Barcelona, a photo a day

politics

Nobody loves me!

DSC08999_tonemapped

Well, his mother probably does. But in Catalunya, not much love is lost on Mr Rajoy, the spanish prime minister (or El Presidente), third on this picture. The third on the right, that is. Right, that he likes anyway, being on the right side.

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Streetwear…

… for the modern girl about town.
This said, didn’t Golda Meir, the former Israeli Prime Minister, formerly known as Goldie Mabovetz, have a very similar handbag???
Yes, she did!


The paperboy

This little guy tirelessly stands at the entrance to a cafe in our street, giving out  Solidaridad Obrera, the newspaper of the CNT, an anarchist labor union.
Founded in 1907, the paper is  a free publication since 2005, financed with the support of subscribers and donations.

This is for Dragonstar’s weekend in black and white, of course.


September 11th…

…is also La Diada, the national day of Catalunya. It commemorates the defeat of the Catalan troops during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Catalan troops that supported the Habsburg dinasty were defeated at the Siege of Barcelona by the troops of Bourbon Philip V of Spain on 11 September 1713 after 14 months of siege. The holiday was officially reinstated in 1980 by the autonomous governing body of Catalonia, the Generalitat de Catalunya, upon its restoration after the end of the Franco dictatorship. Independentist organizations and political parties traditionally lay floral offerings at the monuments of the leaders of the defense of the city Rafael Casanova and General Moragues for their fight against the king Philip V of Spain. Typically, Catalan nationalists organize demonstrations and meet at the Fossar de les Moreres of Barcelona, where they pay homage to the defenders of city who died during the siege and were buried there. Throughout the day, there are independentist demonstrations and cultural events in most of the country.
Nowadays… We’re going to a crisis, as you know. We have a new government in Madrid, which seems to do all they can do to make things worse. Catalunya, by far the richest community in Spain, is bankrupt, and had to ask Madrid for a 1 billion bail out, so schools and hospitals can remain open. Even though Catalunya actually finances the rest of Spain. About schools, it started again a few days back, with 20.000 alumni more than last year,  and 3.000 teachers less. Many schools have to close in the afternoon for lack of money.
Hospital… Are closing. Fast.
So, as you can guess, some very strong feelings  are going around. Most people want independence from Spain. 

I don’t know where we’re going. We just all hope it won’t be as bad as it is in Greece. And we certainly don’t want Mrs Merkel to take over here as well!

 UPDATE: 1 and 1/2 million people, according to the police, on the streets of Barcelona right now, and what do they all want? Independence from Spain.


Nice day for a revolution

One year later, the indignados, or indignants,  are back on Plaza de Catalunya. Protesting against a lot of things:
-banks and bankers,
-cuts in the health and education systems,
-over 25% unemployment in Spain, 50 % amongst the under 25
and so on. 45.00 people (according to the police, 130.000 according to the organizers) demonstrated their rage on Saturday night. Many more in Madrid on the Plaza del Sol.

 Spain-istan, 100% corruption, 0% ethics, chorizo.


To be French in Barcelona on May 6th…

… means you were called to vote for a new President of the French Republic. As one of the almost 24.000 Frenchies registered at the french consulate (very few bother, so it is hard to say how many french are living here. Lots), I did. There were 3 places where you could vote, depending of your postcode. I went here, the Institut Francais de Barcelone, representing proudly french culture.

The results are out, we have a new president. Will it change anything? Let’s just wait and see.


Under siege!

The governors of the European Central Bank are meeting in Barcelona. This means that Spain has opted out of Schengen for a week (not a good time to forgetting your passport if you’re heading our way). It also means that the city is very literally under siege, as some people might be after those poor little ‘innocent’ bankers. Heavily armed riot police everywhere, streets closed, traffic jams…I saw about 20 vans from the riot police speeding to… some action, I guess. Well, as it was lunchtime, maybe they were just hungry.
As it is forbidden to take photos of policemen/women, even the group of plain clothed ones next to our house, with their balaclavas (as I was reminded very rudely by some cop), I wont show you the photos I took  (hey, I’m living here, folks! Don’t want trouble!). Let’s hope I did not commit a crime by watching what was happening in the skies over our fair city. And taking a photo of it.

Well yes, Skywatch Friday of course!


Controversy

Ice-skating on Plaza Catalunya…. Very controversial, as many many Barceloneses think that the 700.000 euros cost to operate it is a slap in the face of the 4.4 Mio unemployed in Spain. And the rising poverty and misery which goes with it, as unemployment benefits are very low in Spain, and hundreds of thousands don’t even get them anymore.

But it brings a smile to this little girl’s face.

Our World on Tuesday, and until Christmas.


Election day

Big election day in Spain today. Who will win? Probably not the common people.


