Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Dog Days Are Here

Contrary to Florence and the Machine's song "The Dog Days Are Over," here in Spain they have only just begun!

For starters, it's usually about 100 degrees here and living in a house with no air conditioning is making it absolutely UNBEARABLE.

However, part of me wonders if my argument would be different if I were in Florida right now with all of its lovely humidity and heat.

The "dog days" also refers to the ever growing political unrest I've witnessed since I've been here.

There have been many protests since I first arrived. According to my intercambio Melanie, the unemployment rate is at 23% and a rough estimate of about 5 million are out of jobs, herself included.

Melanie told me over coffee one day that the people here are, "tired of the corrupt government. They're tired of not being listened to and now we're doing something about it."

Well what exactly are they tired of?

Metropol Parasol in the Plaza de la Encarnacion
Take the Metropol Parasol for example. It's the world's largest wooden structure located in the Plaza de la Encarnacion here in Seville. I went to go see it and it is absolutely breathtaking.

However, it cost 90 million Euros to construct and ironically, it can't be used. It's starting to weaken in certain places and only a certain amount of people can be on it at one time or else it will collapse.

So what's its use now?

It's used as an example to the government by protesters. Sevillanos stake out in the Plaza and hold their signs about how the government and politicians spend too much money on structures that can't be used, among other things, and aren't using any of that money to help its residents.

A sign in the Plaza de la Encarnacion. It reads: "Reflect is the reason for your anger"
The Indignados--The Angry Ones-- have been taking to the streets at any given time making sure that their voices are heard. Melanie even put a picture up of a dog with the sign "Indignadog" stating that "this is how we're being treated."

courtesy of Melanie Vasco
In an article posted by Reuters, Europe is more worried about Greece's financial crisis and how its effects are influencing countries like Spain rather than Portugal and Ireland.

A banner hanging from an apartment showing support.
The bigger question is how are these "dog days" going to shape the next generation? The Indignados are primarily made up of young people showing their anger and dismay towards the current situation in Spain.

Only time will tell, but I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen once the dog days are over.

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