The radical and the bus

My first year at the University in Spain was really interesting. It was 1976. Franco had died just a year before. The country was evolving into a democracy after 40 years of dictatorship. There were meetings and assemblies, the new political parties were in their beginnings, there were strikes and disorders.

Our campus (a beautiful garden by the way) was pretty quiet. Situated in the outskirts of the city, there was only one line of buses which linked downtown with the University buildings. Spaniards have lunch at 2 pm or 2:30 pm and is their main meal. Sacred. The last bus before lunch departed each day at 1:40pm.

We had some radical elements. I remember one of them.  A red haired , long bearded guy, who belonged to the revolutionary organization of workers (ORT in Spanish), who wanted to organize a strike in the University, and started an assembly at noon at the big lobby of the main building. He stood on a bench and began haranguing the masses with a strong voice and a more ardent language than the color of his hair. He was saying that we were governed by assassins, and that the University authorities were accomplices of those assassins and so on. We were standing or sitting on the floor listening, shouting, laughing… And just when the speaker was trying  to organize a vote for a strike, a strong voice shouted: the bus!

Suddenly a stampede of students left the assembly running towards the bus stop to take the last ride before lunch. Our poor radical element with his red air and his red beard, his fist in high, found himself alone. I didn’t run (I prefer to walk rather to get crushed into the bus at a rush hour)  I still remember his annoyed face and his figure standing on the bench with no more than ten people around him, while a janitor already was sweeping the floor full of papers and butts.

In the featured image, a view of the Campus today.



Author: Olga Brajnović

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