The city of

Encarna Otero

Encarna: the woman, the daughter, the friend, the mate, the teacher. Moreover, she can be perceived as the fighter, the politician, the historian, the manager, the writer. But, above all, she is a Galician living in Carme neighborhood located in Compostela. She enjoys reading and getting excited with the essays “Sempre en Galiza” (Castelao) and “O Segundo Sexo” (Simone de Beauvoir). She luxuriates tasting cherries and figs directly picked from the tree as well as taking a refreshing summer dip in the sea  or giving a quiet Sunday Stroll by the Pedroso.

Woody Allen said something like “Retirement is for those people who spent their lives hating what they have been doing.” So, are we telling the truth if we affirm that Encarna is still taking a great pleasure from all of her activity fields?  

I think so. The retirement pension is a right that we have when we have been a whole life working. Above all, it is our right to something: to have security and be able to occupy your time in something that before you could make by the non whatever reason, i.e. lose hours and win time, a time to enjoy it.

Nowadays, have you got any new projects you can tell us about? Would you be back to audiovisual direction after the experience of “A luz do Negro”?

In the Equality Commission of the Council of Culture, we have a line of work in order to recover the memories of women who still live and that you can lose track of their work if they were not recovered. In this sense, there is a whole line of projects that will continue.

To change the world, what would be more important: to create a new children’s literature, teach teenagers to love the history, improve the life to adults or value the knowledge and the experience of our ancestors?

Everything. Change the world is a work of ants as we usually do women by which all is essential. All this and much more is needed to change it and, above all, what is essential is the daily work of the people because those are the immense and enormous facts that transform the life.

Do front and back of the current educational system?

The reverse of the current educational system is that it is threatened as public system, as the fundamental basis of the life and also is terribly cut in its resources. This is the  back. The great front is that, even, thanks to the struggle of the people, the educational system is still held as well as the professionals who work in it and, above all, that people see it as an essential right which should bind to invest our taxes.

The teacher, Encarna Otero, captivated with her unique perception of the History with which she always approached present and proximity. Is it an arduous task to convert history itself in the history of each one of us?

Yes. Clearly, what we are trying to convey in education is as previous generations did things that can influence our daily life and that we are part of a package that comes from the past and continues toward the future and we have the obligation to transmit it. The History has to serve to act in our daily lives.

All Encarna tenderness was discovered by the whole audience through the children´s literature in spite of having us more accustomed to publications of social-historical content. Is this tenderness compatible with public life?

This is absolutely essential. I believe that the tenderness is a very feminine component and hopefully men learn to live with it and for it too. It is essential in the everyday life because, in addition, tenderness lets you be angry when necessary and have got firmness and audacity to continue forward. The tenderness should be reflected in all life aspects.

Do the sacrifices reach to be compensated for the satisfactions of public activity?

If you have very clear the public service, i.e. if you give everything and you leave always, life itself is a line at which you contribute and leave. The effort, work, lack of time and do away with many things, obviously, are part of your will and vocation to public service.

Galicia is a matriarchy led by men. Is it that way because women are less ambitious than men or because the policy continues to discriminate against women?

There is a huge presence of women in Galicia because they work much but that leads neither to decision-making nor in power, i.e. the power of women in Galicia has not yet arrived as well as access to economic resources. There is still much. You see the difference between Amancio Ortega and Rosalia Mera and compares the business projection of both and this difference you will perceive. Feminism has this very well studied and when women do not participate or are present or take power is due to many reasons, but among many others, are very important the immense obstacles that are put in order to exercise that work and that power. Sometimes, women give reverse because they are not ready to pay the immense effort that are supposed to be in positions of leadership, therefore the power of women is essential because when women take power, generate a better quality of life for all men and women.

What remains of the city of Compostela that you left  when you went to France in the 1970s?

Almost nothing! Attention, in these past four years that the “PP” has ruled, I thought that the dark, grey, black, classist and terrible  Compostela  was going to return! Fortunately, Compostela changed a lot through democracy from the 80s and 90s. Moreover, the city improved at the urban level, had a project of which we are living today. Of that Compostela remain the neighborhoods with identity which had a life of its own and which I believe are essential, but no more than that, fortunately. Hopefully it will not go back.

Is the currently Santiago more designed to tourists and visitors than for Compostela’s people welfare?

The city is so lost for its people. First it’s necessary to think over the touristic model because it can die for saturation or success. The city can be unable to manage the tourism that comes. This is also happening in other places, they are already studying it. So Santiago must do it as well. In second place, it’s true that all the welfare politics were eliminated and it’s necessary to recovery them. Because it’s easy to see the poverty and marginalization through the city. This needs an alternative, an exit. Let’s wait that in the next four years with the agreement of all the politic forces which are in the corporation, those that said that they are in the service of people, politic of welfare be established again and that politic of agreement established the thinking about tourism. Otherwise it can be bread for today and hunger for tomorrow.

What had Rosalía or the Fandiño Ricart sisters in common with the Compostela’s women of nowadays?

They had dreams and hope. They had illusion for living in a better world and lots of tenderness and love for Compostela. Furthermore, one with her poetry and her work (many times about love, other times more about anger and fight), and the other ones with their colourful, produced an incredible huge light that it’s not anymore Compostela’s but universal. I think that it must be also an aim to the Compostela’s women of today.

To make country, city, neighbourhood, is love declaration from Encarna Oterno to Galicia, to Santiago and to the Carme. Is not that love making you to reconsider the coming back to the active politics?

When I left the municipal life after twelve years, I was sure that I was left it in younger hands, hands with the same strength I had when I worked for this city. But this isn’t mean that I don’t participate in politics. Because politics are all. Not only being a representative in the council. Now I am part of a neighbours association, in which we are also making politics since we made neighbourhood. This is other way of working, one in which I will be working till I go back to the ground.

Finally, do you think, as Catelao, that “the real heroism consists in changing wishes into realities, ideas into facts”?

Yes. I completely agree with that. It’s necessary to talk about, to work and that it serves to give us fruits of the labour, whatever it was. I agree with Castelao and I might go back to the ants’s perspective, they work every day doing a hard effort to build and that’s the right way of working. That last thing is to those people in Compostela who wants to start something. Do it, fight for it and play with the only thing we can do it here in Galicia: the quality of well done things. Because just in that way we can restore Compostela in the World, which is what we need in this moment.

A wish?

Justice around the world and a better life for the women.

"The city is so lost for its people."

"I believe that the tenderness is a very feminine component and hopefully men learn to live with it and for it too."

"The History has to serve to act in our daily lives."

"Change the world is a work of ants as we usually do women by which all is essential."

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