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World View: Riot Police Cause Bloodshed in Madrid, Spain

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 toviolence on Friday, as Spain’s economy continues to circle the drain,unemployment passes 25%, and the wealthy Catalonia region’s separationmovement is gathering steam. Everyone knows that Spain needs abailout, but prime minister Mariano Rajoy is playing a game where he’srefusing to ask the EU for a bailout, because he believes that he’lllose his bargaining leverage once he makes the request. Rajoysubmitted a budget on Friday that would cut spending by 7% next year,bringing another wave of cuts in health, education and other welfareservices, 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 eurozoneagreement is near collapse, meaning that Spain’s legacy debt willremain on its books, and the national government won’t be able tospend 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 NorthCaucasus (Russia’s southern provinces) continue to erupt.In one recent case, 200 police officers had to be called out toquell the disorder when two people got into an argument, and thencalled 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 OrthodoxChristian, say that Dagestanis, who are mostly Sunni Muslim,threaten to kill Russian passers-by, but the Dagestanis pointout that they’re sheep farmers who are making a lot more moneythan the ethnic Russians, who are just jealous. Anti-Caucasiannationalist sentiment has been growing for years among ethnicRussians, but the security services, who have to maintainorder, are provoking nationalism for their own purposes.One after another, Russian nationalist and nationalist-leaning writersand analysts are coming to the conclusion that the North Caucasusshould be excluded from Russia. According to one:

“[North Caucasians have practically] exited from theRussian constitutional, mental, civil and any other space. This isno longer Russia. The generation that grew up there does notequate itself with Russia. In the first place, they are notRussians, but the carriers of Islamic, ethnic, clan or some otheridentities, [and the Kremlin] robs ethnic Russian regions ofresources and redirects them to the North Caucasus.”

The growth of Russian nationalism is putting ethnic Russians on acollision course with North Caucasians, and separation may be the onlyanswer. 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 “unexpectedlyquickly”, according to Li Bengong, president of the GerontologicalSociety of China, adding, “The mental health issues afflicting elderlyChinese people are the most serious in the world.” The problems ofthe elderly in China are similar to those in the U.S. — illness, lackof insurance, loss of social status, wondering what to do whilethey’re waiting to die — resulting in depression and suicide.

But there are special problems for people with Alzheimers. Only 1% ofpeople with Alzheimers ever receive professional treatment. It’s tooexpensive, costing annually 20,000 yuan ($3200), half a family’sincome. Furthermore, “Many Chinese are afraid that if they send theirparents to special medical institutions, friends and neighbors willblame them and say they are unwilling to take care of their elderlyrelatives.”

Remarriage is another problem for the elderly. “My children may lookdown on me if I try to find another spouse,” says one widow. “Manychildren think they’ll lose face or end up in property disputes iftheir parents remarry. As a result, may elderly just live together.

Experts suggest developing toys for the elderly — electronicmathematical and spelling puzzles, and dolls aimed at replicating thefeeling of having a grandchild. According to one expert, more thanone-fifth of elderly people in the United States play video games, butthat the phenomenon is rarely seen in China. China Daily

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