Archive for April, 2020

Palm Sunday Seville 1940

April 30, 2020

Email from my father, Ramón Carbajosa-Segura on April 4th, 2004:

Dear Sons,

64 years ago, Franco’s fascist police took away my father and kept him in jail for 6 months. It happened before lunch time. All of my mother’s crying and begging was useless and so was ours (Pepe, Eduardo, Alicia and I). From the balcony of the apartment where we lived crowded together, we saw how they put him inside a car and left. Mom cried all afternoon, waiting for his return, since the police had assured her that it was just for a couple of hours….At 11pm that same day, my mother lost an eight month pregnancy of a boy to a miscarriage, and I being only 9 years old, had to go find a cab driver and a doctor, running down the streets of Seville crying, while my mother lost a lot of blood. 

I will never forget it, I will never forgive it.

All of you know the story already, but it is question of showing the flag every year as a matter of principle.

Read Original Email in Spanish

Copyright © 2020 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Franco Hitler

Hitler and Franco

Domingo de Ramos 1940 Sevilla

April 10, 2020

Correo electrónico del 4 de abril de 2004 de mi padre, Ramón Carbajosa Segura:

Queridos hijos,

Hace 64 años la Policía de Franco se llevó a mi padre y lo mantuvo en la cárcel hasta 6 meses después. Fue antes de la comida. De nada valió que mi madre llorara y suplicara y que todos nosotros, Pepe, Eduardo, Alicia y yo) hiciéramos lo mismo. Desde la terraza, donde vivíamos hacinados, vimos cómo lo metían un coche y se lo llevaban. Mi madre estuvo toda la tarde llorando, esperando su vuelta pues los policías le habían asegurado que sólo era una cuestión de una o dos horas….A las 11 de la noche de ese mismo día tuvo un aborto de un niño de 8 meses y yo con 9 años tuve que hacerme cargo de buscar un taxista, un médico, corriendo y llorando por las calles de Sevilla porque mi madre se desangraba.

I will never forget it, I will never forgive it.

All of you know the story but it is a question of showing the flag every year as a matter of principle.

Lea este artículo en inglés aquí.

Copyright © 2020 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

Franco Hitler

Hitler y Franco

Resistiré – Spain’s Hymn Against Coronavirus

April 5, 2020

A world famous emotional song of encouragement and overcoming, released by Duo Dinámico in 1988, is Spain’s hymn of resistance against the Corona-virus. The original version of Resistiré can be found here.

Here is the translation:

Cuando pierda todas las partidasWhen I’m losing every game

Cuando duerma con la soledadWhen I sleep with loneliness
Cuando se me cierren las salidas
When all exit doors close on me
Y la noche no me deje en paz
And the night doesn’t let me sleep

Cuando sienta miedo del silencioWhen Silence Scares me

Cuando cueste mantenerse en pieWhen it’s hard to stay standing up
Cuando se rebelen los recuerdos
When memories rebel
Y me pongan contra la pared
and put me up against the wall

Resistiré, erguido frente a todoI will resist, proudly face it all
Me volveré de hierro para endurecer la piel
I will turn into iron to thicken my skin
Y aunque los vientos de la vida soplen fuerte
And although life’s headwinds blow strong
Soy como el junco que se dobla,
I’m like the palm tree that bends
Pero siempre sigue en pie
but always stands upright again

Resistiré, para seguir viviendoI will resist to continue living
Soportaré los golpes y jamás me rendiré
I will withstand the punches and never give up
Y aunque los sueños se me rompan en pedazos
And though my dreams may shatter to pieces
Resistiré, resistiré
I will resist, I will resist

Cuando el mundo pierda toda magiaWhen the world loses all its magic
Cuando mi enemigo sea yo
When I’m my own enemy
Cuando me apuñale la nostalgia
When nostalgia stabs me

Y no reconozca ni mi vozAnd I can’t recognize my own voice

Cuando me amenace la locuraWhen insanity threatens me
Cuando en mi moneda salga cruz
When all odds are against me
Cuando el diablo pase la factura
When the Devil comes to be paid,
o Si alguna vez me faltas tu
Or if I ever miss you

The translation above is almost literal. It has a few adaptations to American-English, for example juncos are reeds, but in the U.S. we would usually associate palm trees to being capable of resisting strong winds, not the stem of a plant.

