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NORTH-AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL CENTRAL SPAIN

( This paper was never published. Some 12 years old, still worth reading and give consideration. It is reproduced here to anyone's curio...

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dunkirk





There have been seventy-six years since the hurried withdrawal of the British forces from Europe. The pressure of the German Nazi armies invading France, cornered the British Expeditionary Force in the port city of Dunkirk. However that day, 4 of June, 1940 Churchill reminded the country that "...we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations”.
Four years later almost to the day, they went back to Europe in Juno Beach, Normandy.


How about Brexit? To escape from continental Europe under pressure from Germany and against the will of France is tantamount an evacuation of sorts. At least an evacuation of the premises of the European Union in Brussels. No criticism there. It has been the democratic will of the British people, however misled by the eurosceptic politicians, but freely and conscientiously. Or not so?


We heard Granny saying, as she was holding her fine china cup of tea in her trembling hand: “So we are out? How lovely! We shouldn't have gotten mixed up with those continentals...I still remember the blitz”. And Billyboy dreaming he’ll sweep a job from next door Pakistani so he can get out of the dole a few weeks and perhaps get a new tattoo… Not that they voted, God forbid! ...”The polls are so middle class…”, she said. And Billyboy would only know the betting side of the elections.


The City pundits did not clearly say if they hated more Brussels regulations or the Frankfurt and Paris stock exchanges continuous growth. And the Manchester City Football club is not sure they could enroll new European players next season.


Some 3 million people have already signed up for a new referendum. Scotland and Northern Ireland are planning theirs to “remain” in the EU, obviously as independent states from the UK.


Will see. But Brexit may well be a Dunkirk exercise, just to wait out the implementation of the TTIP agreements, and the Americans to the rescue…

XA

Friday, June 24, 2016

Las conspiraciones contra Cataluña - 2016

En estos últimos dias, justo en la recta final de la campaña electoral de las segundas elecciones a Cortes  a las que ha dado lugar la inoperancia de los políticos elegidos en las celebradas el 20 de noviembre de 2015.
Este relato ni es ni pretende ser más objetivo que lo que proporcionan las fuentes de las que se extrae la información. Y se hace desde la indignación, ya crónica, de contemplar las trapacherias del gobierno del Partido Popular, asentado en un estado corrupto y en muchos aspectos fallido. Que el estado español se encuentre en la desgraciada situación en que lo ha dejado la administración de las derechas más recalcitrantes tampoco es un acontecimiento. Es el resultado de años, por no decir siglos, de ignominias diversas, históricas y deplorables. Que en esta coyuntura se haya desarrollado con fuerza un movimiento independentista en Cataluña, puede tener motivaciones recientes, pero se asienta en el convencimiento extendido de que el estado español no tiene remedio como institución y que, por lo tanto, lo único sensato es, si se puede, marcharse.
Será, sin embargo, en otro momento, que profundizaremos en la situación del estado español, entre otras cosas porque ya hemos renunciado a plantearnos un análisis que pudiese contribuir a su comprensión y, con ello, a la búsqueda de algunas posibles soluciones o propuestas de futuro.
Que el proceso independentista sea objeto de acciones contrarias desde el estado es, cuando menos, esperable. El ordenamiento jurídico vigente, incluso con una interpretación simple, defiende una integridad del territorio y tal puede justificar una natural resistencia institucional a cualquier movimiento que pueda alterar el estatus quo existente desde el final de la dictadura franquista. Como temática política que es, resulta comprensible que posiciones políticas opuestas intenten por todos los medios ejercer esa oposición y divulgarlo. Sin entrar en calificar los medios, se puede entender que todo medio válido puede utilizarse aunque su legitimidad pueda ser opinable, juridica y éticamente. Al fin y al cabo, un movimiento independentista en su ejecución altera la legalidad. No así su planteamiento, que tiene la legitimidad de las libertades consagradas en declaraciones de derechos internacionales y, también, las del propio estado. Todo ello, por descontado, excluida la violencia. La violencia física, porque la retórica, la limitadora de libertades, la económica, la informativa y la simplemente social, habrá que dar por supuesto que van a acontecer.
Las maniobras conspiratorias, entendidas como las actividades de distintos actores en connivencia y con un objetivo común de dañar, impedir, modificar o, incluso, destruir un proceso como el del independentismo, son parte de esa violencia.
La publicación en fecha reciente de las conversaciones mantenidas entre el ministro del Interior del gobierno del Partido Popular con el Director de la Oficina Antifraude de Cataluña, un funcionario de esa institución técnicamente independiente de partidos, ha hecho saltar todos los fusibles de la contención al poner de manifiesto, en unas grabaciones de audio claras y nítidas y sus transcripciones en negro sobre blanco, algo largo tiempo sospechado, de alguna forma conocido y constatado, pero que no se habia podido probar.
El contenido de las grabaciones pone de manifiesto el comportamiento absolutamente impresentable de los interlocutores, la perversidad de sus intenciones y los componentes delictivos de las actividades, incluyendo formas juridicamente identificables como el cohecho, la prevaricación, el tráfico de influencias, la calumnia, las injurias y el uso bastardo de las institucions del estado para fines propios. Los textos se han difundido ampliamente por la publicación digital "Público" (http://www.publico.es/) y reproducido en otros medios.

