Recently, I have seen things that greatly moved me here in Barcelona.
And both have occurred on public squares.
The first moment came as I crossed Plaça Catalunya, the city's very heart, one evening during citizen protests sparked in early May. At midnight, there they were: wave upon wave of people, standing on the square to protest rampant speculation and the wholesale robbery of our democracies.
There they were, by the hundreds, like true citizens. Standing, and awake.
The second encounter was more tender. It happened on my way to a summer theatre performace during Barcelona's open air festival, Grec. To get there, my friend and I needed to pass by the city's famous "Magic Fountain".
Constructed in 1929, the attraction of water, music, and lights are an irrestible draw for hundreds of tourists each night. As we made our way past the square, I was touched by the sight of nationalities from all over the globe shoulder to shoulder, many open-mouthed in wonder at the "simple" show.
As if to reaffirm (or rediscover): "No Spielberg is necessary. Cut out the 3D. Just give me my family... my lover... my child... my best friend at my side ... and let us share this magical moment, this wonder-ful evening in Barcelona. This is enough."
There they were, by the hundreds, like so many children.
Happy, and in awe.
This is the same quiet respect I once witnessed in a dark room in the heart of Trinity College in Dublin.
In the dimmed light, designed to protect an ancient manuscript of the four Gospels found in "The Magical Book of My Master", I watched agnostic, consume-driven Europeans gaze intently at the pages of Ireland's jewel, "The Book of Kells". There they were, struck by the beauty of the Word. Surprised, and yes, reverent.
The authors of the surreality shows, the Berlusconi-begotten insult orgies of Telecinco, want you to despair. They desire above all other things, for us to feel désenchantés: disenchanted, helpless victims of a Machine spinning out of control.
In the words of Belgian singer Kate Ryan, they are literally programming you and me to consider ourselves lost and in limbo:Tout est chaos
Tous mes idéaux: des mots
Je cherche une âme, qui
D'une génération désenchantée,
Yet, the hundreds of Europeans I have seen in the streets and on the squares, tell me otherwise:
They are standing -- indignados -- to say NO to unfettered and immoral materialism.
They are rediscovering the power of words, people, values.
They are remembering, perhaps, the true heritage of European culture.
In my humble way, I join you there: in front of the Magic Fountain, in line with you, to read the Magic Book:
I believe in Europe, I believe in the Light that used to illuminate her heart. I believe in Magic... enchanté.