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The wrestlers of the Cañada Real

By hollisterclothingoutlet 05/12/2022 620 Views

It is seven thirty in the afternoon in the Bellavista Park in Rivas-VaciaMadrid. Kay, a husky/Chow Chow mix puppy, scampers across the lawn. Its owner (that is to say, looking at who is following whom across the meadow) recognizes that one more feels here. Nobody pays special attention to it except to comment on canine customs. They don't know that every day she travels the 5.9 kilometers that separate her from her home in sector 6 of the Cañada Real Galiana so that the furry ball can play.

They do not identify her as a foreigner either: she is the only woman in her community who does not wear a veil. She has an accent, the cocky Madrid accent that spills over into H's and J's like the rest of those present, and she wears a tight-fitting dress with red flowers, white trainers and large, stylish sunglasses. Here he talks to men and women interchangeably and naturally, which is not so easy ten minutes south by car. Though Houda Akrikez, 34, doesn't have many conventions left to blow up.

“That's my daughter” says Enfetla to whoever wants to hear her, and who doesn't, too. Mother of eight children, she feels proud of her when she sees her organizing demonstrations with the other women in the sector, all Moroccans. "My father, who is a 75-year-old man with a long beard, a typical Moroccan as you can imagine, also supports me," explains the young woman. Ahmed built the family home little by little with his own hands, arriving every day from work as a bricklayer, walking more than 15 minutes to get to the plot he had bought. He negotiated the acquisition with a neighbor in the area and paid her the equivalent of 10,000 euros in pesetas in 1994. "We bought the land, we did it well, they gave us a receipt," recalls Houda.

More informationThe UN insists: Spain violates international law in Cañada RealThe lives of Cañada Real come to the fore

When he was nine years old, one afternoon Ahmed took his entire family from the apartment in the Bank of Spain, where they lived for rent, put her on a bus to Conde de Casal, from where they covered the distance between the A-3 and their new home for the first time. They occupied the two rooms and the kitchen that were built, the rest would arrive little by little, with a family investment of 25,000 euros to build and adapt it. Nobody has given anything to the Akrikez. In the mid-nineties, La Cañada was considered a new neighborhood, so much so that at that time the Postal services, lighting, asphalt and even water tanks from the Community arrived when the supply was lacking. "We are in a country where people's rights are respected," the father told Houda, when in 2007 the area began to deteriorate and both the Madrid City Council and the Community left them to their fate. The daughter soon realized that this was not the case.

The day the demolitions began, she was newly married and visiting Tetouan. She saw it on television, on the Arabic channel Al Jazeera. "They were talking about a neighborhood in Madrid that was being dismantled and when I recognized La Cañada I called my parents, we didn't understand what was happening," he says. From one day to the next, their reality was taken from them. What had changed? The transfer of the sale of drugs after the disappearance of Las Barranquillas to a very delimited and specific part of sector 6, something that had nothing to do with her, her family or the hundreds of families that had spent decades building a neighborhood there, building a city .

A multiplied fight: for the neighborhood and against the machismo of the community

The wrestlers of the Cañada Real

It was time to mobilize, and Houda, already a mother at the time, together with a group of girls who felt that La Cañada was part of their life, decided to move and ask what was happening. It was 2010 and these women knew that they were going to multiply the fight: for the neighborhood and against the machismo of their community. "Tell your husband to come to the mosque to ask," they were told when they wanted information. Instead, in 2014 they formed an association, Tabadol, an Arabic word meaning exchange. At the same time that she became a mother and worked at night, Houda studied administrative management, then high school, social integration, intercultural mediation and conflict resolution. Along the way came a divorce and the abandonment of the veil.

― Why did you stop using it?

― There came a time when I didn't want to use it anymore. Before, I had also taken it because I wanted to.

― Was it after you were a mother?

―Yeah.

Every time life has gone wrong for her, she remembers that she has two daughters, ages 11 and 12. "They deserve to have a surviving mother, I want to be an example for them," she smiles as she says it. It's not always easy. Some of her family stopped talking to her when she put the hijab on. Especially his older brother Mohammad, who didn't speak to him for two years. A few months ago, he sat next to her at a neighborhood meeting. “It is very difficult to see a Moroccan woman in an assembly in Cañada Real with 30 men giving them orders and talking about how the neighborhood is going to be organized,” she explains. And there was his brother, sticking out his chest.

Up to 60 women in the protest

This last year, from Tabadol the women of Cañada have led the citizen mobilization due to the power outages, especially making visible the consequences of the lack of electricity after the storm Filomena . Up to 60 women participated then. Men called them in February and March to say thank you. Today there are only six of them, and Houda accuses the fatigue of being the one pulling the cart. The lack of political results is hurting them. "Many neighbors don't let their wives out of the house now, telling them that what they have done is useless," he explains. They are once again marginalized in a loop from which it is very difficult to get out. It takes her sleep away.

― What do you have to do to change the brains of husbands?

― How about husbands? They are the ones who have to change their way of thinking!

She's bothered by the question. She does not accept that Moroccan women are infantilized. “There are compañeras here who have studied law, medicine, social work. Others are housewives”, she claims. "The men of sector 6 still do not believe that a woman has management capacity." The shadow of masculine prejudices still reaches the younger generations, Houda sees it every day: "Recently a 17-year-old girl did not want to get into a car with a colleague of yours who was going to do an interview, so they would not see her ”. He believes that they are the ones who must react. “It is clear that no man could have achieved what we have done this year,” she says. Kay the pup steps in here and barks assent, pulling Houda on the leash in the direction back to Cañada Real Galiana, where the two grew up and learned to fight, and the place they still want to call their neighborhood.

A year without electricity for 4,000 people, 1,800 minors

In two weeks it will be one year since there has been no electricity in a part of La Cañada Real. This is one of those times when it is precisely that things do not change that is news. Nearly 4,000 people, including some 1,800 children, have gone through the pandemic, Filomena, and a summer with historical peaks of heat without being able to warm up, cool down or study online in a school year that has been practically telematic.

The situation remains stuck, and no one assumes responsibilities: neither the Madrid city council, nor the Community, nor the Government Delegation. In the meantime, the Provincial Court in June ordered the investigating court number 42 to rule in favor of Naturgy taking into account only his version, and has requested that the reasons for the cuts be investigated independently. The Ombudsman continues to make requests, the last one in May, for the electricity supply to be restored, and even the UN has asked that the political struggle be put aside and that the obligations in terms of international law towards the population be fulfilled from the area.

Houda Akrikez highlights the performance of the women of Cañada, in such a difficult year. “They are an example and I am super proud of them. With the Covid, when they told us that we had to wash our children's clothes in hot water so they could go to school, we did it, even without having light for the washing machine”. The minors showered daily and did their homework, all in the dark. "Mrs. Ayuso has never in her life come to Cañada Real to say the things she says about us," he says, referring to the words of the president of the Community in parliamentary session accusing the residents of not wanting to pay bills. “We have seven-year-olds with more values ​​than her.”

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