Los personajes implicados:

El hijo del guardia de la porra. Jorge Fernández Diaz, ministro del Interior del gobierno de Mariano Rajoy desde 2011, a lo largo de toda la legisatura anterior y esta fallida que ahora concluye, nació en Valladolid en 1950. Miembro del Partido Popular, procedente de la UCD y el CDS, fue gobernador de Asturia en los años 80. Vino a vivir a Cataluña cuando su padre, Eduardo Fernández Ortega, teniente coronel de caballería del ejército franquista fue nombrado subinspector de la Guardia Urbana de Barcelona. Para el gobernador de Barcelona de la época, Felipe Acedo Colunga, la continua llegada de contingentes de emigrantes andaluces y murcianos a la ciudad estaba representando un problema que deseaban controlar. Aunque se haye descrito y comprendido el fenómeno migratorio desde el sur a las ciudades industriales del norte del estado como una consecuencia de condiciones económicas adversas, una análisis más actual debe entender que la condición de los emigrantes en realidad se correspondía mejor con la de refugiados. Refugiados del hambre y de la represión que se había ido prolongando en las zonas rurales andaluzas en la década siguiente a la guerra civil. Los testimonios abundan y aún viven miles de supervivientes de aquellas situaciones. Hay que entender que, mientras que los inmigrantes económicos pueden tener más mal que bien una cierta acogida, los refugiados, sobre todo si no pueden hacer valer su condición por la situación política, son objeto de rechazo. Que en los centros del poder franquista se hablase de "rebaños de rojos anarquistas no redimidos" refiriéndose a quienes, por otro lado, se calificaba de "xarnegos", el despectivo epiteto catalán para los inmigrantes del sur, no debe extrañar.
Una circular del Gobernador Civil de 1952 y una ordenanza municipal de 1956 obligaba a los recién llegados a demostrar una residencia y un trabajo. Aquellos que no podían justificarlo eran primero retenidos en el Pabellón de las Misiones de Montjuic y finalmente mandados de vuelta a su tierra. Entre 1950 y 1955 se estima que Barcelona deportó a más de 15.000 emigrantes en su propio país. A cargo de esta tarea se empleó con entusiamo el teniente coronel Fernández, cuando el gobierno tuvo dificultades de asignar esas funciones a la Guardia civil, por aquel entonces todavía muy liada en la lucha contra las guerrillas pirineicas (http://goo.gl/MifUOf). Montó un régimen de terror en las montaña de Montjuic y en la estación de Francia, donde campaba por sus anchas devolviendo en el mismo tren que venían a cantidad de gente que llegaba buscando trabajo, después de dejarse sus escasos recursos en ese billete de tren.
La demolición de chabolas, la extorsión y el chantaje para no ser “deportado” tanto en Montjuic como en el Somorrostro son recordadas aun por quienes las vivieron.
El hijo del guardia de la porra, miembro del OpusDei y notorio por conceder medallas del Mérito policial a imágenes de la Virgen en pleno siglo XXI, ha hecho gala de una desfachatez notable en sus declaraciones políticas, así como en multiples actuaciones de su ministerio, entre las que ahora se destacan la propensión a utilizar los aparatos del estado en contra de sus oponentes políticos.

