Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Trashed in Barcelona

The opening statement of a Financial Times article entitled “Spain Bailout” located in the Lex Column reads: “Hubris is a Greek word. It should resonate in Spain which is learning what it feels like to be Greece.” The world is well aware of the economic depression in Greece and now Spain is gaining some negative national attention with regard to their economy as well. Spain’s suffering economy is on the brink of requesting a European Union bailout and is struggling to barely stay afloat. The Financial Time’s article goes on to report that “Spain’s 10-year bond yields rose to a high of 7.284 per cent” which is “only slightly below the euro-era high of 7.285 percent touched earlier in the crisis.” This increase occurred last Friday, the same day that some friends and I toured the city of Barcelona.

On Friday we went to La Casa Batlló. This home is a masterpiece of the modernistic artist Gaudí and is one of Barcelona’s most visited tourist attractions. While leaving the house entering one of Barcelona’s most traveled streets, we passed a Barclays bank. In front of the bank was a full sized dumpster over turned on the steps accompanied by Spanish police officers lingering nearby it. When is the last time you saw an overturned dumpster outside the Suntrust bank on Broad Street in Athens? Exactly! Similar to Spain, our country is in a state of economic downturn and people are unhappy, but very rarely in America does one see such a visual and physical statement of discontentment from its citizens. However, in Barcelona, the only people who seemed to be intrigued by the overturned dumpster outside the bank were tourists. The Spanish carried on with their day, apathetic to this act of protest. In the States, if citizens are unhappy with some form of corporation or government they protest in the streets, lobby in politics or take to the media. Americans use the streets, the courts and the media to talk trash. That is not to say that the Spanish do not do the same; however, the Spaniards take their outcries of dissatisfaction one step further. While Americans are trash talking in the streets, the Spanish are dumping trash in theirs in order to make sure their message resonates loud and clear.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if this incident got any press coverage in Barcelona, or maybe even in a wider region like a national Spanish newspaper. I definitely think it's indicative of the Spaniards' disapproval of what's going on, and it is something that would absolutely be reported on if it happened in the States.

    I know it was meant to make a statement, and it resonated with you and the other tourists, but since no Barcelona residents seemed to respond, I wonder if it got coverage. And if it didn't, I wonder how much of an impact it really had in getting their message across.