Politics

A legislative election for the Cortes Generales in Spain is scheduled to be held this coming sunday. The elections will be for 350 seats in the Congress of Deputies, which will determine who becomes the Prime Minister of Spain. Elections will also be held for the 208 directly elected seats in the upper house, the Senate.
The Spanish government is currently led by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, member of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). Zapatero announced that he won’t run for a third term in the next election; the current deputy prime minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba will be the candidate, as he is the only candidate to the primary election in his party. The other major national party, People’s Party, under the leadership of Mariano Rajoy will battle against PSOE in this next general election.
There are some smaller parties involved as well. We even have a fascist party, and a Pirate Party here in Catalunya. But they have no chance to have a Prime Minister (actually called Presidente in Spain) elected from their ranks.

Right, whatever your political inclination might be. But the Occupy people are back, although only a small number of them. They want a government of people, for the people, not career politicians.

An Asian TV crew obviously anxious to interview somebody. Good luck!

An improvised table…

And welcome to our 140.000th visitor, whoever you might be!


Catalan vs Spanish: BIG trouble in little Catalunya!

This is what Wiki has to say:

Catalan (English pronunciation: /kætəˈlæn/, /ˈkætəlæn/, /ˈkætələn/; Catalan: català, IPA: [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈla]) is a Romance language, the national and the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian (valencià, IPA: [valensiˈa]), as well as in the city of Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current département of the Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia).
Although recognized as a regional language of the department Pyrénées-Orientales since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.                  

OK, thank you Wiki. Now… BIG trouble! Since 1982, teaching in catalan schools, kindergardens, universities, is in the Catalan language.
But since there are some Spanish people (…) living in Catalunya as well, some of them protested. They want their kids to be tought in Spanish, the language of Cervantes and Lorca.
So, what happened? This week,the highest tribunal in the country (meaning Catalunya, not the other one, not Spain) decided that, to respect a tiny minority’s wishes, teaching will from now on be done exclusively in Spanish, in schools, universities, kindergardens, etc.
The Catalan majority literally exploded, as you can imagine!

To be continued…

Meanwhile, in Barcelona… I took this photo in February, long before this story started. The owner of this shop, with an originally Spanish sign, tried to ‘ catalanise ‘ it, transforming escritorio into escriptori, papeleria into papereria. He might be a member of one of the few political parties here fighting for independance from Spain.

Many economists say that without Catalunya, Spain would long be bankrupt… As I said earlier, TBC. We’re living interesting times.


Acampada Barcelona: If they wont let us dream, we wont let them sleep

The revolution on Plaza Catalunya. A few photos from the village on the square. The same is happening in 56 more cities in Spain. For more background info, see Friday’s special post.


Democracia real, ya!

You might have heard or read about what the medias call ‘the Spanish Revolution’, tens of thousands of mostly young people occupying, Egypt style, the main squares of over 60 Spanish towns and the front steps of many Spanish Embassies abroad, under the slogan ‘real democracy now’.
Young people with no future, as the unemployment rate hit a record 21.3%. 4.900.000 unemployed people, in a total population of 47 millions… 11% of the total population, including kids and retired people. 43% unemployment in the young population.
So, well, who got us there??? They think it is the politicians.
In Catalunya, they’re called Indignats, the outraged ones. They occupy since May 15th our main square here in Barcelona, the Plaza de Catalunya. And sleep there, Tahir square style, ‘Yes we camp’ is another of the slogans used.

 What makes the whole story complicated is that we have municipal elections here on Sunday, and the law says that they will have to vacate the squares at midnight tonight (Friday), as the Saturday is a reflection day, non-political. They are recognized as a political force, as they say not to vote for any party…. So we will see what happens.
I don’t want to enter in a political debate, but guys, I am with you! This mess has got to change!
Above, some outraged firemen, bombers in Catalan. They would like the replace the socialist mayor, Mr Jordi Hereu, by Pep Guardiola, captain of the Barca, the Barcelona Football Club.

On more or less the same subject, a new political party is emerging in Barcelona right now, the Partido P.A.T.O (pato meaning duck in Spanish). P.A.T.O. stands for Partido Abre Tus Ojos, the open your eyes party. In their program, amongst many things, they propose lie detectors and intelligence tests for all politicians, the right to vote in US elections as ‘it is really them who lead us’, that politicians be fined for misleading publicity if they don’t hold their promises, and so on.  Oh yeah, they should be dressed as clowns to be easily identified. Common sense, really.


29/S

Today, September 29th, general strike in Spain and in many other European countries. Here is this morning’s BBC article about it:

The Spanish government has approved an austerity budget for 2011 which includes a tax rise for the rich and 8% spending cuts.
Madrid has promised European counterparts to cut its deficit to 6% of its gross domestic product (GDP) next year, from 11.1% last year.
Government workers face a pay cut of 5%, starting in June, and salaries will then be frozen for 2011.
A tax rise of 1% will be applied to personal income above 120,000 euros.
Smaller savings include an end to a 2,500-euro cash payout for new mothers, known as “baby cheques”.
Unemployment has more than doubled – to about 20% – since 2007.

Although sympathizing with the strikers, this blog is open for business. So, here is today’s Watery Wednesday post. Ciutadella Park, our magnificent fountain

As usual, click here to see more photos for this Watery Wednesday nr 107.