Here on a small donkey field in a forgotten corner of Spain, of no significance to anyone, I have finally found out what corruption is about. Its insidious nature inserts itself into even the most mundane and uninteresting areas of Spanish life. In fact, when you try and draw the attention of journalists to it, they don’t even want to know, because they see so much worse elsewhere. Every day! So we have to fight our own battles alone in whatever way we can.
The politicians won’t help us. The journalists are bored with it, and our lives are not of great interest. In any case they are looking for bigger fish to fry. Local matters do not make journalists’ reputations.
But thanks be to God, occasionally, the police will get so frustrated with what they constantly see that they will speak out and help us.
I have to be careful what I say because I do not want to reveal my source. The source is entirely genuine, and he doesn’t even share my political opinions, which was interesting because I told him I disagreed with him and he still wanted to share this with me.
Fifteen months ago I had a meeting with the Mayor of Finestrat and the Chief of the Policia Local regarding our wishes here in Partida Benienso to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
The Mayor and the Chief of Police welcomed the fact that I was volunteering to be the coordinator of such a scheme because, under national policing standards, the Policia Local are obliged to get pilot projects of Vecinos Cooperando under way.
A meeting was due to be held in the Finestrat Ayuntamiento a year ago in November 2014. It never happened. Every time I asked about it, I was told there were “problems”, but nothing specific. The local elections happened and I raised the matter again with the new PP candidate for Mayor of Finestrat at a public election meeting. He absurdly suggested that “Valencia” were blocking the scheme because they didn’t like the idea of “vigilantism”. I said that was a complete misunderstanding of what Neighbourhood Watch actually means!
This week, more than one and a half thousand people in Finestrat have seen the YouTube video in which the hunters of Finestrat abuse me in my own field on a Sunday morning, and many people have been coming up to me in the village to congratulate me. All the Policia Local have given me their support too, shouting across the street, “He visto el video!” and giving a thumbs up!
Then, in an amazing conversation with an official who came up to me in a bar, I learned the truth of the suppression of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme. This man is right at the very centre of things and heard the key conversations with the Chief of Police. The hunters did not want the Neighbourhood Watch scheme because they do not want their illegal shooting distances – firing less than 50 metres from houses here – scrutinised and reported. Plus they can bring out the vote or withdraw the vote from a political candidate. And they can do more… as I heard.
The hunting lobby comes before the safety of citizens. Their votes are what really counts. I cannot reveal any more because I do not want to expose my source, but he told me many people are with me and against the corruption. These are the brave people who uphold the law here, whose own commitment is being undermined by the politicians and their own bosses.
I came here to live a simple life with donkeys in the countryside. In the end, the corruption even reaches here. It makes you feel quite dirty when you realize you have brushed against these people and their twisting ways.
What shall we do? Give up or fight back against the bullies and the corrupt? A quiet life or a battle against uneven odds?
I really do not know, but the disappointment is immense.