Muslims and the Leftists

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In spite of the fact that there are no exact statistics available about the number of Muslims in Spain, it is estimated that about 25,000 individuals have converted to Islam out of whom 10,000 people have converted within the last five years. A great number of these people live in Andalusia (3,500) and Catalonia (3,000).The phenomenon of conversion has seen a lot of changes in this country throughout years. Some of the individuals involved, for instance, established leftist organizations in the Andalusia region in the 80s. “Muslims and the Leftists” examines the formation of such organizations against the backdrop of political, social, and religious context of different times and ages up to now. The interviewees in this documentary discuss the status quo of such organizations in Spain, probe into the ways through which Islam has influenced the Leftist parties and their members in Spain, talk about how Islam has impacted on social and political lives in the country in general, and put into perspective the way the non-Muslim community views Muslims in modern Spain.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “They have taught us we are all the same here, but that is not true.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “How can an Andalusian say he is a Muslim? If a Moroccan says he's a Muslim that is natural. But it is unacceptable and odd for the people here to hear that someone who was born here says, "I'm a Muslim".”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: “Islam has always been a strange thing to the people here, isn't that right? At that time, you couldn't be officially both Spanish and a Muslim.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “The persisting dominant idea in the society is that he is an immigrant, someone who's come from northern Africa and sports a beard and … Well, faith is a personal matter, and is inside human beings; according to a Spanish saying, "A monk should mind both the inside and the outside." I don't know.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “In many cases, you don't know what's going on, right? They are the bad guys, right? The Muslims. But why?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: “We sometimes had to talk about religious matters with our executive directors. One of them told me, “Be careful, because they might deport you from Spain.””

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “It's really strange; people get startled when someone here says he's a Muslim. There are many people here who have Arabic names. We use Arabic words in our language. When I say Arabic words, it doesn’t mean that I’m a Muslim. Not all Arabs are Muslims; you can find non-Muslims among them too. But here people associate Arabs with Muslims. It's odd that they’re stranger to something that is part of our Islamic legacy, but it's the truth.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: “They sometimes told them, "You speak Spanish really well!"”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “I don't think it's strange to see Spanish men converting to Islam or even Spanish women converting to this religion. No, I don’t find it strange at all. Now if they were leftist, that would be surprising.”

- Boy, long time no see.

- Manolo, how are you?

- Are you ok?

- Yes, I'm fine.

- After all these years…

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: The last time we met, he was reading Ibn Arabi's book, “Meccan Illuminations”. That really made me happy. Now I see that he's really illuminated.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo:“Yes, some of my colleagues in the United Left Party tell me I've become illuminated. Is that right?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Everyone on the federal committee was talking, but Manolo was readying a book about Islamic rules. Well, he reads a lot, doesn't he? You know that very well.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: God is really great.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: According to your friend Neruda, we, the friends of the past, are not the same people we used to be, right?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: No, but it's good, especially what we experienced together. It was an interesting period of our lives.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Experiences replace ideologies. In other words, reasoning fades out here. We're here together. It doesn't matter if we are Muslims or Communists. What's important is that we are all here together.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Political activities were fun in those days. There were Franco's security forces and Franco's supporters. The regime was drawing its last breath, right? If we can say that.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero:

