Jonas Amir Kadah
Happiness never decreases from being shared.

A Gringo in Spain under quarantine day #2

Me walking in an empty Spain. (Courtesy)

I’m wasting your time. Since I have my own time to waste here I might as well write about today’s updates.

Despite the nationwide quarantine taking place here, the number of infected keeps sky-rocketing. 10.000 new infected during the last 24 hours. How come one might ask? Well, the quarantine and the time for one to feel the effects plays a role of course.

Even though the Spaniards take the quarantine extremely seriously, there are still those finding ways defying it. A phenomena that has occurred is that one is allowed to take his dog for a walk. So people borrow each others dogs and take them for a walk over and over and over again. Irresponsible? Yes.

I’m allowed to leave my hotel premises if I get a ticket that says I am going to the Supermarket or the Pharmacy during a certain time. Tried that today — I was given 30 minutes. Rushed into the supermarket and it was all empty. Nothing left. Not even a bottle of wine. I found some water and overpriced snickers bars.

My stay in this hotel reminds me of MBS – Mohammed Bin Al-Saud who incarcerated his perceived elite enemies of Saudi Arabia at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. Basically — I’m having the time of my life in this luxury hotel. But I can’t leave it and so be it. My window to the outside world stretches to this phone screen I’m currently looking at. That’s why I feel I’m not alone when #STS does a videoparty. That saved my day.

There are numerous ways of keeping in touch with each other. So yes — as bad as the Internet can be, it currently fulfills a very good purpose. No one is left behind or alone. And I’m deeply thankful for that. What’s left me stranded here is SAS – Scandinavian Airlines. They don’t do it by purpose. SAS is an extremely important and integrated part of the Scandinavian infrastructure. Same thing goes with El Al — it’s Israel’s ultimate lifeline.

SAS will fly me back to Stockholm one way or another, which I’m deeply thankful of. Other companies, like Norwegian or Iberian just ceased all of it’s operations. But not SAS, the CEO went live and re-assured that every stranded citizen of Sweden will be picked up by them in the end. Even though they have been hitted hardest they still do it. I will never ever again complain about SAS for the rest of my life.

So what’s going on at the hotel currently? The staff are still not allowed to leave except in very exceptional cases where one employees daughter suffers from type 1 Diabetes. The staff sleep in empty hotel rooms, I will be among the last guests to leave. Which is a bit eerie – and funny. Never ever in my life have I had a 5+ star hotel all by myself. That will be something to write home about.

At the same time I feel extremely bad. My consciousness. The staff who are confined here keep working and putting on the best fake smiles they can. But when I sit down and talk with them – they are ever-so worried. Will they have a job? What will happen this tourist season? What other jobs can I apply for? They ask me. And the conversation kinds of drops there in a way when they realize that over 20% of Spain’s population already do not have a job. The abysmal social security system which was overloaded before, will now have to face everything from taxi drivers, bus drivers, store clerks, hotel staff, restaurant staff. And in the longer term this will spread like a pyramid starting at the top working it’s way to the bottom. In the end there will be no tax-payer money left to use. Spain has record high outstanding state debt to the European Union.

And now, when everything is failing – there will be no more crisis loans from the EU. Mind you Sweden just activated 300 billion (!!!) Euros in order to keep it’s financial backbone from not collapsing completely. As sad as it might be, I’m happy being a citizen of that country now. But in the long term doing like Sweden and Germany does – i.e. helping themselves first with their enormous cash reserves doesn’t help anyone else.

This is a pandemic. That means we should share the burden and come together as one – because it affects all of us without exception. So yes, nice to have 300 billion euros to spend domestically and probably more cash flow coming – I don’t see how a few countries will do well and come out of this while other countries will almost starve to death. It is by definition the most selfish action ever taken.

Sometimes I wish I was the world President. I would spread out the economic burden equally. Our imports and exports no matter what country has already ceased to exist.

This episode in my life is something I will never forget. I can forgive, but I never forget.

About the Author
Jonas is a fierce critiqeuer of everything unjust. He is well-educated, well-travelled and believes firmly in pragmatism and progressiveness rather than religion and outdated conservatism. He dares to challenge anyone or anything and is super-tired of racial slurs and internet trolls. Jonas is a painting in progress.
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