By Nicola Peschek
Europe is in political turmoil. We’ve all watched as the worldwide economic crash and subsequent public bailout have lead to harsh austerity measures across the continent, perhaps most notably regarding the debt crisis faced by Greece. More recently however, the focus has shifted to Portugal and Spain, as their populations have risen up in protest against the decisions of their governments to protect the interests of the banks over the interests of the people.
Demonstrations of this scale do not occur without reason. I spoke to Jorge Pizatos, 60, who has been living in Brighton for ten years but originally came from Spain, about the situation in his home country. He said “it is not like England, there are no benefits and so no job means no food… people are dying as there’s nothing to eat.”
Jorge went on to tell me that he believed England was one of the best countries in the world as we have access to far more information about what is happening across the globe than many people in other countries. The media in Spain has been trying to play down the number of people involved in the protests. Maria, a house mate of his who has lived in Spain most of her life, said “television in Spain does not show the reality, it hides the number of people involved.”
It is apparent that those who are currently living in Spain, therefore experiencing the pressures of the recession first hand, are not the only ones who are angry and calling for change. The general consensus seems to be the people of Britain should not see themselves as separate from the issues currently going on in the rest of Europe. I spoke to Mariano, who believes that “the revolution should be happening across western civilisation. We live in a bubble. So many people live in poverty in the rest of the world, which may soon be here.
“The more countries involved; the more power they have.”
Across Europe there are growing protests against cuts to the public sector which have spiralled out of control, to the point where survival itself has become a challenge. I must ask myself how these countries are supposed to recover when the people have next to no chance of finding employment, and consequentially no chance of being able to give anything back to the economy. And more importantly maybe, will ‘la revolución’ ever reach the shores of England?