Throwing people out of their homes is not a pleasant task... (Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 28 Aug 2020)

  • Throwing people out of their homes is not a pleasant task. But in Spain, where almost 150 apartments are evicted every day, someone has to take care of them. For example Paco

  • Original title in German: Menschen aus ihrer Wohnung zu werfen, ist keine angenehme Aufgabe. Aber in Spanien, wo fast 150 Wohnungen jeden Tag zwangsgeräumt werden, muss sie jemand erledigen. Zum Beispiel Paco

  • By Linda Osusky. Published in Neue Zürcher Zeitung on 28 August 2020

  • Summary (translated into English with DeepL):

    • "Every day, the court of L'Hospitalet initiates between ten and twelve forced eviction proceedings. This corresponds to a quarter of all procedures in Catalonia, the region with the most evictions in Spain. At the height of the housing crisis in 2012, nearly 200 households were evicted every day in Spain. Although the number has declined since then. But even in 2019 there were still just under 147 evictions per day, almost twice as many as before the crisis."

    • "Paco's agenda is full. Twelve appointments are today. Unpleasant appointments. Paco is a court clerk in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, a suburb of Barcelona, where he carries out forced evictions. The first person Paco is supposed to throw out of her house today is Denise."

    • "Paco stands next to Denise with a serious expression on his face. He actually does not want to put her on the street. He stands between the owner's representative and the tenant. A mediator from the city is trying to mediate and obtain a postponement of the eviction. The owner's representative calls for a few minutes. Then he smiles and nods. The PAH activists give cries of joy."

    • "How is Paco doing with his role? "I like my work, although it is unpleasant, because I literally put people on the street, albeit in the name of justice," he says. Paco was once an IT technician. After a few years, he decided to become a civil servant. Because of the job security that the private sector had not offered him. He has been working at the court since the early 1990s. In 2015, Paco was honored for his work by PAH L'Hospitalet of all places. "There comes a time when a judgment must be implemented, and I try to do it as humanely as possible," Paco said in a TV interview at the time."

  • Keywords: L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, evictions, Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), courts

This piece is particularly interesting because it focuses on a court officer, a figure (and by extension, a part of the institutional framework) that's often ignored in more simplistic reporting that portrays evictions in superficial good vs evil terms (who is the good and who the evil --people evicted, government, the police-- depends on each media outlet's political leaning).

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