Features by Charlie Mahoney
Leon is located in the high mesa of Northwestern Spain and is consistently known as one of the coldest cities in Spain. It’s no wonder then that their Holy Week celebrations are known for their solemnity and austerity. In 2011 they celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Brotherhood of the Sweet Name of Jesus the Nazareth.
The correfoc, which translates as “fire run,” is a Catalonian folk dance that dates back to the 12th century. While dancing to the drums of a traditional gralla, people dressed as devils, light fireworks and run through the crowd as participants latch on to them to dance with the devils in the fires of hell. The experience represents the conflict between the forces of good and evil and is a highlight of the Festival of the Mercè (Barcelona’s patron saint) every September.
In the 1900′s Barcelona was one of the world’s most celebrated bullfighting cities. With its three bullrings, it hosted more bullfights than any other Spanish city. On July 28, 2010 the Parliament of Catalonia, an autonomous region in Northeastern Spain, voted to abolish bullfighting in the region. An animal rights group, Prou forced the debate after gathering more than 180,000 signatures. This will force the closure of Barcelona’s Plaza Monumental, Catalonia’s only remaining active bullfighting ring which will hold the last bullfight on September 25, 2011.
Beneath the outsiders’ vision of the Maldives lurks a troubled reality – one shaped by 30 years of a brutal dictatorship. No one knows this better than Mohamed Nasheed, the nation’s new democratically elected President, who unseated Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the Maldives’ ruler since 1978, in a landmark election in October 2008. Nasheed was imprisoned thirteen times by Gayoom and was named an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience in 1991. Nasheed is determined to secure liberal democracy in the Maldives, but the country is facing pressing challenges at home. Despite significant tourism revenue – the… read more.
In 1890 John Joseph O´Mahony was born in Bawnea Kilbritain, a farmhouse, outside of Kinsale, in County Cork, Ireland. He was one of nine children. The times were tough so like many Irish, in 1915, John boarded a ship in Cobh, Ireland and immigrated to America. He never stepped again on Irish soil. Today, his nephews Bob O´Mahony, age 80 and Dan O´Mahony, age 78, live in the house where my grandfather was born. Neither ever married, so they share the work on the farm and look after one another. They manage the land and… read more.
Everyday thousands of sub-Saharan Africans try to enter Europe by crossing the divide that separates the two continents. Those that make it to Spain are customarily detained while the Spanish authorities attempt to determine their age and nationality. Because of a complexity of reasons, including insufficient government funding, the lack of repatriation agreements between Spain and many African countries and the fact that many sub-Saharan Africans lack documentation, thousands of immigrants cannot be repatriated. After 40 days of captivity in overcrowded detention centers they are released. In some cases they are flown from the Canary… read more.