“There is great enthusiasm among these young people. Many people come here as a tourist; more than 2 million Spaniards work in Europe; this allows them to easily come here for holidays. It's not like the time when Spaniards left permanently to work in the US. People have gradually found out that class difference is smaller in the countries of northern Europe, and workers have a relatively good life. People are looking for change here. Some of them went on strikes and some of them participated in demonstrations.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: There was a survival instinct, the instinct of equality. They were the values that the Communist Party defended at that time, and later on the United Left Party. In other words, it was not because of ideology; it was because of a desire for change, a desire for freedom.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “Islamic values were somewhat consistent with these values; the values that not only the leftist, but also the rightists who were fighting for the right to democracy upheld. Right?”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “When General Franco died, Spain was in an uproar. People who knew nothing about politics entered the realm of politics; they had no clear idea of the path of transformation and development; the result is what we see today: a country in crisis. I did not join any political party. I always voted. A few years later, I became a Muslim. I did not convert to Islam from Catholicism; I converted from Agnosticism. Then I entered the United Left Party. I can say this party has everything that the other parties have.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “I was a member of the Young Red Guard of Spain, the Labor Party of Spain. Even in my opinion, the Communist Party was too rightist. I was mad. It's obvious. Well, if I was not crazy when I was in my twenties, now that I am fifty-nine years old...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “I was a leftist at the time. I was a member of the Andalusian Socialist Alliance, which was called the Socialist Party of Andalusia when it became a party. I started to participate in election campaigns for the first democratic elections in Spain. Well, I was disillusioned after a while and gave up politics. A few years later, when I had just finished my studies, I became a Muslim. The Religious Freedom was declared in 1967. In 1968, the first Islamic organizations were established; Melilla Muslims Society, Muslim Association of Spain. The first person who was really surprised was me. Three days after my first introduction to Islam, I became a Muslim.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Many people who had converted to Islam belonged to the opposition. After the approval of the Constitution in 1978, the Religious Freedom Act was passed in 1980. The number of Muslims was on the rise.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Mansur was the one who encouraged those kids, those who had leftist tendencies. Mansur was a member of the Communist Party. All the kids at that time were leftists. There were those who used to have far-right tendencies, but they were few. Interestingly, they favored Falange. They were not part of our group though … Mansur Escudero founded the Islamic Council in 1989. A few years later, he became the head of the Islamic Commission of Spain; the Commission was the representative of the Muslims at the Spanish government.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: As the saying goes, we were men of luggage. We constantly went to Madrid in order to talk to the government and hold meetings and discussions with different people. We were trying to promote Islam in Spain at that difficult time. They thought we were strange creatures and put all kinds of labels on us; unusual, weird, foreign agent, etc. it continued in the ominous years following the September 11 attacks. The Sept. 11 incident and the bombing of the Atocha train station on March 11 happened during our time. You can write several books on this. We were there. When there was a fatwa against Bin Laden, the Islamic Commission of Spain was the first group which dared reveal the true face of al-Qaeda.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: Islam has condemned all forms of terrorism. Our efforts bore fruit. The Muslim community in Spain has grown stronger; it is a real movement. We have people who belong to the second and third generations. Now we can talk about a third generation of Muslims of Spanish origin, right? The Muslim population of Spain consists of 1,671,629 people. It is estimated that 2 percent of them are Spaniards who have accepted Islam.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “When I became a Muslim, I met a group called Yama'a islamica al-Andalusthe. This article belonged to the time when it was first established in the city of Malaga. We thought that Islam was not only a religious issue, but also a way of life. Since none of the existing parties pleased us, we decided to found the Frente de Liberación de Andalucía. This party believed that the Capitulations of Santa Fe, which Boabdile and Catholic kings had signed, were not enforced correctly. According to this document, the Emirate of Granada was supposed to be given to them in exchange for their tolerant treatment of Muslims and respect for their culture and customs; but they did not adhere to that contract. This is an example of theft from Andalusians by the Crown of Castile.According to the rules of the Party, we Andalusians should not serve in Spain's military. According to the Islamic laws, Riba is abominable, and no banks should exist. Earth, air, water and soil do not belong to anyone, and those who work on it are entitled to it.Some of the things we had put in our plans were just crazy. That's why eight or nine thousand people voted for us. It's obvious. I think it was too much, how can eight thousand people vote in favor of such things? Apparently we were not the only people who were crazy, there were others like us. We took part in the Municipal elections with an Andalusian and radical plan; we also took part in Europe's elections. We used to say we were anti-Europe. In press conferences they asked us why we had announced our candidacy. We weren't foretellers, but I could see that entering the European Parliament meant achieving what we are today. We are at the back of the line. They started a major media campaign against us, calling us Morocco's spies. I was just an Andalusian who had decided to become a Muslim and talk about certain things. Call it crazy, but I had the right to claim whatever I wanted. They took a series of actions against some of our colleagues, but I was not afraid of such things, because I'd seen similar things at the time of Franco and was used to them. But some people were really scared, so they went home and the movement came to a stop.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: An unprecedented phenomenon occurred in Ceuta's United Left party. I think it was a singular event. There was a United Left group in Ceuta. Over a hundred Muslims from Ceuta who had Spanish passports decided to join the United Left party. There was a dispute, an internal debate; some of the leaders of the United Left party did not deem it suitable for such a large and populous group to join the United Left Party. They found it an unpleasant phenomenon.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores:“One day, some of our friends from the United Left party came to see us. Manolo was with them. He had understood us, opened the door to us, and invited us to join the Communist Party.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “We were managing the United Left party and Julio Angita was the coordinator at that time; in our opinion, it was really ridiculous and unbelievable, that people who had all the requirements to join the United Left party were denied the chance to do so. In the end, we were forced to choose from among a Christian minority of Spanish origin who were connected to the United Left Party and were neither Christian nor Spanish, because in our opinion it was more democratic and fair. We preferred to be able to be together in the form of an organization, but it could not be.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: “They accepted us again. In those years, a very tense relationship existed between our group and the Federal United Left. We learned a lot during the hard years of our political struggle.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “This group has existed for years; most of them are from Ceuta, but their motto is equality and their religion is Islam.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “We can say that what was called "left" bears some consistency with Islam in issues such as social justice, defending the values of brotherhood, and protecting the poor.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “Prophet Mohammad says all Muslims are equal. No one is superior to others.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “Acknowledging something that is different from you; Equality is something that turns us into the critics of Capitalism.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “I've grown up in a good family. We were well-off, but I used to see people who didn't live a comfortable life. I didn't like that at all. I never felt I was different from the others. Let me tell you a story about my own village. One day a maid was fired from the house she worked in. when she reached the street, she took off her apron. She didn’t know her boss was following her. When he saw her without an apron on the street, he asked her, "What were you thinking, coming outside without an apron?" I didn't like that kind of behavior. I've lived with such things. Prophet Mohammad says, "You're not a believer, unless you wish for your neighbor what you wish for yourself.””

