Apropos of Dignity and Homelessness


My hat is off to the man who was offering free shaves to the rough sleepers at one of the main streets in Málaga today. Sanitary products for homeless women also come to mind: A half-full stomach is not all a human being is entitled to. It is indeed not enough as to make somebody feel life is worth a go.

Spain is one of the epicentres of tourism worldwide. Here, as with so many other places, domestic law is full of shortcuts that criminalise vulnerable people in order to safeguard the tourism industry. Out of sight, out of mind, out of everywhere. Spain, I’m afraid, is not the gold-plated resorts by the sea, nor the over-prized food or the unforgettable nightlife. Spain is the 13 million people at risk of exclusion, some of which tonight will sleep in the street or sort through garbage in starvation and be arrested or fined for doing so. Some of which, for whichever reason – for having made the wrong decisions, committed the wrong mistakes or been the wrong sort of inappropriate – will be blamed for their misery and denied a second chance. Social exclusion is, in this case, a by-product of the same squeamish political class who pledges to create two million jobs and reduce unemployment by 2020. Instead, they continue to conceal these toe-curling sights from the delicate retinas of our leisure-addict visitors. In a nutshell, more can be done. A country in 21st century Europe should know better than pulling a Kim Jong-Un when things turn ugly. Maybe it’s time for a new political slogan. A “more-free-shaves-and-less-sweeping-under-the-carpet” sort of thing. It doesn’t rhyme, but it’s good enough to get me started.

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