after we were able to taste the first fresh figs “figas-fló” (the
first kind to appear around Sant Joan in the last week of June) I
intended to start a series of two or three articles about another of the
symbolic trees of the landscapes and the culture of the Pitiusas
Islands, the fig-tree.
have been receiving in the last few months, personally and also to the
editorial at LiveIbiza.com, a good number of e-mails from our readers
from all parts of the Islands and some from other countries, from
residents with property here that they use only temporarily.
are astonished to see the amount of negative changes they find every
time they come. They see many “irregular” works and buildings being done
all over, such as deforestation in protected areas, the closing of
ancestral ways to the seaside or the opening of new ones just for
see where people have been building walls and fences on public ground to
use the soil for private business, perforating and using new private
wells without any licence just to water their grass and exotic gardens.
Ibiza town they still have to drink salty water this summer.
Meanwhile there are people removing earth and sand to be sold, creating
new illegal sandpits, changing completely and drastically the landscape
of entire areas, building villas and blocks of apartments, even complete
urbanisation in what are supposed to be very restricted, protected
the great majority of these cases, this activities means, with no doubt,
the breaking of the actual laws about ecology, a clear and real crime
against the environment, condemned by the local, national and
international environmental laws. And always for the profit of a very
few, always for the same ones.
why? Why are all these crimes allowed? Is it because the ecological laws
are considered to be second, or rather third class laws? How is it that
these laws can be so easily broken with the complicit partnership of
some of our politicians and tribunals?
would love to be able (if I’m capable), to answer all these e-mails
publicly, because I think this is the only way that it can have some
practical effects upon the problems that we are all denouncing.
Opening a public debate on them (only the denouncements that reach the
front page in local newspapers seem to get any timid answers there may
be from the soft political opposition). And also because now, at this
time of the year, after working hard - at least ten hours for seven days
a week in my regular job - apart from writing these weekly articles as
well as other responsibilities as a family man, there is very little
time and energy left for me to answer personally to each one of them.
Everybody, including all the political parties, says they recognise and
agree about the extremely urgency to face and work out our ecological
problems. They involve residues, water, black-water treatment, energy,
uncontrolled and anarchic building, etc., They are still there, despite
everybody knowing the total impossibility of carrying on building,
growing and developing like in the past years, trying to ignore and
avoid those more-than-obvious problems, without a sustainable plan,
without a clear and accepted definition of our obvious limits. The real
truth is that these problems just keep getting bigger and bigger,
becoming chronic, and condemning us and our children’s’ future.
political and the legal situation towards these problems in our
community have reached the “summum” of the absurd and the maximum
inefficacy in practical terms.
maybe everything is so obviously clear and it is really scary just to
see how much perfidy and greed there is in the hearts of some of those
who say they do all for the best of the Islands and its inhabitants.
(The ones, who say that the power should be for the people, really want
the power for the ones who say that the power should be for the people.
I remember reading that somewhere!).
yes, there is plenty of bitter debate on these problems, in every
political session. Kafka could have beaten his own absurd records just
by writing about the political news and the contradicting declarations
of the politicians appearing daily in the local press.
Let’s take for instance a singular case, a private urbanisation by “Port
des Torrént” in Sant Josép. This urbanisation was being built two years
ago (just before and during the building moratoria declared by the
“Consell Insular” to try to stop - without success - the chaotic
was twelve metres away from the beach and the seaside (I went there with
some neighbours to measure it). The “National Law on the Coast Line”
says, and also said at the time, that no buildings can be built within
two hundred metres from it. The neighbours’ association presented a
denouncement to Sant Josép Town Hall and to the local government “Consell
Insular”, advised and backed by “GEN” and “Friends of the Earth,
Eivissa” for what they thought was a clear case against the actual laws.
response of the “Consell Insular” proved the neighbours right and
sent the orders to Sant Josép to stop immediately all the building
works. Nothing happened.
response of Sant Josép was that this area was declared as already
urbanised, as it was part of Sant Josép downtown, seven kilometres away!
But to declare an area as urbanised means that all the infrastructures
are already built on it (water and energy supplies, sewerage system
completed and working, pavements and parking areas, roads and accesses
Nothing of it was even started then (!!). The answer of the building
company was to start building the trenches for all those needed
services. To do so - to make a trench of more then two kilometres long
by almost two metres deep and one metre wide in solid rock - the most
heavy and noisy machinery was used. Caterpillars with huge compressor
hammers among others. This was happening by the end of June and it went
on all through July, August and September, in an area with more then two
thousand tourist beds, as well as several hundred residents in a radius
of less then four hundred metres and twenty metres from Port des Torrent
beach, one of the most crowded on the Island.
national laws, as well as the Balearic Community, including Sant Josép
laws, are very clear about building in the tourist areas: any and all
building activities have to stop completely from the 15th May
until the 15th October, especially in tourist areas, or near
by the areas that are being used as tourist relaxation areas, such as
beaches and public parks; nothing that can disturb the relaxation of the
tourists who have paid their good money to be able to rest and enjoy
their holidays(!!!). More denouncements came from the neighbours, from
all the ecological groups, from the “Consell Insular” and from
private tourists, taking the case in to the tribunals.
response of Sant Josép was that, in some cases, if they considered it
was a priority and an event of “public interest” (?) they can vote a new
local law and give the licence if they consider it convenient. But the
law also says that no local laws can derogate a national law without a
voting of the National Courts. So what on earth is all
debate was opened and bitter discussions started. The carousel started
turning, speeding faster and faster as the discussions around the
problem were getting spun more and more. The arguments were speeding
around the problem, but the problem itself, as with the axle of the
carousel, didn’t move a single inch.
what I really wanted for this week was to speak about the figs and the
fig tree is the favourite tree of the painters, as the almond tree is
the favourite of the poets and photographers. The fig’s twisted and long
branches, forming like an umbrella with its supports, are an excellent
drawing exercise and it decorates beautifully the paintings of our
fig tree is also a mystic tree; Buddha was illuminated meditating under
a fig tree. There is definitely an aura around the fig tree, as I can
remember as a child, after the Sunday celebration lunches, where we use
to eat the fish that my father, and later my brother and I use to catch
the same morning to be eaten with the rest of the family, at my
grandparents’ farm. After the lunch, in the hottest hours of the day, I
remember my father and mother going to get fresh figs from the tree as
dessert. They warned the children not to molest them, because they would
have a little siesta under the tree’s lovely and cool shade after
eating. I know since then that there is something very special with this
tree, when I remember their faces after the “siesta”, normally with a
serious and hard look, then they was radiant, relaxed and happy, like
coming back from Nirvana.
apartments in Port des Torrent have been for longer than a year already
on the market for sale. You can see the publicity blurb (apartments for
sale in Port des Torrent, ten metres to the seaside) in the Diario de
Ibiza. The denounces? Goodness knows! The results of this
Kafkaesque affair: A lot of energy, time and resources wasted. The
Rights of a lot of citizens ignored and frustrated. The Truth and the
Justice insulted and violated. All and anything for the money. (Of a
few, of course).
is like reading Kafka upside-down, speeding around on a carousel, trying
to eat figs at the same time (I have a headache).
so, I will try to continue for a few weeks, just to try to understand
something of it myself. I hope to have the help of Hazel Morgan,
president of “Amics de la Terra, Eivissa” and also from Joan Carles
Palerm, president of “GEN-GOB, Eivissa-Formentera”. Meanwhile, I will
carry on eating figs. (Do you have any aspirins left? Please).