassing. And I say that with all the respect in the world for "Buitre." I understand that he feels that he has to defend those who pay him. While that autocratic clown, Florentino Pérez, continues as president and in charge of signing players and coaches, I don't see how this lamentable situation is going to change for Real Madrid. It's a riot in the making; it's ridiculous.
El "Buitre" playing for Spain in the 1986 World …
In another Real Madrid match, when Benzema scored the 2-0 for Real Madrid against Getafe, Cristiano Ronaldo kept protesting about a penalty kick that the referee didn't give him, instead of shouting the goal with his teammate. When the Portuguese striker has it easy, playing against a team that is inferior (as was the case against Malmo in the Champions) or suffers a numeric disadvantage (as happened recently against a very valiant and, while playing 11 against 11, quite superior Rayo Vallecano), he scores a ton of goals, even all the penalty kicks that they give Madrid. But when the matches are jammed up and it's necessary to work collectively on the whole pitch, he gives up and feels sorry for himself. [He's] great against the lesser teams and small against the great ones. We're not going anywhere that way. What Barça is doing, and its lethal strikers Messi, Neymar and Suárez, is having fun playing soccer and in that way, being triumphant as a group. Benítez is not at fault for having too many stars and no collective example from the club directors other than grandiose pronouncements for the media from time to time by President Pérez, a capitalist blind to the smooth functioning and stability of the soccer club. Just keep buying more players and disrespecting your coach, Flo. Let's see how far we get in The Champions and in the League with that poor example of leadership. Team Florentino already screwed up the Copa del Rey by being such inept administration that they put Denis Cheryshev on the field against Cádiz when he was suspended. It was the fault of the president and his officials that Madrid was disqualified from the Copa del Rey, and even at that the guy insisted on his innocence and that of the club, giving one of his most absurd press conferences (and that's saying something) and on top of it allowing the blame to fall on Benitez when nothing could be done to appeal to Spain's Sports Administration Court. That business was as dumb as the one that cost the club to be unable to sign De Gea as a goalkeeper in the pre-season. That's how the most expensive ship with the most rotten rudder that sails the big sea of international soccer continues to embarrass itself on its long journey.
On the positive side, on a personal level, we have a new family member, Nina, a little pup. In the mornings she comes with me to buy the newspapers and bread. She's very intelligent and a bit naughty. I fear she's a Culé [tr. note: Barcelona supporter], because she barked for the first time at seeing Messi scoring a goal on our TV. I love her just the same. I hope she's a Cuerva. I think it's possible. We'll watch the Supercopa Argentina together.
© Viggo Mortensen.
Hello Viggo, last night I dreamed of you. We were somewhere in the open, chatting and smoking, ruminating, of course, about San Lorenzo. I love you brother, as if you had been born next door. In another life I must have been a Christmas turkey, who now is reincarnated as a Cuervo, because otherwise there's no explanation for how the commentator I've got inside my head begins to malfunction every time the holidays approach - and the heat, family obligations, zombie relatives, the fireworks that make Rita very nervous. On top of all that, Anita loves being with her cousins and the holidays, and I can't cancel them, something I would love to do. Locking myself in my room with a water pistol to watch the entire Mad Men series again. But no, I have to negotiate, look for where and with whom we spend the least spontaneous night of the year. If it ever had religious significance, it was lost years ago: the shopping centres packed with people buying everything, churches filled with people who during the year forget Christian precepts. And Christ, bless him, who must he have been? Undoubtedly a man who could speak in multiple languages, with an absolute power of conviction. A great, shrewd politician who brought the good news of the reversal of values: the humble first, the poor first, for them is the Kingdom. Can anybody disagree with that? Isn't Christ the man most betrayed by his faithful with that Vatican packed with jewels and old men dressed in white tunics and very expensive shoes? Anyway, on December 25th, we leave by car for Mendoza, all of the family except Rita who is staying with my brother. We are going to cross the mountain range to spend three days in Santiago, New Year´s in Reñaca (hangover) and then we go down through Chile to Villa La Angostura, in southern Argentina. There we'll remain until January. And see what the future holds.
At last they sacked Mourinho from Stamford Bridge, after leaving Chelsea on the brink of relegation and insulting all the players and technical staff members as much as he could. It's incredible that they continue to pay a fortune to this man for destroying wealthy and prestigious clubs, that they continue rewarding his unsportsmanlike and sociopathic behaviour. I read somewhere a description of narcissism that fits that jerk like a glove:
"The narcissistic personality involves a mental disorder in which the afflicted has an exaggerated idea of his own self-importance, a profound need for admiration and an absolute lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-self-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism."
In the media they are already talking about a possible immediate recruitment of Mourinho by Manchester United, where another historic, shameless guy, Louis van Gaal, a coach with a track record as impressive as the Portuguese, is having an annus horribilis comparable to the one caused by the bigmouth from Setubal.
And as if that weren't sufficiently absurd, the pro-Madrid media, probably inspired by Florentino Pérez sounding out how the supporters of his domain react, are talking about the possibility of replacing Benitez with The Special One. I doubt this will happen. In any case, if that disgraceful idiot comes back, I won't watch Madrid playing, not even on TV, until he and Florentino definitely step away from the club. The likely thing is that Team Florentino will continue releasing some more names - for example: Zinedine Zidane, Ancelotti, Raúl, Santa Claus, Pep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson, Francisco Franco, Che Guevara, Pelé, Maradona, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Madonna, John Wayne, etc. until a certain percentage of "popular approval" is found according to the Marca newspaper polls. And then whatever pleases Flo will be done, no matter what. Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant. [tr. note: Latin for "Hail Caesar. Those who are about to die salute you."]
We are about to leave on a family On the Road. I hope the gods of the road help me. Hugs!
Bon voyage, brother! Enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the collective game. Messi recovered from his kidney problem and played the Club World Cup Final in Japan on December 20. Barça dodged the Gallinas [tr. note: nickname for River] for the first forty minutes, during which River played with a lot of passion, with an inspired Barovero and kicking to their heart's content. Then the Flea [tr. note: Messi] did one of his tricks and scored an amazing goal. He had the grace to apologize with a gesture to the Millonaria supporters. From then on, the Culés crushed the reigning Libertadores champions. Messi had also congratulated Barovero when he saved a one to one poisoned volley during the first half of the match. In other words, a player who is as much a gentleman as he is a monster with the ball. However, as he passed through the airport on the following day to return home, some bitter Gallinas fucked around with him, spat at him. What a shame. River could have signed this genius when he was eleven years old and was scoring all kinds of goals against big kids in Nuñez, but they lost the opportunity to make history by being so cheap that they didn't retain the one that would become the best player in the world. How does it feel, Gallina?
As for Mascherano, who's always spoken well of River Plate and promises to return to play for that club before ending his career, they insulted him during the whole match, too. Let's see if Jefecito [tr. note: nickname for Mascherano] changes his mind now. As you always say, Fabián, you have to respect your opponent, to acknowledge an extraordinary game and exemplary behavior. Above all, you have to know how to win and know how to lose. I close with a photo of the Condor [tr. note: Torrico, SL goalie] mural in Boedo. We'll see each other in 2016.
Hold on, Ciclón!
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Last edited: 11 February 2016 12:17:45