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “People got really upset when they saw some people gathering wealth, while the others grew poorer every day. This is the beginning of Islam; social struggle. What is the beginning of Marxism? Severe poverty, throwing peasants out of their homes, their immigration to cities, workers' dormitories, and poverty and misery, These are the beginning of Marxism, and only after that “unity gives power”. This is what we have in Islam as well. Muslim's unity, citizens' unity leads to power.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “I believe that there are considerable differences. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t find points of agreement. Points of agreement are the values. Christian Marxists exist, of course they exist, how can they not? We also have Christian Socialists and Left and anti-Capitalism Islamists. In fact some believe that Islam is anti-Capitalism, because it is against Riba (usury) and such things. If someone supports freedom, he will support it no matter where he is. If someone supports equality, he will support it wherever he is. If someone believes every country has the right to choose its fate, he should uphold that belief wherever he is. If someone believes life is good and no one has the right to take his own life… well, we need to come to an agreement about these values; solidarity, equality, respect for others, both the ones who have faith in religions and the ones who are atheist. Besides, I'm a Communist and that makes it harder for me. I believe in something that does not exist: Communism. Look, I possess all the sins together. I don’t believe in the life after death, so it’s really difficult for me.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: We need to take two things into consideration: first, what is our understanding of Islam? What is people's understanding of Islam? And what is our opinion about leftism. We talk about Leftists, leftist movements that took form before Marx and Lenin, freedom fighting movements. Right? People who try to change the old order and hierarchical and feudal systems say they are looking for a different kind of society. This is the word used in all the stories: victory, victory … freedom, conquest, victory… At that time, Islam was considered a freedom-giving ideological movement; as modern people say, something unbelievable.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mahdi Flores: People willingly convert to Islam, right? Of course, conversion is another matter. It's not possible for a group of 300 or 1000 people to occupy a country like Spain in three years. There must be more to it.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “Before Prophet Mohammad came along, Saudi Arabia was involved in tribal wars. War, revenge, chaos. Islam established peace in the Southern shores of the Mediterranean sea. Without a sword. Saying that they attacked Iberian Peninsula is not true. It never happened. It was impossible for the Arab military to get there and conquer everything in 3, 4, 5 or 10 years. It was even harder in Rome. They left Mecca and reached Gijón in a short time. Well, they had a strong cavalry. No one died. Everyone had left Saudi Arabia. It was really odd. Then they went to Asturias.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero:“Apparently, several Arab men arrived and destroyed everything here and then a bunch of people who lived in Asturias mountains evicted the Muslims and Arabs after 800 years. If we look at it carefully, we have to ask ourselves, when did the Arabs reach Morocco? In 1700, I think. Then how did these troops go there in 711? Did those soldiers dropped from the sky? This is the story they've told us, a story that is hard to believe.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “While Spanish cities were advancing, the Europe was progressing, and North Africa, the Arab world, the world of Islam was producing wealth and knowledge. The city we are in now was a great center of knowledge and science.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “Something is really interesting. It seems there is a void at the history of Muslims.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “There were no books left. In 1492, Muslims had been politically and militarily defeated. Then came the Inquisition; centuries of chasing, until nothing was left, nothing. Though I believe it was not just about religions; it included everything; food, clothes, perfumes, one's posture, way of construction; their goal was to eradicate a civilization.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: All those who opposed them were beheaded. Read Quevedo's poems to know what they used to say about Jews and Muslims. Racism at its worst form, he is one of the country's greatest poets and writers. Unfortunately, after the union of Isabel's and Fernando's kingdoms and its aftermaths, ethnic groups were systematically excluded from the Spanish identity. I doubt there was something called Spain in the sixteenth century; maybe there are people like me who think an ethnic cleansing took place.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “This expulsion destroyed Muslims and Arabs, or whatever we call them. From 1492 to 1600, there was a war on the peninsula; I mean they were not banished; they were here and they were armed.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “They attack you, try to suppress you, try to destroy your identity. This is what they have done to Islam. You need to know such things; it might seem that we are all equal, but we are not. As a great matador from Seville says, "Some are more equal than others."”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “The Quran and the teachings of the Prophet were very influential in my life. We can look at this issue from various aspects. It is an interesting discussion. Islam is an influential ideology, right? It changes people and leaves a profound impact. The dynasty of Andalusia is Islam. It is Islam. When I found Islam, I said I've found my place in life.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “My curiosity and desire to know the world of Islam is also because of my friendship with Angita. He was an expert on Islamic issues. He was known as the red Khalifa, but there was a real issue here, isn't that right? For example, one of the most interesting things you can have is that you ask Angita to describe the city of Cordoba to you.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mehdi Flores: “He has a good grasp of Arabic.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “I believe that Quran is a starting point. The teachings of Prophet Mohammad are the foundations of a path that leads to something new. It's not a destination; it's not moving backwards; it's the starting point for moving forward. Of course, you need to adapt it to the present, and consider the time and place. I believe there's a vision for improving and moving toward social equality in all its aspects.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “The purpose of Islam is to change us for the better, right? These individual progresses lead to progress in the society, right?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “You know that you'll be held accountable in front of God, but there will be no intermediates. You should use your conscience to decide what is right and what is wrong.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “We can't blame political officials or parties. That would be too easy and convenient. If these societies are unfair, each of us is to some extent at fault.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero:“If your behavior is not consistent with your ideology, you can be any kind of man you want, but you do not represent the ideology. Islam is the religion of fair peace, because if fair peace does not exist, it’s not peace at all, it's just oppression.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “So being a leftist means being anti-capitalism; in other words, capitalism creates structural discriminations, inequality of power, consumption, wealth, and income. We seek human equality in social and economic aspects; we are trying to create a society which is free from exploitation and domination.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “We live in a world where those who don't reach a certain rank and position are considered criminals; it means if you don't get here, you've failed and betrayed the faith of others in you. Understanding these issues is very difficult. Intense competition and introducing economic indicators in all the activities leads to crisis; constantly seeking economic returns leads to failure. Some things are priceless. Everyone wants to grow, all countries want to progress, but this is a disaster. This planet has limited resources.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León:“Problems such as unemployment reflect a state and society that are not on the right course, right? In Spain, for example, there are currently six million unemployed people. These people are in need. There are others who are not even categorized among the unemployed, but are in need.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez:“Like any other citizen, I'm afraid too. It is painful to see people who sacrifice their lives to protect the regime. This regime is crushing us for its own survival. There are even worse things. In a capitalist system like this, the worst thing that can happen to you is not being exploited, but the fact that no one wants to exploit you. Being exploited is bad, but having no one to exploit you is even worse; it means you do not have any resources that can be exploited; it's a civil death. Lack of jobs is a civil death.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: Remember that loans that come with interest are forbidden in Islam. Riba (usury) is forbidden. Banks have deceived us here. Look what's become of us.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “So we're caught in the grip of some marauders. I do not trust politicians; they are not willing to do anything for this country. They only try to serve their own interests and preserve their own status, keep their positions and help their family and friends. So what can we expect when the worst kinds of people rule over us? Yes, that's how it goes. No party can guarantee a proper governorship. None! Another problem is that if you do not vote … According to the existing law, even if only 10 percent of the population participates in elections, they can choose the government, even if the remaining 90 percent refuse to vote. They never feel ashamed and say, "I’ll resign, because no one voted for me". Rest assured that they will not leave.”

