Monday, 8 April 2013


We had lunch in Pontevedra yesterday with our friend Colin. At one point he asked if we knew what “escraches” were. No idea! After some discussion with the waitress and people seated at other tables, we established that they were some kind of protest. OK, that was clear enough but where did the word come from? 

Today I did a little research. Wikipedia informs me that the word originated in Argentina (or possibly elsewhere in South America) as a form of peaceful protest involving activists gathering outside the home or workplace of someone they want to expose for criminal, antisocial, immoral activity. Hence all the protests in banks, making a lot of noise about people losing their home through bank repossession. 

The Diccionario de la Lengua Española does not recognise the word “escrache” but reveals that the verb “escrachar” is a colloquialism from Argentina or Uruguay meaning “to break, to destroy, to crush” or interestingly “to photograph someone”. 

One source talks about the term “un escracho” being used in 1879 in Río de la Plata to designate a kind of swindle involving presenting someone with an article claiming they had won some sort of lottery. 

Another suggests it comes from an old Italian term "scraccé" meaning photograph, especially a portrait photograph. That goes along with the idea of revealing the identity of some kind of evildoer. 

Even though the dictionary might give the verb “escrachar”, modern Spanish appears to be coining a new one “escrachizar” which I am told means “hacer escraches”. 

 It doesn’t, however, seem to have anything to do with the English word “scratch”. That makes a change. Anglicisms pop up all over the place. 

The President of Galicia, Mr. Feijóo, has been in the news recently because of photos from almost 20 years ago in which he appears with someone who for the last 10 years has been in prison for drug dealing. Mr. Feijóo has been dealing with it all quite calmly but must be rather relieved to find that he has been pushed out of what the newspaper “El Correo Gallego refers to as “el primetime” by the reports about the Infanta Cristina being called as a witness in Nóos corruption case her husband is involved in. I wonder how long it will be before “primetime” changes its spelling to “praimtaim”, Spanish fashion. 

Today I have read items relating to both the Feijóo case and the Nóos scandal. First of all, Gonzalo Berreno in La Voz de Galicia suggests that the Feijóo photos have been known for a while but weren’t revealed when he was standing for election as President of Galicia as it wasn’t considered important enough, Now, however, he might be a contender for the leadership of the Partido Popular, replacing Rajoy, and therefore, potentially President of Spain. And so, someone decided to get the nasty photos out. Who knows? 

And then there’s the Nóos case with Iñaki Urdangarín, son in law of the King of Spain. In the past he was a handball player of some renown. Now he’s unemployed, involved in corruption scandals, written out of the webpage of the Familia Real, persona non grata all round. But Valero Rivera, a big wheel in the world of handball is on his side. Valero Rivera is about to go and take up a well paid position in Qatar, helping them prepare for the 2014 world handball championship. As and old friend and former trainer of Iñaki, he’s offering him a job. Will the royal son in law, Duke of Palma de Mallorca, accept? Will it get him out of a hole? Once again, who knows? 

Onto other matters: I recently had a bit of a moan about buying tickets online for a concert at the Centro Cultural Novacaixagalicia and the lack of information about how to pick up said tickets. Well, today (Monday) I had an email telling me that my purchase (of ticets for last Friday) had been successful and explaining all about the machines in the ticket office at the venue. 

People talk about Spaniards putting things off until “mañana”. If you want to say “the day after tomorrow” you say “pasado mañana”. As my email arrived about three days late, am I suffering from “pasado pasado pasado mañana”?

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