Level Ground, 47 & 48. Compassion.

The plumber finally came by about a week ago and dried up the Victoria Falls in the basement. Now, I await the bill, which will probably send me into fits of crying. Next, I suppose I should save up something toward fixing the car. Eventually, at some point in time, I should also buy a new computer.

It still operates with Windows 7, 32 bits (whatever the bits are). I've already had to buy an external memory because 300 gigas are not much in today's computing world. Apart from that, the connection to internet is not the best, and probably won't be resolved any time soon. Still, at some point, I should splurge a little, to make sure the new computer lasts as long as this one (more than ten years). The last time I wrote a blog post, I hammered out most of my thoughts just before lunch, thinking they would be fine with the page opened until later. 

They weren't, because it turned out that nothing had been saved, and I had to type everything out at around midnight. Even so, my tech problems aren't as bad as a Red Cross volunteer's in the Spanish African city of Ceuta.

Last week, Morocco had a spat with Spain over the leader of the Frente Polisario, the group that wants the old Spanish Sahara to be a free country, rather than a part of Morocco. Apparently, the leader is in Spain for medical treatment. So, the Moroccan police, following orders from on high, opened the gates and were letting people through in the city of Ceuta. They also didn't stop people from swimming around the border fence that dips into the sea. Thousands of Moroccans and other Africans that had been awaiting their opportunity took advantage of the situation.

In the end, many were returned by Spanish authorities as soon as they were rescued from the sea. The only ones that won't be returned are the minors, which are going to be housed in different parts of Spain. But their arrival on the Tarajal beach, within the enclave of Ceuta, was heartbreaking. Thanks to the currents, it's not an easy swim, and many were exhausted. A few did drown. Guardia Civiles, police, and Red Cross volunteers helped people from the water, including a woman who was swimming while carrying her baby on her back. A Guardia Civil diver rescued her and her baby, holding it above the water, its face white, half-drowned. Another Guardia helped a child who had climbed the fence, but found himself terrified to get down on the Spanish side. The Guardia climbed up, put him on his shoulders, and carefully climbed to a spot where the child could safely be put into another's arms, taking care to keep low and away from the concertina wire.

But the photo, and video, that captured attention, was that of a Red Cross volunteer hugging an exhausted man who had just swum onto the beach. It was a moment of humanity, of consoling a human being who had reached the end of his tether. Many applauded the girl (I believe she's 20.), but so many sent her so many hate messages, that she had to close all her social media accounts. Mostly, those hate messages came from Vox followers, accusing her of trying to rub against a black man. Most had sexual and machista innuendos, merely because she was a woman and he was a black man. Among the least offensive were, "En la cárcel deberías estar, por apoyar y ayudar a delincuentes." (You should be in prison for supporting and helping delinquents.) Or, "...Deberías perder la nacionalidad por traidora..." (You should lose your citizenship for being a traitor.). The majority of others aren't fit to be repeated. One of the founders of fascist Vox mused, "Pocas imágenes reflejan mejor la decadencia moral de esta gente..." (Few images better reflect the moral decadence of these people...) I found myself thinking about To Kill a Mockingbird, and the racism and mysoginism it condemns.

Of course, many, many other people praised her and her show of humanity. As she explained, the only thing she could understand of what he was saying in French, was that he was from Senegal. He just started crying, and she put her arms around him. He was counting with his fingers as he explained, but she could only surmise that, perhaps, he was telling her of companions he had left behind. The world needs many more like her.

Eventually, many of those who passed through were sent back to Morocco, and others went back of their own volition, when they found that the plethora of well-paying jobs they had heard about didn't exist. Western Europe isn't the paradise that many think it is, but to those who come escaping war and misery, it's good enough.

Life continues.



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