A Tearful Footballer and People Dressed in Flags

It goes without saying that being for or against Catalonia’s hypothetical independence does not help Spaniards pay their mortgages or find decent jobs, make their small businesses take off or stagnate, feed their children or offer them better opportunities in life. Walking on the streets of beautiful Madrid wrapped up in a Spanish flag does not keep anyone from having to go back to work on Monday or taking their kids to school nor does it help them make ends meet.

It was only after I came back from an amazing trip to Vietnam this summer and I was telling a friend how much I had enjoyed it and how I had just fallen in love with the country’s exquisite blend of modernity and authenticity, its mix of cosmopolitan touch and specific traditional nuances and colors that I realized I should come back down from my cloud-eleven holiday. Vietnam is beautiful, but I live in one of the best countries in the world.

And Spain being one of the best countries in the world makes this madness of showing off flags and giving out dramatically dense and yet sadly locked-in, narrow-minded, and immovable political speeches all the more absurd and aberrant. The mere fact that the drama-queen tears of a Catalan footballer made it to the headlines of news bulletins around Europe is ridiculous. That footballer maybe leaving Spain’s football team because of what he said on national TV – along with the utter nonsense of professionals actually showing interest in what he had to say on the topic as to allow him precious on-air time – is just bad journalism and definitely not news.

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Alegeri, alegeri, alegeri…

2015 va fi anul alegerilor în Spania. În primăvara, în toamna și în iarna acestui an pe care guvernanții l-au anunțat deja drept unul al schimbărilor și al îmbunătățirii iremediabile a situației economice, spaniolii vor fi chemați la urne pe durata unui adevărat ”maraton al sărbătorii democrației”. Sintagma nu-mi aparține; am auzit-o însă destul de frecvent de-a lungul anilor petrecuți aici, de fiecare dată când a avut loc vreun scrutin, tot timpul transmis pe larg de toate televiziunile. Alegerile au loc întotdeauna duminica – de aici primul sens al zilei de sărbătoare – însă probabil că sintagma se datorează atât firii în general vesele a spaniolilor, care găsesc multe și mărunte motive de bucurie, cât și sentimentului că, la o participare la vot care se situează în general aproape de 70%, oamenii chiar simt și cred că dețin puterea de a decide lucruri importante.

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