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León:“God is generous and helps everyone. The fact that there are certain groups who have power and use it to their own interest is another matter. Religion and politics are never separate in Islam. Instead, it is a guarantee that makes officials have principles, right? Those who run the country must have principles, right? And if that person is not suitable, he has to be dismissed. For us, everything goes according to logic; everything is consistent, a complete system. There is no reason to divide it. A person can’t divide up the system, cannot divide it into emotional, spiritual, and physical parts, right? He is a person, a complete being. That's the way it is in a Muslim society. We cannot divide it up. That would be like killing, right?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “Capitalism means eradication, change, contradiction; you're no longer yourself, you have no identity anymore. In a capitalist society, man has a sense of nostalgia. The problem is how to build a smaller society within this capitalist society. Solidarity, freedom, equality, an autonomous government; I consider them deep Leftist values. In order to achieve them, you need to break the capitalist system. The Leftist European secular, socialist, and liberal world is the world of fight against the system. People like me have been active in clandestine and underground parties; there are people who have even been imprisoned and tortured; people who have preferred to die rather than testify against their friends or complain about their colleagues.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “Brotherhood and solidarity should start from one's family, one's neighborhood. It should start from a fellow human being; then it will gradually become all-consuming.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez:“Prophet Muhammad says, "The earth is a mosque, as clean as a mosque.” The earth is a gift granted by God, with all its trees and creatures, and we are its guardians and should take care of everything. The earth is ours to enjoy, tocreate a better life in. we should enjoy life. You cannot destroy ecosystems, because then you will be destroyed. We are all connected, and everything in the nature has a purpose. We may not realize it, but God has created it that way and there is certainly a reason. We should think about the nature, take refuge in it. The more jungles we have, the better it is for everybody.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “There were some countries which were governed by leftist governments and unfortunately inflicted great damage on the nature. Ecology does not belong to any party and is no one's legacy. It's a heritage for humanity. So I do not think that ecology must be connected to the leftists. They may be very supportive of the nature while workers are hungry. Yes, they should not destroy even one tree.”