"L'espion". Recurro al francés para nombrar al personaje que compone el magistrado Daniel de Alfonso Laso, (Madrid, 1964), licenciado por la universidad privada San PabloCEU, magistrado de la Audiéncia de Barcelona, que fue nombrado Director de la Oficina Antifraude de Cataluña después de la muerte en extrañas circunstancias de su antecesor, el fiscal David Martínez Madero a los 47 años, en el 2011. Extraño es el fallecimiento súbito en un vuelo de Singapur a Milán de un fiscal que tenía poderosos y peligrosos enemigos, y a cuyo cadáver y en contra de lo que son las regulaciones de las compañías aéreas para estos sucesos, no se le practicó una autopsia ni una determinación de tóxicos, cosa aún más simple.
DeAlfonso accedió a la Oficina Antifraude a propuesta de Duran Lleida y con el soporte de UDC, ampliado después a otros partidos como requiere el estatuto de ese cargo. En los casi cinco años que lleva en el cargo apenas un asunto de los de su competencia ha sido resuelto definitivamente, no precisamente una muestra de extraordinaria diligencia. Por lo que se puede deducir de las grabaciones publicadas en las que predomina en el uso de la palabra, se muestra sumiso y disponible a la autoridad del ministro y no se contiene en calificar, incluso en términos insultantes a diferentes miembros de los estamentos políticos catalanes. En la comparecencia que ha tenido ante una comisión del Parlament ha mantenido un tono desafiente, provocativo, altanero y locuaz que poco dice de una figura cuyo principal activo debiera ser la discreción. Lo que resulta evidente que su actuación se equipara a la de un agente de información, de "inteligencia" que, además, ocupa un puesto que le permite ejecutar acciones hostiles contra políticos de los partidos independentistas catalanes.

La filtración. Ambos interlocutores se han apresurado a rechazar cualquier responsabilidad en las grabaciones y su difusión, protestas hasta cierto punto creibles porque no resultan muy bien parados con su divulgación. Distintos medios vienen atribuyendo la grabacion y su filtración a elementos de la policia estatal y justificándola con los conflictos internos de esa institución. Los protagonistas incluyen personajes como Eugenio Pino, que se jubiló ayer, el director del CITCO (Centro de Inteligencia contra el Terrorismo y Crimen Organizado), comisario José Luis Olivera, el comisario Marcelino Martín Blas,  "que viajó a Barcelona y se entrevistó con fiscales Anticorrupción en octubre de 2012" (http://www.elmundo.es/espana/2016/06/24/576c4e4be2704ee7138b4646.html). Y también
José Santiago Sánchez Aparicio, a quien el ministro le acaba de encargar las pesquisas sobre la grabación y difusión de sus conversaciones, alias "Chati", "el peor jefe de formación [de Policía] desde la II República" como lo describía el SUP en unos escritos de hace unos meses (http://goo.gl/A3pwfX). De la punta de ese lio no estamos en condiciones de estirar, aunque esperamos que alguien lo haga por nosotros en los próximos días.
El último episodio cuando dos policias (??) se presentan en la redacción del diario "Público" exigiendo que les entreguen las cintas de la grabación sin una orden judicial añade el ridículo a la prepotencia represiva.

