A Romanian immigrant here in Spain, recently set himself on fire in front of the offices of Subdelegation of the Government of the city of Castellón. Apparantly he was “desperate” and was protesting his economic situation in Spain, where he’s been living about three months with his wife and two children. They had tried to get the money together (about 400 euros) to go home, but were the victims of some sort of fraud and lost the money and the tickets. So, outside of this government building, and in front of his wife and two children, he doused himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze. He did survive. If you can stomach it, that link above has video.

This is just sad. And seems strange to me. The few Eastern European immigrants I’ve known here (generally Polish and Bulgarian and Russian though, not Romanian) have generally spoken positively about their economic circumstances here, seeing them as a clear improvement. But that said, the immigrants i knew were mostly from Poland, Bulgaria and Russia and seemed to have a really sound social structure even within Spain. Also, most of them were young and single, with no dependent family. Romanians here certainly don’t have the best reputation for being upstanding successful members of society, and Spanish prejudices (well, hey, European prejudices) being what they are, they seem to be somewhat looked down on. Though perhaps that’s just because there are so many of them; people always gripe about the big, visible immigrant groups. In 2006 they were they second largest group here after Moroccans, who are probably the most negatively viewed immigrant group in Spain. (Dept. of State stats )