World View: Riot Police Cause Bloodshed in Madrid, Spain

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Violent tactics by riot police cause bloodshed in Madrid, Spain
  • Ethnic Russian nationalism drives move to separate the North Caucasus from Russia
  • The age of disillusion haunts senior citizens in China

Violent tactics by riot police cause bloodshed in Madrid, Spain

 Riot police struggle with protesters during demonstrations in Madrid against austerity cutbacks. (EPA)
Riot police struggle with protesters during demonstrations in Madrid against austerity cutbacks. (EPA)

Undercover policemen provoked far right and far left activists to violence on Friday, as Spain's economy continues to circle the drain, unemployment passes 25%, and the wealthy Catalonia region's separation movement is gathering steam. Everyone knows that Spain needs a bailout, but prime minister Mariano Rajoy is playing a game where he's refusing to ask the EU for a bailout, because he believes that he'll lose his bargaining leverage once he makes the request. Rajoy submitted a budget on Friday that would cut spending by 7% next year, bringing another wave of cuts in health, education and other welfare services, and freezing civil servants' salaries for a third year. Rajoy got some more bad news last week when, as we've recently reported, the June eurozone agreement is near collapse, meaning that Spain's legacy debt will remain on its books, and the national government won't be able to spend as freely as they had hoped. Guardian

Ethnic Russian nationalism drives move to separate the North Caucasus from Russia

Clashes between ethnic and non-ethnic Russians in the North Caucasus (Russia's southern provinces) continue to erupt. In one recent case, 200 police officers had to be called out to quell the disorder when two people got into an argument, and then called all their friends and communities to come and support them. (This reminds me of some of the stories about how "mass incidents" start in China.) Ethnic Russians, who are mostly Russian Orthodox Christian, say that Dagestanis, who are mostly Sunni Muslim, threaten to kill Russian passers-by, but the Dagestanis point out that they're sheep farmers who are making a lot more money than the ethnic Russians, who are just jealous. Anti-Caucasian nationalist sentiment has been growing for years among ethnic Russians, but the security services, who have to maintain order, are provoking nationalism for their own purposes. One after another, Russian nationalist and nationalist-leaning writers and analysts are coming to the conclusion that the North Caucasus should be excluded from Russia. According to one:

"[North Caucasians have practically] exited from the Russian constitutional, mental, civil and any other space. This is no longer Russia. The generation that grew up there does not equate itself with Russia. In the first place, they are not Russians, but the carriers of Islamic, ethnic, clan or some other identities, [and the Kremlin] robs ethnic Russian regions of resources and redirects them to the North Caucasus."

The growth of Russian nationalism is putting ethnic Russians on a collision course with North Caucasians, and separation may be the only answer. Jamestown

The age of disillusion haunts senior citizens in China

Elderly disillusion in China
Elderly disillusion in China

The mental health of elderly Chinese is deteriorating "unexpectedly quickly", according to Li Bengong, president of the Gerontological Society of China, adding, "The mental health issues afflicting elderly Chinese people are the most serious in the world." The problems of the elderly in China are similar to those in the U.S. -- illness, lack of insurance, loss of social status, wondering what to do while they're waiting to die -- resulting in depression and suicide.

But there are special problems for people with Alzheimers. Only 1% of people with Alzheimers ever receive professional treatment. It's too expensive, costing annually 20,000 yuan ($3200), half a family's income. Furthermore, "Many Chinese are afraid that if they send their parents to special medical institutions, friends and neighbors will blame them and say they are unwilling to take care of their elderly relatives."

Remarriage is another problem for the elderly. "My children may look down on me if I try to find another spouse," says one widow. "Many children think they'll lose face or end up in property disputes if their parents remarry. As a result, may elderly just live together.

Experts suggest developing toys for the elderly -- electronic mathematical and spelling puzzles, and dolls aimed at replicating the feeling of having a grandchild. According to one expert, more than one-fifth of elderly people in the United States play video games, but that the phenomenon is rarely seen in China. China Daily


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