Maria Amelia Lopez became a socialist when she was 16 and was fined for not showing support for the Franco regime. ‘I must be the oldest socialist activist in Spain’ she says. But her campaigning days are not over. Her grandson, Daniel with whom she lives, taught her how to navigate the internet after she had pestered him to download the biographies of poets and politicians. Daniel created a blog for her and the result has been a partnership in which she dictates the words and he does the typing. There has been an enormous response – so many people write to me she says that I can’t hope to reply to them all. Her grandson complains that he can’t spend all his time typing. When it is more than Daniel can manage friends or hotel cleaners in Brazil have given a hand. ‘I love you’ said one Brazilian hotel worker who was drafted in to help.
Most of her readers live in Spain and South America, though there have been hits from places as varied as Nigeria, Alaska, Australia and China.
I’m not important’, she says. Her readers might not agree, for she has some pointed advice and opinions to share. ‘Old people need to wake up a bit. Get your act together …..Scientists and inventors should try to create something to help the workers rather than inventing cannons and machines that kill and destroy….There is nothing better than exercising the brain….I’ve read Jesus’ life and I know he wasn’t interested in luxury……I used to be shy about saying things, but now I am old I am a lot more direct.’
Senora Lopez’s blog has reached the eyes of Spain’s P.M., Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. A letter from his office said ‘may you keep going for a long time’. ‘I hope he governs for a long time’, she says,’ because he is a true patriot’. And of herself she says, ‘I am not cultured enough for a prime minister to be writing to me.
I am just a little old lady’. Her dislikes include daytime pill-popping, crude language and telephone companies that are slow to install broadband. Her main loves are poetry, politics, childhood memories, her native region of Galicia, the workers. She disapproves of old people’s homes ‘where their clients are drugged so that they spend their final days snoozing quietly in front of the television’.
Maria Amelia Lopez is 95.
Information from The Guardian, September 1st, with thanks. amis95.blogspot.com is Maria’s website.