The literal translation of “Cuando el diablo pasa factura” is “when the devil brings the bill.” Pasar factura means when something brings about negative consequences, when things take their toll, or when someone is asking for a favor or services to be paid back. It’s really referring to those times when we’re being too hard on ourselves for something that’s happened in the past. “The Devil to pay” is of course an idiom that can work here.

In order for this translation to have the same impact as this song, it would have to be culturally recreated and also keep its overall meaning. Personally I’ve heard very few songs whose translations are successful. And that’s because song lyrics are usually very elaborate and pertain to a particular country or culture. It’s almost like songs cannot be translated and should always be sung in their original version.

Every night Spaniards across the country go to their balconies to applaud medical workers. Balconies have become a place where Spaniards unite to display solidarity, and a stage for all kinds of performances, including  the song Resistiré.

Duo Dinámico is a pop band founded in the late fifties in Spain by Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva. The lyrics to the song Resistiré were written by Spanish journalist and composer Carlos Toro and the music by Duo Dinámico’s Manuel de la Calva.

The song was also made famous in Pedro Almodóvar’s 1989 movie “Tie me up, Tie me down,” where it is sang by Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril and Loles León. You can see the clip here.

Resistiré has a recent version interpreted by more than 30 Spanish artists to fight the Coronavirus. Many versions that can be found in youtube performed by artists throughout the Spanish speaking world.

brown and pink concrete buildings

Typical condominium buildings in Spain. Photo by San Fermin Pamplona on

Copyright © 2020 Jorge Luis Carbajosa


Losing Unnecessary Weight

April 1, 2020

I finally found a spiritual solution to not being overweight. It’s in the first 3 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

Steps 1-3 of the AA program are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Copyright © 1952, 1953, 1981 by Alcoholics Anonymous Publishing

Step 1: I replaced the word “alcohol” with “food.” I am in fact, powerless over food. My eating habits became unmanageable from an early young age. I cannot control how much food I am going to eat but specially, what I’m going to eat. 

In my early teens, I ate and exercised excessively because I erroneously thought food converted into muscle with this practice. At the time, having a muscular body was one of my main obsessions because I had an inferiority complex. I thought having a muscular body would increase my self-esteem.

When I became an alcoholic in my late teens, I no longer exercised and I became overweight because I drank to oblivion with no limits. When I quit drinking in my early twenties, I became obsessed with food; specially carbohydrates. Many people say alcoholics in recovery replace alcohol with food. I’m not sure, maybe I’m just the obsessive type. Either way, for years I obsessed about what to eat and not eat in order to have the ideal weight. I tried the protein diet, praying to the Higher Power to not overeat, replacing whole meals with certain foods, but nothing worked. If I ever lost my extra pounds, they inevitably always came back because of my mental obsession and wanting to control my food intake.

man in brown shirt standing on train rail near coconut palms

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on

Step 2: I believe a Higher Power has restored my eating habits to normal. By practicing the prayer, or meditation “I am powerless over food,” my obsession is lifted and the Higher Power somehow allows me to know when I’ve had enough food, and not eat anymore. I no longer obsess or worry about food.

Step 3: I leave my eating habits and my food intake to the Higher Power. I can even cook cakes, and not eat them, nor feel compelled to. It doesn’t matter what I’m cooking or serving. My Will when it comes to food is left at my Higher Power’s hands and I no longer eat more than my body needs. AA’s twelfth promise comes true:

“We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for
ourselves.” (Copyright of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services)

Not surprisingly, in my last two annual checkups, my doctor told me that my body mass index is very good.

Copyright © 2020 Jorge Luis Carbajosa