Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Sunday, 21 november 2010 | The Guardian

English

A Public Reply to The Guardian (III)

Sirs,

The Guardian readers might easily draw the wrong conclusions from the November 17, 2010, piece about immigration in the context of the forthcoming regional elections in Catalonia (“Spanish party website drops game featuring candidate wiping out illegal immigrants”).

In the article, the description of a despicable act by the regional subsidiary of a Spanish party is juxtaposed with a selective quote on immigration from a representative of the Catalan CiU coalition. Throw in a burqa and a niqab and you get another picture of Catalans as a provincial and bigoted lot. Which is exactly what they love to hear in Madrid. However, a few significant facts have been omitted that would put the situation in a whole different light.

First, that the guilty party in the matter of the racist video game is a minor player in Catalonia, where its only purpose is to promote Spanish interests, but one of the two major forces in Madrid. A better report would have made it clear that it is not the Catalan mainstream parties, but the champions of Spanish nationalism in Catalonia that are irresponsibly using the immigration issue to stir up trouble for their own ends.

Second, that the object of the game was to shoot down not only immigrants but also supporters of Catalan independence. That this didn’t seem worth mentioning in the article is consistent with the short shrift usually given in the international press to an option –an eventual separation from Spain– that has become a central issue in this November election.

Third, that the selective quote from the leader of CiU’s most conservative wing –and, incidentally, someone who is not unsympathetic to the Spanish line– doesn’t represent the coalition’s stance on immigration. In fact, only yesterday 2,000 representatives of various immigrant associations gathered to hear CiU’s main candidate welcoming “new Catalans” and encouraging them to become part of a common national project.

And fourth, that the regulation of religious and other symbols representing values that some societies find offensive is part of a larger debate in many European countries, and it is disingenuous to single out Catalans as being at fault in that regard. With between 1 and 1.5 million newcomers over the last 10 years, immigration in Catalonia is no less a challenge than it is for Britain, Germany or France, but a closer and more objective look would show that Catalans have a particularly good record in the effort to integrate large foreign-born contingents.


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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.

We aim to be recognized as a trustworthy source of information and ideas about Catalonia from a Catalan point of view.
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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia