Contributor Isabel Carron Mendez
Here is the story of a woman who like many women travel to other countries to seek better opportunities. She is currently running an internet radio station ( in Spanish) from Switzerland. This is her story and her worldview:
“My name is Isabel, I am one of the many Spaniards who had to leave my country because of the economic crisis and unemployment. At the moment my country is in a very poor condition, both in employment, social services, health and human rights. “
The illusion of millions of Spaniards was overturned in the general election on December 20th 2015; in them the main political parties in my country participated in the list of those “games” WE see as not only national- but transnational across Europe!
As a person very concerned about the situation in my country, for their future and also as a supporter of Podemos ( “ YES -We Can”); all my enthusiasm, my efforts were overturned in this election. The outcome of the elections is not very well known in the international press. Not publicised very much at all in fact.
Our Congress is composed of 350 deputies. The party that wins the elections needs a majority to govern ,and to carry through reforms of laws etc.
However,it is impossible to govern without an absolute majority. Podemos which made strong gains refuses to make an alliance with the socialist against the ruling conservatives. Thus the government remains in limbo and probably will have to make new elections unless a coalition agreement can be achieved. This leaves a lot of uncertainty not just in Spain but across Europe. The situation hasn’t changed much in the last two months except Podemos has in fact called for a government of progress and is in talks with the left in the socialist party -whereas the right in the socialists are ignoring Podemos. It appears deadlocked and unless a coalition agreement is reached soon new elections will have to take place.
Spain decided yesterday as dead and buried “bipartisanship”which is how the political system has been working since 1977. The two main parties the PP ( Peoples Party) and the PSOE (Socialists) lost altogether 5.4 million votes on the outcome of the 2011 elections. The most voted was the PP Mariano Rajoy, which won 123 seats but will be very difficult to govern without a majority .
The Socialists maintained second place despite breaking his ground but dropped to 90 seats. Podemos has stepped into this political vacuum with 69. Only 30% of voters elected PP, the remaining 70% decided they were not the right party to govern.
Personally, as a Spanish woman living away from my country I hope that the record of the last years of austerity measures will end. Spain has seen enough cuts in health and education , enough over double digit unemployment figures and enough foreclosures of homes. No one it seems talks about the massive migration of our young people – and old to work in other parts of Europe doing menial jobs – it numbers in the millions. On top of the massive refugee problem Europe faces – there is another kind of migration of the South to the North looking for work.
I am 53 years old, and I am part of that mass migration from my homeland- not from choice.I completed my studies in the School of Arts of Orihuela.
My life in Spain was relatively happy and normal. I am a mother with children but in 2009 I was forced to leave my country in search of work. The economic crisis was beginning to whip my country and it was very difficult to get a job. In 2010 I was in Buenos Aires Argentina. Until then I had just struggled to get my life forward…
Music was my ally and partner. I heard about some friends of Spain on the online radios and I said :”Isabel, here you have a chance, a tool to try to fight- not just for you, but for ALL!”- to report what’s going on Spain- to fight against gender violence; to give my views on which VITAL topic that affected society, people, animals, the world, everything around us. (To make a difference glocally.)
At that time I had the vision to start a radio station that I would call:” Radio Ithaca “…As a reader of mythology; I remembered the journey of Odysseus and so I decided to call my radio by this name. In the Homeric poems, Ithaca (usually identified with the island of the same name today) is the homeland of Odysseus (Ulysses) whose homecoming is the central theme of the Odyssey.
Like Ulysses even I wait for my return home to Spain, but the duration of the Ithaca trip with is me.All of its angst and its longing. In this way I can identify with millions of others around the world who have been forced to leave their homes and their homelands for whatever reason- economic or otherwise. Ithaca Radio opens its doors to everyone who wants to participate in it- with suggestions, stories, poetry, music, social issues, etc …. We wait for you.( We are also on Facebook).
Ithaca Radio Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
With your permission I would like to leave you with a poem by Cavafy.
As you set out on the way to Ithaca
hope that the road is a long one,
filled with adventures, filled with understanding. The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
Poseidon in his anger: do not fear them,
you’ll never come across them on your way
as long as your mind stays aloft, and a choice emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them unless you carry them within your soul,
unless your soul sets them up before you. Hope that the road is a long one.
Many may the summer mornings be when—with what pleasure, with what joy— you first put in to harbors new to your eyes; may you stop at Phoenician trading posts and there acquire fine goods:
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony, and heady perfumes of every kind:
as many heady perfumes as you can.To many Egyptian cities may you go so you may learn, and go on learning, from their sages. Always keep Ithaca in your mind;
to reach her is your destiny.But do not rush your journey in the least. Better that it last for many years;that you drop anchor at the island an old man, rich with all you’ve gotten on the way,not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.
Ithaca gave to you the beautiful journey; without her you’d not have set upon the road. But she has nothing left to give you any more. And if you find her poor, Ithaca did not deceive you.As wise as you’ll have become, with so much experience, you’ll have understood, by then, what these Ithacas mean.
And this is Isabel’s story. The global crisis of 2008 had a profound impact on many lives across Europe and the world. Here we have heard of a grassroots movement (podemos)making changes in their own backyard to decentralise power!
Spain -if it gets it right will either have a calming effect on Europe; or set in motion a chain reaction that could very well affect the entire economy of the European Union. Often we don’t realise the effects of global events until they start knocking on our own doors. But in all of this wider suffering there is a silver lining. Isabel has learnt to speak French and her radio station has encouraged many others to hold on,be patient and to keep going. She truly is… a glocal woman!
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