The bull is already waiting in the arena ... and weīve decided to jump down.
With these words, David Casacuberta and this writer started our BBA adventure. For some time, independently from each other, we had the Big Brother Awards mosquito biting our minds. It was one of those projects stinging you day by day, under the "one of these days" sector. After yet another country joining in the BBA brotherhood, the wish to turn the project into reality grew, like the swimmer waiting on the edge of the water. Till, in may 2002, we jumped in. From then on, the BBA Spain started taking shape
I will not bore you with the entire process. The words of encouragement from the other BBAers, the shy beginnings in June, the long vacation period, the end of the summer, and the clock ticking. Thereīs the jury to choose, webpages to set up, start the meeting machinery in Madrid, last-minute nomination ... some day we might even recover our strength so we can tell the whole story.
One thing was clear: the spanish last-minute-effort capability was streched to the limit. In spite of the hard work by the few collaboratros, many things went resolved, or just turned wrong. The calendar tyranny gave so little time for the jury to decide, that the nerves of the Madrid organizers were on the verge of a breakdown. At the moment of truth, the press just didnīt show up -we didnīt seem to be as important as the latest soccer team; still, the public 2nd Channel of spanish TV aired a long documentary on the subject of hacking, along with the movie "Sneakers", it was chance, but welcome indeed-; add the lack of material means and funding, and the recipe for disaster seemed to be cooking.
But the human capability for adaptation and response beat it all. Still no physical awards to give at t minus 2 hours? No problemo, just borrow a few empty CDs -a good symbol for the state of privacy rights in Spain, besides having a canon- and thatīs it. The master of ceremonies is MIA? Well, the prof -thatīs me- will have to jump up the stage. I lose the "winner is" envelopes? Good that memory didnīt completely fail, and thereīs still some BBA-labelled sheets. Lack of funding preventing us from making even a few posters, but nothing some A3 color enlargements canīt solve.
In the best spanish tradition, the first BBA ceremony started with some delay, in the evening of 5 October 2.002, in the yearly hackers reunion known as the Hackmeeting; the chosen place for this year is the Labo 03 (Laboratory 3) squatter center in Madrid. A video made for the beginning refuesed to be played, a bad omen right in the start. Success was finally achieved, and Microsoftīs Steve Ballmer welcomed the audience from his now famous I-love-this-company show. An audience of 99%+ Linux users could only love it!
I can confess it now: I had my doubts on the conveniency of celebrating the first BBA in a Hackmeeting. But it turned out a complete success. Over 300 people crowded the meeting hall, watching and cheering at their favorite Big Brothers as they showed up on the screen. How much energy they spent while "loved" companies as Microsoft and Telefónica (Spainīs largest phone company) made their debut is something I leave to your imagination.
If you didnīt experience, well, thereīs no possible substitute in my words. But you wonīt be left out in the cold. Hereīs the BBA Spain 2002 winners, along with the runners-up. It was a fierce competition indeed -the roar of the people was the best withness to it- but thereīs place for only one winner. Several, to be true, for awards were given in five categories.
Lack of time prevented us from contacting the winners to get their opinion, or even to have them pick up their prize (not that we expected it, anyway). But we did manage to get Stop1984 the news on time. One of their representatives managed to email us back their thanks, which were read on the stage by journalist and hacktivist Mercé Molist.
Now that the first BBA Spain is behind us, Iīd like to thank those who helped to its success: Marcos Serrano, Esteve, Manje, David Casacuberta, and other who I should remember if only my memory worked fine. Thanks to the organizers of the Hackmeeting and to the Labo03 people. Thanks to all the audience, your cheers and roars kept the event alive.
Now we have an entire year to prepare better. You learn from your mistake, and we have no doubt that the second BBA will outdo the first one. And yet, that first-time feeling is a one-time-only sensation, and none of us will forget it.
To end it up, hereīs a copule press cuts, in Spanish. Media coverage has been scarce, but itīs slowly spreading. We hope it will spread to the english-speaking world, too. You can help, too, by sharing thsee views with whomever you please. Feel free to distribute it at will. Reproduction authorized.Libertad Digital article
Arturo Quirantes Sierra