Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

My boss sent me to the city council to write a piece about a polemic session that was going to take place very late. It began at 8:00 pm. I was an intern. Very young. I think I was 17. I wanted to cause a good impression because my first day at job had been a complete disaster.

Back then almost a third of the city council was in hands of the radicals pro independence who supported the terrorist group ETA. They used to introduce motions asking for the Basque Country independence including Navarre. My newspaper had its headquarters in Bilbao and my deadline was 10:00 pm, earlier than the rest of the journalists.

When I arrived I saw that in the streets there were violent demonstrators and a lot of police. While we were in the session the situation in the street worsened. The police wouldn’t let me  leave the building because of the violence, so I began to get worried about my deadline.

I had to look for a phone and I found one in a small office next to an open window. The police was shooting rubber bullets that bounced everywhere. I took the phone and sat down on the floor under the table to talk with my boss. I dictated my piece about the city council session and the disturbs on the street with the sound of the shots and the screams in the background, while my colleagues remained at the council room. The news was in the street.

Around midnight the police allowed us to leave the building. Only one of the journalists had his car out of the perimeter formed by the burning barricades so we decide to go all together towards his car. When we were walking with the police behind us, suddenly a demonstrator appeared in front of us and screamed “Murderers!”. The police began to shoot towards him with us in the middle. We had to run looking for a safe place to escape the rubber bullets.

Fight or Flight.


4 thoughts on “Learning

    1. Olga Brajnović says:

      I was 17. I was scared at the time. But next day I found it very exciting.


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