A young Masai facing atavistic brutality, a 75-year-old filmmaker with the passion of the beginner before the windmills of technology, two mountaineers who take each other's shoulders, a journalist who knows the courage and does not forget the fallen colleagues , a woman who wanted to explore and found a wounded planet and a philosopher who wonders, at last, if we continue with what Socrates began: "to invite citizens to ask difficult questions about how we should live together". The answer, in the case of Spain, and according to the words uttered yesterday by his monarch, was given by the town 40 years ago with "the best example of generosity, maturity and responsibility", its Constitution, symbol of "democracy and freedom".
The award ceremony of the Princess of Asturias awards had a lot of community discourse, union before the dangers, call for dialogue. As the Princess of Social Sciences awarded the prize, the philosopher Michael J. Sandel, "it is a moment in which democracy faces dark times, asking us questions is our greatest hope to fix the world in which we live". And the King Felipe VI, in the speech that closes the ceremony said that those questions and those answers took place in this country at an "unforgettable" moment, when on December 6, 1978 the Spanish Constitution was ratified in a referendum. The Magna Carta, praised the King, "is the fruit of concord among Spaniards united by a deep desire for reconciliation and peace, united by the firm will to live in democracy, a Constitution that gave back to the Spaniards their freedom and their condition of citizens, who also recognized the diversity of their origins, cultures, languages and territories ".
If someone wanted to read veiled messages to current political conflicts, it was difficult. The King's speech was in the lane and apart from this chant to the Magna Carta, he only added some more temperature when he stepped on this land and paid tribute to Asturias, "history of all, root of Spain."
It was before speaking about the Constitution but also under the pretext of another anniversary, the triple centenary of Covadonga and his recent visit, together with the Queen, the Princess of Asturias and the Infanta Sofia. A trip that their daughters "will have engraved forever in their heart" and of which they keep "joy and gratitude before a people united by their feelings". Felipe VI came to list his memories: "the emotional visit to the Santina, the warm welcome, the greatness of that beautiful and breathtaking nature that surrounds Covadonga and rises in the Picos de Europa … Thanks, Asturias, sincerely, many Thank you".
An ovation followed. One of the few that were heard yesterday in the middle of the speeches. The applause of the public only interrupted the interventions five times. The first, when the new president of the Princess Foundation, Luis Fernández-Vega, who was premiering in Campoamor, said that "Asturias represents the respect and affection that our country has for its Kings". The rest were taken by Felipe VI, one when he mentioned the new president and another one to the predecessor, Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, one more when he spoke of Asturias and the last when speaking of democracy, freedom and Constitution.
Sober and with substance
Yesterday was an awards ceremony without too much spice but with much foundation. Nobody skipped the protocol or stumbled on a step, and the closest thing to the haka of the All Blacks last year was the timid dance, barely a turn on itself, of the Masai activist Nice Nailantei Leng'ete, taken by her two companions, Githinji Gitahi, head of the NGO Amref Health Africa, and his delegate in Spain, Álvaro Rengifo, when they appeared at the proscenium of Campoamor after collecting his prize for International Cooperation.
Nailentei, an ardent mediator in the fight against genital ablation, brought color with her jewels and Maasai headdress, dominated by red (color of her nation, symbol of courage, strength and unity), yellow (sun) and with a blue dress that for them represents the natural cycle: the sky that brings the rain that grows the grass that feeds the cattle.
Unintentionally, she was dressed in the speech of oceanographer Sylvia A. Earle. Because the Princess of Concord prize spoke of the Spanish conquerors who opened their exploratory appetite, of how those longings to know have allowed us to enter a still very unknown world ("most of the ocean has never been seen") of its own struggle as a woman ("some told me that I should not aspire to be a scientist or an explorer, but there is a difference between should not and could not, so I became a scientist and explorer anyway") and, most importantly, the drama of the planet. With the harshness of the facts, Earle described the millions of tons of garbage thrown into the water, the massive fishing that has depleted the fauna (90% reduction of many species) and "undermined the ancient ocean processes that have taken millions of millions of years to develop, but only a few decades to get rid of. " That is the bad news, the good news, that we are still on time: "The actions taken in the next ten years will determine our future for the next ten thousand years," he explained. "In fifty years, today's children can look back and ask themselves 'Why did not you do something?' or 'Thank you, for protecting Earth.'
It was a brilliant speech. All were yesterday. Well written, well told, well structured, with a lot of substance.
Another woman, the journalist Alma Guillermoprieto, award of Communication and Humanities, addressed the "wonderful Asturians" to talk about a trade, ours, which is entered with "dreams and illusions", a "narrower" reality is discovered in which "you earn little and you work from sunrise to sunset, although we really like that" but that, in the end, "you need". "Without a powerful journalism, well funded, respected by governments, the modern world, the world intertwined, it would be impossible," he explained. "We need, because we record what others want to cover, because we are the antidote to social networks with its immediacy and its empowerment of rage."
Trade and technology also overflowed the dissertation of the filmmaker Martin Scorsese, Princess of the Arts award, who machine-gunned his words with that diction that the public identifies so much with its narrators. He spoke of cinema and creators, of Cervantes, Goya, Unamuno, Picasso, Lorca or Buñuel ("one of the greatest artists in the history of cinema") and he congratulated himself on cultivating an art, the cinematographic one, that "is always present " Movies are born when you see them for the first time and each new director puts, in his own gesture, in his eyes, a new way of seeing. That is the art with capital letters, the one that always works, out of context. His fear is "the poisonous climate that surrounds us": "24 hours a day moving images flood our lives, announcements, TV episodes, cat videos, reality shows … everything has become 'content', a word that I do not like anything. " The solution, "do not get carried away by slogans and commercial hooks". Just as when Don Quixote fought against the windmills "he fought against technology to preserve his spirit", so, Scorsese said, "we can find ways for artists to use technology instead of the opposite, for technology to use to the artist. " Good news. As with Earle, there is still hope.