Better times

Tiempos mejores

"Better times are coming, they thought".

Cartoon of 05/03/2022 in CTXT

We will come out better people. This will make us stronger. These and other similar phrases, which could well be printed on envelopes of sugar cubes for bars, fed a childish thought that helped some to feel a little less bad for a few minutes while we managed how to maintain our mental health in the face of a global pandemic.

But the truth is that if history has taught us anything, it is that we can always become a worse society.

Today I remembered the night I was closest to the faces of war. It was in 1999. In those days I was working with a local TV station for which I later worked for a few years.

On 7 May of that year, a group of some 230 Kosovar Albanian refugees from 36 families from Albania arrived in Malaga on a chartered plane from arrived they arrived in Malaga on a plane chartered by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation, from where they travelled by bus to the Euro-Latin American Youth Centre (CEULAJ) in Mollina, which was set up as a first reception and referral centre

As we were only a few kilometres away and the TV station wasn't planning to send anyone because of the time of arrival, at around 23:30 at night, we decided to go over to record some images.

The graphics team had to do our work from a distance, behind some fences. After taking the usual general shots, the parade of faces arrived. Each window of those buses was a postcard of absolute desolation.

You couldn't tell whether they were sad or relieved, their gazes pointed nowhere. They got off the bus, walked slowly inside their new temporary residence and we all went home.

After 15 days would they make it they received the documents that would allow them to move freely in the country, and more than once I have wondered what had become of them. The passage of time has not prevented me from forgetting the images of all that shit that could be seen on television every day.

In Congress was in debate about the scale of the tragedy that was happening in Europe. It was said then that it was the most important humanitarian tragedy since the end of the Second World War in Europe and that there were 700,000 refugees outside the borders of Europe was an indication of the scale of the disaster Kosovo indicated the scale of the disaster. Everyone spoke of a catastrophe, as if a violent meteorological agent had struck those people.

According to the United Nations, there are already 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees dispersed among Poland, Hungary, Moldova and other countries. They have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion.

Perhaps one of the notable differences between those days and the present, without forgetting that all of us who lived then now have almost a quarter of a century more behind us, is the anguish caused by the incessant, daily, minute-by-minute barrage of images and discussions, some absurd and others necessary.

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