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Pursuing Knowledge: A Dangerous Task
By Beatriz (Y5B, 2006-07)

Today I will try to show you how the pursuing of knowledge may be a dangerous task.

A dutiful girl as I am, our teacher encouraged us to introduce English language in our daily life and I got down to work.

One of my ideas was reading free magazines for English speakers in Madrid: In Madrid External Link and Broadsheet. This was cheap and easy for me. I only had to go upstairs to the second floor of the building where I work, where the Australian Embassy is. Years ago, I used to pick my magazines up there. So, there I went!

But… not so easy, darling! The world is not the same since September 11th and the Twin Towers attacks.

When I arrived there, I ran into a metal detector – which wasn’t there before September 11th. I crossed it merrily, but the security guard was waiting for me behind it, offering me a plastic basin. (“A plastic basin? They are not very stylish,” I thought). At the beginning, my impression was he was offering me candy (“Anyhow, they are really kind!”) but soon I realized he wanted to see in the basin my mobile phone, MP3, iPOD, Wii or whichever dangerous device I was carrying. After this, I tried to explain to him what the purpose of my visit was but he stopped me and asked me for my Identity Card.

This is when all the trouble started. I told him I wasn’t carrying it with me. I worked just below on the first floor, and had this (audacious) idea of dropping by to get a magazine or two to improve my English. That was all. Then I should leave. But my communicative skills and natural charm did not move him. He insisted: “I need to see your ID card”. Since I am a resourceful woman, I suggested: “Listen, I can go downstairs to my office and bring my card to you”. “I cannot let you go, because you have come into the Australian Embassy and I have not identified you yet. These are the rules.” Oh, my God, I became really nervous at this point. I wanted to go back work, back home, I wanted to see my family again, sob, sob! In the end, after some minutes pleading, he allowed me to leave. Probably, he noticed he was practicing an illegal detention.

Some days later, I got my magazines in an Irish Pub. I must confess I felt much safer surrounded by all those beer-glazed eyes than by the paranoid security measures of my neighbours.

A toast to old Europe!

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To Old Europe!

To Old Europe!