Image via WikipediaMy final report from Madrid, Spain, follows:
1. I passed today the continuous, very peaceful public demonstration for political reform that has now been occupying the central point of Madrid (called the Puerta del Sol). I observed and experienced no problems whatsoever. Many, especially the young, are seeking a better future and are angry at the established political class--which reminds me how virtually all politicians in all countries are objectively worthy of the reasonable contempt and disdain of citizens. The best public servant is the one who lacks the megalomania and narcissism of the typical politician, whether that typical politician is a low-ranking local judge or the top executive head of a nation´s government or is located somewhere in between. Thank God for democracy which keeps them cyclically worried and anxious about reelection.
2. I highly recommend Madrid and environs to my readers, from the massive splendor of the Habsburg monastery-palace of El Escorial which was the center of Catholic Spain as the first modern world power in the West, to the serene gardens at the royal palace in Aranjuez immortalized in the music of the composer Rodrigo, to the wonderful town of Segovia where St. John of the Cross, truly a world historical figure, is buried, to the ancient university buildings of Alcalá de Henares, the purported birthplace of Cervantes who authored the first modern novel in the West; to the wonderfully complex city of Toledo immortalized by El Greco, another world historical figure. And, finally, Madrid herself, a city of dignified and elegant parks, gardens, numerous museums, wonderful cafes, and a multitude of handsome churches-- and also the home of the 20th century existentialist philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, who is, in my opinion, a world historical figure in human thought. He was as pioneering in the 20th century as Cervantes was in the 17th century.
For those planning to attend World Youth Day in August in Madrid, you are in for a treat on many levels. But I have a final piece of advice: dress for very warm weather in August because the warmth has already begun in late May.
Finally, to the Lord our God, many thanks for giving me the opportunity to delight in and share the beauty of your works and to escape the bonds of the narrow perspectives of my native country. We all need to recognize and escape those narrow perspectives regardless of our national or ethnic origins, even if we are sincere patriots.