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Postcards reveal bitter truth of the 'Real Spain'

Jessica Jones · 10 Jul 2015, 15:30

Published: 09 Jul 2015 15:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jul 2015 15:30 GMT+02:00

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Far from the sun, sea and sangria that feature most prominently on the typical Spanish holiday souvenir, the group’s postcards feature snapshots of the "real Spain": police beating up a protestor, long unemployment queues and families scavenging through bins for food are just some of the scenes depicted on the postcards.

Gallery: Postcards that lift the lid on the real Spain 

The postcards were the brainchild of a group of advertising students in Madrid, who came up with the idea for a class project. They took the postcards out onto the streets of the Spanish capital to see how locals and tourists would react. 

The Local caught up with group members Lía García Díaz, Toño Pascual Gómez and Rober Garrido Vázquez to learn more about the project. 

Protesters being beaten by Spanish police. Photo: The Real Spain

What inspired you to start the project?

The Real Spain was born as a class project at college. We are a pretty diverse group of students with one thing in common: we don’t like injustice. So, when the idea came up, we decided to go beyond the limits of theory and make it happen.

How does the real Spain differ from the Spain that tourists see?

Well, first of all, we have to say that we are not very proud of what’s supposed to be the 'happy' face of Spain. Bullfighting, siesta and partying are not the only things we have. Spain is an amazing country with tons of culture, breathtaking landscapes and great people. Tourists only get a simplified image of our country.

Spain has a really ugly face, too. We are sick of hearing our politicians selling things such as a 'magic recovery' in international meetings when that’s not how we feel. We’ve been told several times that things like that happen in almost every country but, for us, that can never be an excuse for letting it happen here.

What reaction did you receive when you took the postcards out onto the streets of Madrid?

Actually, we were very surprised with the reactions, because we were not expecting such a great thing. People were really interested in the project, both Spaniards and tourists. Some people took pictures, others tried to find us (we were not too close to the postcard stand so that people would feel more free and the reactions would be more natural) in order to ask and know more about what we were doing and why, and most of them took some postcards home.
Of course, they were shocked at the beginning but we believe that that's a positive thing, as we were trying to reach them in the most unexpected way to get a bigger impact and really make them think about a situation that's real.

Do you blame anyone for the situation Spain is in today?

Without a doubt: the politicians. We are not saying that all the politicians of this country are corrupt, of course, but it’s disturbing how the number of corruption issues keeps growing and growing and, for some reason, citizens keep voting for those people, becoming as guilty as them.

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We think that politicians are supposed to be devoted to the country they represent and that they should take great care of the population, but nowadays, politics is not about serving your country, it is about earning money and ensuring your own well-being.

The postcards depict scenes from the "real" Spain, such as families scavenging for food. Photo: The Real Spain

Do you think the success of Podemos in the recent local elections is a step in the right direction?

We don’t actually support any particular party. We are a really diverse group of people with different points of view about political issues. We strongly believe that what we have right now is not working as it should so we are completely up for a change, but we have different opinions about which is the best way to make that change happen.

We would like to think that this change will make things right, but of course, we can never be sure until the new politicians prove they’re what we need.

What do you think of Spain's new "gag law"?
We think it’s offensive to Spanish citizens’ intelligence. It’s so shocking for us that such a retrogressive law can actually be approved in the 21st century that we don’t even know how to feel about it. We condemn any kind of censorship or repression against people’s freedom of expression, and we truly hope that this new law will be repealed as soon as possible.
Have you been personally affected by any of the problems facing Spain?
It's pretty well known that youth unemployment is one of the main problems in our society and, of course, we are experiencing it. It’s almost impossible to find a job in your area and be paid enough to survive by yourself. That’s why a huge amount of young people have decided to leave Spain to look for better opportunities in other countries. Regarding the other problems, not all of us have experienced them, but we see them around us on a daily basis. 
Check out The Real Spain on Facebook and Twitter, as well as its website. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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