Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Wednesday, 31 october 2012 | New York Times

English

Recommended article: "Immigrants Have Helped Set Catalonia Apart in Spain" in The New York Times

We recommend the article "Immigrants Have Helped Set Catalonia Apart in Spain" by Raphael Minder published in The New York Times.

Some excerpts:

As Catalonia prepares for a regional election on Nov. 25 that could become an unofficial referendum on independence, as many as 1.5 million residents of the region, out of a total population of 7.5 million, will not be eligible to vote because they are not Spanish citizens.

While these newcomers have played little part in the separatist debate so far, their sheer numbers and their contributions to Catalonia’s economy have indirectly reinforced the claims by some politicians that the region should occupy a place in the European Union separate from Spain. With annual output of about $260 billion in goods and services, an independent Catalonia’s economy would be larger than a dozen of the union’s 27 members.

(...) Last year, Badalona, with a population of 220,000, elected a hard-line conservative mayor, Xavier García Albiol, “in part due to his polemical views linking immigrants from Romania and other countries to crime and promising a tougher stance on illegal immigration,” the United States Department of State said in its most recent human rights report on Spain.

Mr. García Albiol is one of only a few politicians from the governing Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to win office in Catalonia. In step with his conservative colleagues, Mr. García Albiol opposes separation, and he has cast a large shadow over Badalona’s immigrants, to the point that he has been sued based on accusations of inciting hatred against the local Roma population.
(...) Sikhs are among the immigrants here who express some empathy for the separatist movement, drawing a parallel with their own struggles at home. An estimated 13,000 of the 21,000 Sikhs who have moved to Spain since 2000, mostly from India’s Punjab region, have settled in Catalonia.

Gagandeep Singh Khalsa, who is fluent in Spanish but prefers to speak Catalan, acts as a local spokesman and interpreter for his fellow Sikhs. “I feel in harmony with the people here,” he said, “because we have been facing the same problems with India over the Punjab as they have with Spain.”


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia