Spain’s current economic difficulties have been thoroughly reported. It is widely known that the youth unemployment rate in the country is outstanding and has failed to turn around. But this story is different. It is not a cold impersonal reporting of facts and numbers like many on this topic are, but it is a dialogue written by a father watching his daughter leave because they both know there is no immediate future for her in her home country.Carlos M. Duarte is a Research Professor at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies. His daughter has completed her masters degree, studied and worked abroad, and has now decided to leave her home country as many her age have been forced to do. Duarte begins telling his readers that this will not be of the same subject as his normal posts.
Today I’m not going to talk about science or R&D policies; I’ll get back to that in the next post. Today I’m going to talk about something happening in my house, something that surely reflects what’s happening in many other homes, because the fact is that today I can’t think about anything else. Yesterday I said goodbye to my daughter. She emigrated in search of a future she couldn’t find in her country and that society, or her parents, didn’t know how to give her.
One can easily imagine how painful this must be for Duarte. He admits that he is unable to help his daughter find a future in their country. He describes his daughter’s academic endeavors, living and working in countries such as Canada, France, and England. He adds in that the decision to move abroad cost her her partner.
Leaving has cost her her partner, the hushed sobbing that I heard last night from my bedroom made the situation even more bitter.
Duarte’s story grabs the emotions of anybody reading who has understood the hardships and pain that come with moving away.
Duarte now begins an establishing section. He describes the situation for young people in Spain, that his daughter and many of her friends are experiencing. His daughter had no liveable job prospects.
She got a few interviews, but the conditions that were offered to her always seemed to be abusive: a mere salary, 400 € a month, for a person with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, who speaks four languages, and who has worked abroad.
Living on these wages would be impossible. Duarte and his wife were willing to help their daughter, but she wanted to make it on her own and they knew that if she accepted those wages, it would allow companies to continue paying these dismal wages.
Where the essay really makes a strong emotional impact is when Duarte discusses his belief that it is the fault of his generation and himself for creating this situation.
The media calls them — and I find it repulsive — the “lost generation.” But isn’t it rather us, my generation, born between 1950 and 1970 that have taken a beating here? We are an irresponsible generation:
Duarte asks for forgiveness from the young generation. He admits that his generation made the mistakes that created the current economic turmoil and admits that he did not sufficiently try and stop what he saw happening in the past. As he watches his daughter and her friends struggle, he cannot help but admit he feels partially responsible. He calls to those of his generation to realize that they need the youth to help them.
We should all make a great effort to ensure a future for our children, because that future is ours, too. We are a society that’s getting older every day, which will soon have such an enormous percentage of retirees that it can only be supported by a dynamic and productive workforce
Duarte realizes that if there are no young people staying in the country to work, his generation, the one he claims set in motion the events that caused this recession, will have an uncertain future.
In a final call to arms Duarte encourages the people of Spain to help and invest in the youth because they will need their support soon.
We have taken a beating. But let us stand up, brush the dust off, and get moving. First, though, for that to happen we must liberate ourselves from the enormous burden of the incompetent politicians who have largely brought us to where we are today. I want my daughter and everyone else who left the country, to be happy, and, in some near future, to come home to their country to contribute, in their capacity, to our future.