Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

Welcome to our world

Two women fight back. (NYTimes, 9/26/12, Susana Vera/Reuters)
I wondered, what do you call a person who cries easily? Turns out the word is "crier," just like the chap that calls out into the village square.  I guess obvious, but something I didn't know.

Well, I am a crier. Every single episode of Parenthood this season has made me cry.  When I saw my cousin leaving the salon on the morning of her wedding, I cried.  Like the little Toad in the book, if I think hard enough about the spoon lost behind the stove, we can all have tear-water tea with our cookies.

When I saw this photo (above) in today's New York Times,  a cold chill went down my back and little droplets formed in the corner of my eyes.  True, I am a crier, but don't let that fool you.  This is a powerful picture. Two Spanish women confront the police on the streets of Madrid.  A mother and daughter, perhaps.  The girl screams anger and looks like she is about to pounce.  The face of the older woman, who seems to be holding back the younger girl (or maybe holding her up?) shouts her pain.

These women are two of the thousands of Spaniards who marched on Tuesday to protest the government's austerity measures that cut spending on health care, social services, public education, retirement benefits and worker's wages. The photo provides a whole new level of meaning to the word "protest." These people are outraged. Utterly desolate. Furious. Because they are going to have to pay for health care.  Because the cost of public university education will rise. Because retired people will no longer receive a livable pension. It's unimaginable.

Seeing their reaction to the prospect of a system much like our own made me feel self-conscious.