Posted by: janecronin | August 21, 2011

A controversial set of letters – JMJ

If you live in Spain you would have to be completely cut off from radio, TV, newspapers and internet not to have come across these three letters JMJ.  They stand for Jornada Mundial de Juventud, which means World Youth Day.  This in itself needs qualifying as it has actually covered four days, and is not for any youth, just those who embrace the catholic faith.  It is true that they have come from all four corners of the world, one and a half million of them apparently, and taken over the city of Madrid.

Protesters, quaintly referred to as “los laicos” (lay people),  who do not wish for the JMJ to be paid for by their taxes, seem to be the ones targetted by police in this curious mass of humanity, whilst the catholic youth enjoy protection, discounts and cheap accommodation – all of which demonstrates yet again that the “catholic v. anti-catholic” debate is still not resolved in modern Spain.


  1. Whilst the whole Pope thingy is indeed costing the Spanish tax-payer millions, something that seems to be forgotten is that it has brought up to 500,000 non-Spaniards into Spain who are all eating, sleeping, travelling and putting money into the Madrid/Spanish economy. Even the Spaniards from outside the capital are buying food & drink, paying road tolls etc and that money is swishing around inside the Spanish economy.

    From a purely national stand-point I’d support that rather than spending billions per day in a war that cannot be won.

    So, for once in his wretched 7 and a half years I’ll support ZP. He will no doubt sleep easy tonight in that knowledge!

    Those who have done more harm to the whole Spanish tourism image are the “lay people” (!!!!) clashing with the police. All very sad.

  2. Hi Steve,

    The vast majority of those attending the event are back-packers who are sleeping in private homes and on the floors of public buildings opened especially for the occasion. They are also travelling with heavy discounts (at the same time as locals are still paying the full price). Compared to the huge amount of money spent on the event in security, transporting works of art etc. etc., and the huge amount of money that the Spanish state gives to the church annually anyway, I don’t think that the money brought in to the public economy of the country will in any way compensate.

    As for clashes with the police – the usual scenario of a small minority of trouble makers and a dispropotionate response from the police. I really do believe that the majority of these protesters are ordinary citizens who are upset by this public expense in times of crisis.

  3. However they have arrived they have to eat/drink and be merry etc. At such a time, I would have thought that Spain would have prostituted itself for 500,000 people bringing ANY money in to the economy. The staging, security etc is again the responsibility of Spanish companies and I am sure my friends at Prosegur will be filling their boots.

    What with the indignant, the lay people and the worshippers etc I am sure that the Madrid police are delighted that all football in the top two divisions is off this weekend! ……..por la crisis. Another 80,000 Real Madrid, Rayo, Althletic and Mallorca fans would not have helped!

    “In times of crisis” ……let’s hope that 11/20 goes some way to resolving this. I doubt it somehow! I fear Spain is just too deep in the mire now.

    You off to see La Vuelta a España? Enjoy.

  4. You’ve said it yourself, a lot of the money spent will end up in the pockets of private companies. It would be good if they made the details of the budget for this event public, I wonder if the vatican has paid anything towards it at all.

    I think it is a symbolic as well as economic issue. If I were unemployed or a “mileurista” living in Madrid, I would be furious at having to pay full price on the metro at the same time as these people get a discount. If the authorities had made the gesture of reducing the price for everyone over these few days, I think people would not feel so irate.

    Sorry, I’m not a Vuelta fan. They whizz by too quickly for you to even see who they are!!

  5. The IRONY is that they are INCREASING the metro prices just this week in Madrid!

    On one thing we will agree, it has become a PR disaster par excellence for ZP, his “government”, Spain and more especially Madrid! My little nymphet Esperanza Aguirre Gil de Biedma has been interestingly very quiet on my twitter feed! I am sure she was hoping to make political capital of this!

    Yes, however Spanish I may be becoming La Vuelta has little appeal…..and this from a guy who cycled 5,000 kms in 4 months BUT without drugs, back-up crews, back-ups to the back-up crews, snap-fit new wheels, comfy beds, clean sheets etc……

  6. Thanks Jane, wish you had been my teacher at school, might have taken more of an interest!.., see you at Adapt in September, Regards Frances

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