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Trouble in Madrid

Week of October 24, 2002
Let's help them make sure they don't get hurt again.

Poor Manuel - all Basil Fawlty had to do was whisper a reference to Franco, and he was shaking like a leaf. The classic BBC series was filmed in the 1970's, and so reminds us that Franco was alive and well - and his people suffering under his fascist boot - right into 'modern times'. The end of World War II with the destruction of the Axis powers did not mean the end of Franco's reign of suppression in Spain.

And yet the old Generalissimo grew older, and finally passed away, and then with a start the forces of democracy took over, spearheaded in many ways by the king Juan Carlos. Spain was in a hurry to catch up to the rest of the civilised world, and they were racing ahead at a blinding speed.

So far so good. But of late the pendulum has begun to swing back again. On 12 October 2002 a new law known as the LSSI went into effect, empowering the government to search and seizure of anything web-related, and forcing all Spanish web sites to register with the government and to submit to explicit scrutiny and censorship. This is not very 'Spanish' of them, not in the new and very welcome definition of 'Spanish' at any rate.

The protests have been vehement, but the law has made it through the Spanish parliament, albeit with minor improvements. Yet as one of the leading protest sites remarks: 'RIP Democracy'.

There are some links you can visit, but so far most of the material is in Spanish.

http://www.gilc.org
http://www.stop1984.com
http://www.kriptopolis.com

These good people certainly don't need any more criticism in these hard times, but it would actually do them good to have English language versions so people outside Spain could more easily understand what is going on, and someone over there should organise an Internet protest, so that surfers can just 'click and send' a protest to the appropriate Spanish authority, such as their constitutional court. Most netizens would gladly join in this protest if given half a chance.

Do surf on over to the links above. Do see what you can understand, and what you can do to support these fine people. Let's see Franco cannot return. Let's help them make sure they don't get hurt again.

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