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “Profit is more important than anything. In order to achieve profit, you destroy everything around you, you ruin people's lives, you destroy the nature; human beings are moving away from humanity every day. That should come to an end, because this theft, this wealth they're accumulating is beyond their needs. There are families whose wealth is more than that of a country. Most of them do not produce anything, they're brokers; it means they take something from you and then sell it when its price goes up. I don't produce it, I store it. And then I tell you, "It should be competitive; you need to lower the price". No, no, son, we need to let everything run its course, then everyone will get their share. If you build a dam and hold the water, everyone will be left thirsty. But if you have a dam and let the water flow into a creek, everyone will be able to drink that water. Yes, that's how it is. Water is a metaphor, though it's not really metaphorical, because one of these days they'll privatize the water as well. You'll see; they'll be telling us, "You don't really need a lot of water".”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “I think this situation is very bad. I don't know, I'm not a political expert, but I believe there are no short-term solutions. You want to know my opinion about the fact that banks confiscate people's houses? Well, in my opinion, they have no shame. Is it so hard for the parliament to approve Non-recourse Loans? Well, political parties need to come to an agreement on that, right? That's a rule, right? Can we have any expectations? No?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Abdelbari León: “This is forbidden for us, because it means living or earning one's living through other people's needs. When a person is in need and asks someone else to help him, and that person tries to take advantage of the situation and serve his own interests … This is immoral. Suppose somebody throws you out of your house; that is contrary to Islam.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “Such things change our view of the world. Needs should not become means of trade. This happens not only in Córdoba and other Spanish cities, but also all over the world. This is not something that needs to be painted.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “Has People's Party created this crisis? No. Has the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party created this crisis? No. The people of Spain have brought this crisis upon themselves. People take part in elections every four years and vote in favor of one party, but they don't participate actively in politics to solve the problems of villages or cities, and then provinces, autonomous states and countries, and finally the European Union and the United Nations. This should happen step by step. If we don't take the first step and take a sloppy second step and vote for a local politician who will do us no good just because we like him, voting for politicians like Mr. Barsenas will become a general rule; he is accused of fraud and embezzlement, he is a senator in Cantabria who has gotten the highest number of votes in the Parliamentary elections for two terms, while he's neither from Cantabria, nor ever lived there. In many cases, people vote for a candidate they do not know, just because they belong to a political party. That person is chosen to do as he pleases for four years. The result is that you see now, crisis everywhere, the economy, ethics, families ... that is the problem of we Spaniards; it is not something that has been imposed on us.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mehdi Flores: “With the so-called discovery of America and the development of capitalism, we suddenly entered an era of madness and insanity. It certainly reached its culmination in the 20th century. Dictatorial movements, right? I'm talking about Soviet communism and fascism Zionism, the fruits of this and other centuries. Radical liberalism ... Humanity has stepped into an irrational path. The situation is so bad, it's frightening.”

