Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

The picture reads “save on housing”, is part of series of glazed tiles and was taken at a bar in Lisbon one day before a business newspaper reported that a City Council member had bought and renovated a building in a traditional neighbourhood for around €350 thousand and now plans to sell it for around €5 million. So far so good, nothing new in a city that is selling its soul, its houses, gardens and whatever is there to sell. The only issue raised by nearly everyone left, right and center pertains to the fact that he was elected by a left-wing party and so therefore he incurred in the sin of capitalism, along with the fact that he has been one of voices against speculation and eviction of inhabitants from the historic centres. Not only is he now embarking on this game but he negotiated also with the tenants to leave the building which will be probably inhabited by some affluent investor.  Nobody is innocent in this story: neither the people making business selling places that will be worth far less  when the bubble finally and hopefully bursts; nor the critics who short rent a room, a house or the backyard or at least have a relative who does it; nor the government officials promising to find accommodation for tenants in need while selling at the same public buildings and whatever to the first foreigner with millions to spend. Everybody has a role in the real estate plot either as main actor or as complacent bystander. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

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