Saturday, September 25, 2004

José and the F word, could Australia learn from Spain?

Spain's Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero says his role is not to shape public opinion but to follow it.
"I don't want to be a great leader; I want to be a good democrat. I accept that when an overwhelming majority of citizens says something, they are right."
On April 18, the day after he took office, he ordered Spain's 1,300 troops out of Iraq. He set up a government that has as many women ministers as men, and alternates them down the hierarchy. He launched policies against the aggression within Spanish machismo, stiffening laws against domestic violence and proposing the legalisation of gay marriage and rapid, no-fault divorces.

A radical democrat committed to feminism is a major departure for Spanish politics.



This is the country that has suffered from terrorism, with at least 1,000 killed by the [Basque] terrorist band ETA over the past 30 years. Spaniards have learned to adapt and understand that they have to combat terrorism by being firm but also by respecting democracy.


"I'm not just antimachismo, I'm a feminist. One thing that really awakens my rebellious streak is 20 centuries of one sex dominating the other. We talk of slavery, feudalism, exploitation, but the most unjust domination is that of one half of the human race over the other half. The more equality women have, the fairer, more civilized and tolerant society will be. Sexual equality is a lot more effective against terrorism than military strength."

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