Farce and satire have been tools for criticizing authority figures since time immemorial, eroding their inflated social status, and bringing them back down to earth. But when the ruling class is limited only by their own courts and their own laws, they can surpass the cruelest farcical caricatures of unreasonable authority to make sure that when the curtain falls, no one is laughing.
The two puppeteers imprisoned for promoting terrorism in Spain last weekend might see the irony in their situation, but they are probably not smiling.
Raúl García and Alfonso Lázaro were performing a theater piece about government frame-ups during the Carnival celebrations in Madrid last Friday, February 5. In a sort of Punch and Judy routine, a witch puppet battled it out with a landlord, a judge, a nun, and the police.
At one point, after knocking her to the ground, a cop puppet places a banner on her and takes a picture, basically framing her for a terrorist offense. The banner reads: “Long Live AlkaETA.” AlkaETA is not a real group. The name is a combination of al Qaeda, the current terrorist bogeyman, and ETA, the armed Basque independence group against which Spain’s anti-terrorism politics were founded.
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