OPINION

Blame la dolce vita

It was no more than a lighthearted comment, but thanks to the fame of the person who uttered it, the statement instantly traveled around the globe in newspapers, TV bulletins and on the Internet.

I am referring, of course, to what Spanish Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso told the press after leading his Ferrari to a flawless victory at the German Grand Prix. Despite his riches and lack of any particular interest in politics, Alonso is aware that, similar to Greece, his country features the highest jobless rate in Europe and that Spanish cities have been the scene of protest rallies — sometimes violent — for days.

?I don?t really know politics, but it is true that the situation is not great in Spain — but a Spanish driver in an Italian car, designed by a Greek man is good to win here,? Alonso said. Before that there was the Italians? victory over Germany in the Euro 2012 semifinals, with two Mario Balotelli goals that injected more joy into the Italians (even if it was for only one night) than their technocrat Premier Mario Monti ever could.

With the exception of the athlete and his team, sports triumphs do not really improve people?s lives. But those who celebrate a goal or a cup are aware of this. But at the same time, they know that this ephemeral and phantasmic success is at the end of the day more real that the one monotonously promised by their Messianic-sounding politicians and the lifesaving technocrats who step into their shoes. They also know that given the power of the media, the victory of a sports star has greater impact than demonstrations, massive and persistent as they may be. Alonso managed to capture the headlines in Greece, Italy, Portugal and beyond — something that the Indignados failed to do.

Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy are all experiencing the same scenario, the same self-fulfilling prophecy: An economic crisis (which is depicted as each state?s exclusive sickness, not as the symptom of a broader crisis); demand for a bailout; the first ?triumph? (?No political conditions have been set?); then a second triumph (?The conditions are soft?); collapse; attack on the greedy markets; some criticism of the narrow-minded German hegemony; and, of course, the memorandum.

Meanwhile, the money of the tax-dodging Germans who are depositing their money in Switzerland (while Merkel criticizes the Southerners? tax-dodging habits) would be enough to pay off the debts of Greece, Portugal and maybe Spain. But of course Germany?s gains have nothing to do with the Southerners? losses. The blame lies with their idleness and dolce vita ways — where else?