(Pope’s visit, Part Three)
And in August it came to pass that an army of bright-eyed Catholic youths descended on the capital from all over the world, kitted out in Papal merchandise: caps and matching rucksacks. But the armies of ‘darkness’ were also there to meet them, marching on Sol from the opposite direction. The police had officially denied them full access to the plaza, so as not to clash with the ‘cristo-flautas’. But clash they did, in glorious, absurd Madrid style. As the Puerta del Sol filled with the Pope’s chanting fans, the protesters streamed in along one side, flanked by police, the idea being that they would shuffle past in a thin contained line, and then veer off up a side street, out of sight, out of mind. Only the first part of this plan was successful, the rest was chaos.
The protesters filed into Puerta del Sol chanting slogans like,
‘Tu papa es un nazi!’ (Your pope’s a nazi!), ‘La juventud del Papa, tambien se lo machaca!’ (On one thing you can bank, you christian kids all wank!), and ‘Os han engañado , la virgen ha follado!’ (What they told you was a trick! That Virgen’s had some dick!). Then they kept coming, and coming, so many of them that they filled up the Plaza from the rear, breaking through police lines, and eventually mixing with the ‘cristo-flautas’ in a massive, sweaty, boisterous, angry soup, so that now the soldiers of God and the soldiers of darkness were all eye-balling each other, and shouting slogans back and forth at each other in a roiling, swaying, atheist/religious rugby scrum.
The Patriotic right-wing chanted,
‘Yo soy Español, Español, Español !’ (I am Spanish, Spanish, Spanish!)
to which the left-wing replied proudly,
‘Yo soy Pecador, Pecador, Pecador!’ (I am a Sinner, Sinner, Sinner!)
A wave of ‘Be-ne-dicto!’ from his supporters was echoed with the cry, ‘Pe-de-rasta!’ (Pea-do-phile!). Tiring a little of this inexplicable abuse, and not in possession of such a range of lyrical and satirical slogans, the cristo-flautas, as their opponents warmed to their theme, were subjected to cries of,
‘Menos crucifijio y mas trabajo fijo!’ (Less crucifixion, more stable work!), ‘Menos religion, mas educacion!’ (Less religion, more education!) and ‘Tu mismo cristiano, que te paga el Vaticano!’ (Let the Vatican pay for all your Christian bollocks!)
Eventually there were so many soldiers in the ‘army of darkness’ or the Kale-Laico (see glossary) that they overwhelmed any attempts to contain them, and they took the square; the police had to strain in heaving lines around the metro exit, from which more bemused christians emerged, to shouts of,
‘A los leones, tirales a los leones, a los leoooooones…. ‘ (To the lions, throw them to the lions, to the liooooooooons…. to the tune of ‘Guantanamera’.) To add insult to injury, every time a passing priest had to pick his way gingerly through the rioutous masses, the anti-pope protesters recoiled in mock shock-horror and yelled, wide-eyed,
‘Cuidado con los niños , cuidado con los niños !’ (Careful! Keep an eye on the kids! Watch out for the kids!).
Not wanting to miss their moment, the lesbians in the crowd began chanting,
‘El Papa no nos deja comernos la almeja!’ (The Pope can take a hike- I’m a pussy-loving dyke! – literally ‘The Pope won’t let us eat each other’s clams!)
And somewhere near the Puerta del Sol, up a crammed side-street, on Calle Preciados, groups of ‘Cumbayá’ from all nations of the world huddled together in their matching, state-sponsored merchandise, like EF foreign-language student groups, pointed at and mocked, with the accusation,
‘Esta mochila he pagado yo!’ (Hey! I paid for that rucksack!) Some ‘brave’ christians broke free to mingle voluntarily with the sinners, revelling in their own martyrdom, drowning in a sea of ‘punki-flautas’ and ‘perro-flautas’, alternative gay men, hippies, lesbians, teachers, socialists, students, and anarchists.
Years ago, in one of his bland, christian rock numbers, Cliff Richards remarked, quite accurately, ‘Why does the Devil have all the good music?’ He might also like to ask himself why he also has all the good slogans.
Punki-flauta (‘punk-flute’ = crusty punk)
Perro-flauta (‘dog-flute- = crusty with a dog on a rope)
Cristo-flauta (‘Christ-flute’ = God squaddie)
Los Cumbayá (the happy clappies)
Kale-Laico – comes from the politicised youth branch of ETA, Kale Borroka (luche callejera – Urban Fight), mobilised to cause street disturbances and commit acts of political violence. Term used by the religious majority/right wing to refer to left-wing anti-church protesters. Translation would be something like: Laic Street Fighters