“I spent my life looking into the eyes of the people, that is the only place, where perhaps , still exist a soul.” Jose Saramago
The stolen eyes…
The rubber bullets are called “less lethal” weapons, or rather: weapons that harm and, in theory, don’t kill.
The European Union ruled in 2000 that these weapons can not exercise at the time of the shoot an energy higher than 122 K / J. In Spain, the rifles supplied to the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan riot police) got an energy of 830 K / J. Energy that imprinted on a hard rubber ball with a diameter of 4 cm, cause a speed of 720 km / h. For this reason Catalan police corps has developed a protocol of implementation, which should make this weapons “less lethal”.
First of all: the distance from the target, at the time of the explosion, has to be not less than 50 metres. Second: the bullet must be pulled first to the ground.
In 1982 the European Commission issued a statement, addressed to the Member States where the rubber bullets were used, warning that the weapon use was considered dangerous and disproportionate to the effects produced. In 2011 the European Union forbidden the use of rubber bullets in every State member.
Actually the rubber bullets are in use in three member States: England, France and Spain.
In Spain, where the rubber bullets have been used since more then 20 years, there are untill now, 26 confirmed cases of rubber bullets victims. 26 people who lost an eye. In Euskadi, Basque Country, there are the only two cases of death, as a result of injury by rubber bullets. Rosa Zarra, 59 years old, who died a week after have been strucked by rubber bullet, and Iñigo Cabacas a 28 years old guy died last April in Bilbao.
This project was created to collect the stories of the rubber bullets victims in: Spain, France, England, Tunis, Cairo and Bahrein. This project would start a global campaign to ask the prohibition of the rubber bullets not only in the countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrein where exist a military dictaturship but also in Spain, England and France, European countries where the constution shall ensure the respect and the protection of the human rights.
This project was born in Barcelona in 2011 in collaboration with the Italian- Catalan association: “Stop rubber bullets”, an association founded by five victims of rubber bullets. Five guys who lost their eyes forever. Nicola Tanno, guilty to attend the celebration for Spain world champion. Oscar Alpuenteand Jordi Naval, guilties to attend the celebration for Fc Barcelona champion of the Champions League. Jordi Sallent, guilty to attend the celebration for Fc Barcelona champion in the King’s cup. Carles Guillot: guilty to defend the right housing during a squat house evacuation close to Parc Guell, Barcelona. Five eyes stolen forever by rubber bullets fired at less than 20 metres away and with rifles pointed at man’s height.
Five victims who are waiting for their judgments. Five victims of the “democratic order” who will never know the name of the men in blue uniforms who stole their eyes.