Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Calm before the storm

Accurate description of today. A storm is brewing. Literally, as I'm expecting the rain to start any second now and figuratively, as there's been a general strike called for tomorrow to protest the economic situation in Spain. The Basque Country is particularly ticked off because the economy here is much stronger than any other region. Unemployment rates are half of what they are in the rest of Spain, for example. If you've been following the recent news out of Catalunya, the grievances are very similar. Both regions have been doing better economically than the rest of Spain and have been forced to pay into a fund to help out the economically devastated regions. The major difference between the two separatist regions is this: Catalunya has now fallen on hard times and believes the money it was forced to pay to other regions would have been enough to bail them out of their current woes, while the Basque Country remains the most economically prosperous region of Spain.

Unfortunately, I still have class tomorrow. This annoys me for more than one reason. First, we are a state operated school. Even if we are foreign students attending a private institution, we are in a public school and we will be affected by what's happening on campus. Two, my study abroad program has told us repeatedly to stay away from any kind of political demonstration, not take pictures and walk the other way. How are we supposed to do that when we have to go to classes still? And third, there will be no bus service to get to the university. I live quite far from the university. I will have to wake up two hours earlier to get to class on time, provided the strike hasn't shut down campus, which is actually quite likely. And if that's the case, I get to walk back home, which takes at least 90 minutes. Awesome. At least, I'll get my exercise, I guess. Thank you study abroad program who shall not be named. 

At the very least, my boss excused me from work tomorrow so I don't have to worry about that. 

I've only been learning Basque for two weeks but from what I can read on the posters around school, the university is going to be targeted for picketing. I can read the words "general strike" "university" "closed" "Wednesday" "country" "money" and "struggle". If that doesn't sound like something's happening on campus, I don't know what does.

At least while the Basque Country is known to go on strike every once in a while, it doesn't get violent. 

I'll be sure to update when I get home tomorrow. Until then, enough about the strike.


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