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “Naturally, the result would be a disaster; of course, we have to be optimistic. We have to, we have no other choice. Something's gonna come out of this crisis. Who knows? Either a worse crisis or a positive thing”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo: “I think a terrible future awaits us. Very bad. Right? So bad that even the human species may disappear from the earth. I have no doubt about it. Perhaps all religions share the same opinion: we need to stop this catastrophe, which is an everyday tragedy. You don't need to think about the Greek Islands; we see it every day, every morning we wake up.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “A set of moral principles can save us from this financial crisis, but in order to do that there is no need for the humankind to return to its human principles. That will get us nowhere, the fact that we humans are constantly looking at numbers and figures, working and earning money, because each human being has a different way of life.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “Islam talks about the future. Whose future? We don't know. There are several signs in the hadiths. One might say these signs are happening. At what time? We don't know. Since we don't know, we shouldn't talk about it. I don't think I'll live to see that day.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “The first thing that comes to my mind is to leave this country. Maybe I'll find relief then, but my age doesn't let me be adventurous. What am I supposed to do? Well, I cooperate with social organizations, with grassroots organizations, adult or youth organizations or NGOs, helping them as a lawyer. I do everything I can for them. If necessary, I devote two or three hours a day to them. Of course, we can't change the system this way, but it's all right if I can solve the problems of a couple of families.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “We are to blame for these events and we can solve these problems. We can remedy this situation; we shouldn't sit on our hands and give up, say this is how it's supposed to be and we need to live with it. No. we can set things right, that is Prophet Mohammad's message. I'm talking about the situation here; I'm not saying it'd have been great if we thought everything was gonna be all right. Yes, everything can be all right, everything can be perfect, but only if you have a conscience...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Carlos Pérez: “The government tries to keep people in ignorance of politics, to put them to sleep, to suppress any protests or criticisms. They always try to sell you this Disney idea that tomorrow will be a better day, and welcome to the future you always dreamed of. It's a big lie and we must fight it, but in different ways; small movements are very precious. I think that is Prophet Muhammad's message, the message of hope. Prophets used to arise when the situation was very bad, very sensitive.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo:“It is no coincidence that religion is intertwined with the history of mankind. I believe that religion reflects the highest needs of humans in this world, and religion is an encouraging tool, a way of life in harsh and horrible conditions, like the majority of people’s situation. I believe religion plays an important role in the society of humans. Let me explain it in a different way that is not very scientific, ok? There are neighborhoods in the city of Lima in which life is very difficult if you do not believe in God.”

TIME CODE: 45:00_47:28

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “We must continue to struggle. It's an internal struggle within ourselves to try to be fair to others. If we don't treat others fairly, the society will not move in the right direction. We should try to be good to others and avoid bad deeds. Will we succeed? I don't know.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Mehdi Flores: “The future lies in the restoration of our common sense. Common sense has been destroyed in Europe in recent centuries. Now we are required more than ever to reflect on the truth of our principles, which are the essence of our being. This means we should return to the source; we should sit down again and ask ourselves the usual questions. There are three or four questions: Who am I? What is this? What am I doing here? There are three questions. I think we shall start talking again afterwards...”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Manolo Monereo:“I believe in human diversity. I am extremely scared of the homogenization of humans. A single global state scares me, as does a single religion... all the people involved in politics should come to an agreement and try to put a stop to this disaster; the disaster that results from this way of life, and is dangerous for everyone; for Christianity, Judaism and Islam.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Félix Mohamed Herrero: “I'm one of those people who are called leftists. I am a proponent of social justice, family justice, justice with a capital J. If that is leftism, then yes, I'm a leftist. If that is rightism, yes, I'm a rightist. If it is moderation, then I'm a moderate. But I think justice is beyond any party.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish], Ismail Jorquera: “When I was twenty years old, I dreamed of changing the world, but now at this age, I hope the world doesn't change me.”

Text:

Albert Camus: I proclaim that I believe in nothing and that everything is absurd, but I cannot doubt the validity of my proclamation and I must at least believe in my protest.

   

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