May 26, 2020

A book explores the vital journey of the manteros, from Dakar to Barcelona

Analyze street sales from "a long-distance view", try to "trace a history of migration" and assume that the commitment to the blanket is "the final consequence" of a system that makes it difficult for irregular migrants to make a living otherwise

These are some of the challenges that journalist Yeray S. Iborra faces in his book "Vida Mantera", published by Fundació Periodisme Plural and Editorial Octaedro, which uses the experience of Mohammed, Awa, Fatou and Aziz, among others, to bring the reader stories that do not usually abound in the daily life of the media when talking about street trade.

"When we do current journalism we dedicate ourselves to categorizing groups, people, and giving only a few strokes on their lives," says Iborra in statements to Efe, adding that, thus, the media "leave out a whole series of elements about the equation "that explains the phenomenon of the blanket.

They must explain "their paths, their families, their defects" so that, in relation to street sales, "this idea of ​​security and public order does not win over a debate that is about rights, violence and criminalization of a collective ".

Iborra knows how complicated it is to make current journalism and deal with the care that this issue deserves: in 2016 he started working in Catalunya Plural and had to deal with the thumping of the nth summer controversy on behalf of the traveling trade, a topic used as "first level throwing weapon" and used as a "political tool".

"There has been a pairing between the political discourse and the media that has caused the debate on street sales to be more public than social," laments Iborra, who points out: "It cannot be that we do not wonder what a person is doing working on the street for twelve years without his regularized situation. "

The author of the book places in the Law of Immigration "the mother of the lamb" of the situation of the manteros in Spain, although he recognizes that this is "a structural problem of the world" that occurs in other latitudes, essentially in large cities.

"Vida mantera" undertakes a trip from Dakar to the Catalan capital "with the aim of understanding why Mohammed wanted to enter his television and reach Europe in a jump; why Aziz spent his youth aboard a patera; why Awa She doesn't know where her husband is or how Fatou left the street to preside over a cooperative with more than a dozen workers, all of them old manteros, "says the book's editorial review.

The work not only looks back, it is also fixed in the present and in an example of "self-organization" that gave an outlet to several manteros.

This is the Popular Union of Street Vendors, which has a small shop in the Raval district of Barcelona and sells clothing under the Top Manta brand.

The book, which for now can be purchased in its edition in Catalan, will also be published in Spanish in 2020.

That has come forward has been possible thanks to the hours dedicated by Iborra, who in 2017 awarded the Devreporter grant from to work on a special on street sales.

Martí Puig Leonardi

. (tagsToTranslate) explore (t) path (t) manteros (t) Dakar (t) Barcelona

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