Friday, July 24, 2009

The Writing on the Wall

Si tu Dios es judío, tu coche japonés, tu pizza italiana,
tu gas argelino, tu café brasileño, tu reloj suizo,
tus cifras árabes, tus letras latinas...
¿Cómo te atreves a llamar a tu vecino extranjero?

I was out and about (unfortunately sans camera) last week when I came across this message painted on a wall in the Lavapiés neighborhood. It can be translated as the following:

If your God is Jewish, your car Japanese, your pizza Italian,
your gas Algerian, your coffee Brazilian, your watch Swiss,
your numerals Arabic, your letters Latin…
How dare you call your neighbor a foreigner?

Lavapiés is perhaps the most heavily immigrant-populated neighborhood in Madrid – Wikipedia states that around 50% of the population in non-Spanish. And I would venture to say that the bulk of people who visit the area, frequently for its authentic “ethnic” food, are of the more open mindset, so it’s not that the sentiment is falling on deaf ears, but rather on those that are already singing in the choir… perhaps it would be a better message for the residents of my neighborhood… I wonder how long the graffiti would be allowed to stay up were it painted on a wall on Calle Serrano?

On another note, translating the message got me to wondering… why do we capitalize nationalities (and languages for that matter) in English but not in Spanish?

1 comment:

JustMe said...

I've always wondered that same thing.