Banner Zenit, Scientific & ICT Services

<<Previous Blog Index Next>>


Sunday, November 12, 2006


[Translation of Humillante by Juan José Millás published in El País on 10-Nov-2006.]

Anyone who is not as thick as two short planks knows that the “security” measures introduced this week in airports are folly. Nothing is more insecure or humiliating than going through an anti-metal arch, barefoot, holding up one's trousers under the ironic and suspicious gaze of a guards in uniform. Security at this price is only a cost. The problem is where to protest, because if I have understood it correctly, this is a “European directive”; meaning that we don’t know exactly who is the paranoid individual who came up with it. A German takes charge of light switches and passing through an airport is the responsibility of a Belgian. According to them, it is all very reassuring. Declaring that it is a “European directive” is tantamount to saying that it is a decision made by God; not a bad metaphor as God has always, in all cultures, been the instigator of fear, shock, punishment and persecution.

Despite appearances that we are living in a secular society, we have never been so religious. Now our God is Allah, because it is due to him that this regulation has fallen from the sky on our heads like a cloudburst. This is not my insight, but that of an official in Terminal 4 in Madrid airport with whom I shared my consternation. He asked me not to blame the PSOE, the PP, the CiU, nor the new three-party government in Catalonia. He said I should blame Allah. If we didn’t want God, we now have a double helping. If we were truly secular and democratic, no State would dare to humiliate us with such religious practices.

At the moment we have to pass through an archway, semi-naked, with our boarding cards in our mouths balancing the trays in which we have obsessively arranged our sacred objects according to their densities. That bit about the 100 millilitres, believe me, is of little importance. The problem will be when they won’t let us pass through security with the whole of our brain mass. Or with quantities of intelligence above those permitted by the European directive or by Allah. Perhaps these restrictions have already come into force without our being aware of them. No right-thinking society would swallow such a dictum. Religious fundamentalism has won the war.


<<Previous Blog  Index Next>>

Return to Translations Index

E-mail comments to:

Comment on this article, or any other on this web, using
Gabbly Chat.
Note: please leave your comment but do not expect a reply in real time.


© 2005-6