Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.
One of the things I liked most about living in an ex-Soviet republic like Azerbaijan was the public art. It seemed that every square had some sort of socialist-reaslist sculpture exalting the working class, Huge works in metal actually representing our lives as something admirable. In other countries I had travelled through, public art always seemed to be either religious, historical, folkloric or odd mixtures of the three. While kings, crosses and military heroes dominated public spaces elsewhere, out on the banks of the Caspian outrageously heroic factory workers marched off to glorious Monday mornings in the Baku oilfields. Politics and the joys of coalmining aside, these muscular odes to the proletariat offered a completely different roost for pigeons than the usual tragedy on the cross, despot of the day or couples dancing a local dance. With work about to start on making San Pedro de Alcantara a pedestrian street, there will surely be some sort of statue placed in the new golden mile of Caceres. But rather than a hero riding a horse from the past, why not celebrate some heroes from the present? The brave, selfless people who volunteer to help fight against an enemy much more present and lethal than any opposing belief or invading army. The people who struggle day to day to keep us healthy while their bosses cut back on everything that isn’t tied down and privatize the rest. Creating impossible working conditions all the while accusing the hard working doctors and nurses of being incompetent. Perhaps the statue of the brave nurse who might have touched her face should be left to preside over the Plaza Mayor in the city she almost died defending and choose another for our city. Personally, I would vote for a monument to the tireless midwife who helps bring new life into our city every day. A woman who twice kept my wife out of the surgical unit by never giving up and going far beyond the normal call of duty. Let the birds rest on statues that celebrate the kingly and the dead and let’s honor those that keep us living.