Evidentemente se trata de una punta de iceberg de lo que bien puede calificarse de guerra sucia anticatalanista. Sucia y cutre, porque la escasa eficacia que se puede atribuir a toda esa maraña de actitudes mastuerzas, no parece que vaya a afectar a nadie de forma grave, más allá de las molestias y la sensación de indefensión ante un estado que, con el más olímpico desprecio a los derechos de los ciudadanos y a las leyes que les amparan, no duda en recurrir a los infundios para debilitar a los adversarios políticos.
Esto es lo que sabemos. Lo otro nos lo imaginamos y, también lo tememos, desde el convencmiento que no se detendrán ante nada para conseguir sus objetivos perversos.


..

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Horaris


Article publicat a DiariMés el 8 de juny de 2016 sobre els horaris i "la hora de Franco"




Saturday, June 04, 2016

NORTH-AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL CENTRAL SPAIN

(This paper was never published. Some 12 years old, still worth reading and give consideration. It is reproduced here to anyone's curiosity)


NORTH-AFRICAN1 IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL CENTRAL SPAIN
Health issues.

Xavier Allué
Department of Anthropology, Philosophy and Social Work
University of Tarragona “Rovira i Virgili”
Tarragona, Spain


Introduction

The overall picture of foreign economic migration into Spain has a variety of situations and settings. This variety is also reflected in the health related problems the migrants face. Even though the National Health System in Spain is supposed to be uniform, the differences result mostly from the different social and geographic settings. Most recent studies are centred in areas which concentrate large populations of migrants, mainly around the big cities like Madrid and Barcelona. The purpose of this paper is to present the situation in a rural area of central Spain and its peculiarities, differences and similarities, particularly from the professionals viewpoint.

The observational work was carried out during a brief period in the winter of 2004, particularly during a professional meeting of the Primary Health Care Society of Extremadura, the local autonomous region, held at Navalmoral de la Mata in January 2004.


History and present time

There is no way to consider the North-African migration into Spain away from history. No matter the years (centuries) passed, North-Africans for Spaniards are “moros”.

Historical construction o XVI century historic invention, the “Reconquista”, the eight centuries-long supposed struggle to oust the Arab, Muslim, rulers from the Iberian Peninsula, is a cultural reference constantly present in the collective imaginarium of the Spanish people. The “Reconquista” was capped up with the XV century expulsion of the “moriscos”, Muslim peasants and farmers that were part of the Spanish society, by Philip the Second.

Every Spaniard has the feeling that, somehow, and after so long a time and so much effort, they “got rid” of the “moros”, the moors, for good.

Historians, politicians and thinkers of a wide variety of schools of thought, have put the Reconquista under reconsideration and reclaim the Arab heritage as something essential to Spain. The wonderful architectonic monuments of La Alhambra or the Cordoba Mosque are the pride of any red-blooded Spaniard and thousands of cities and towns carry Arabic names all over the country, way up North, almost to the Pyrenees, later carried over the ocean by the Conquistadores to so far away places like Albuquerque in New Mexico or Guadalcanal in the South Seas. The Spanish language is constructed with many Arabic words, from A to Z, from “abalorio”, beadwork, to “zurrapa”, dregs, some 20% of Spanish words come from the Arabic.

Still, to claim some Arabic heritage in Spain has always had an undertone of exotism and left wing progressivism. A “proper” Spaniard, an “hidalgo” would claim “limpieza de sangre”, clean blood, not contaminated by moors’ or, God forbid, Jews’. Of course centuries have gone by and “hidalgos” no longer hold any sway in the Spanish society, but the deep feeling lingers on.

Differences will be considered between “Arabs”, the Cordoba caliphs, the Ummaya, rich, educated, powerful, and of Middle East origin, and the “moros”, North-African illiterate, semi-savage, dirty, rapists of women god-forsaken infidels, sarrazins, dog-moors.

This is reproduced today as oil-rich Saudi princes are welcomed as investors in the Costa del Sol, Arabs, whereas poor immigrants from North Africa may be considered jobs stealing scumbags in some poor Spanish districts.

The Civil War, started by Franco with the African Army and using Moroccan mercenaries as front line fighters, made a peculiar twist for winners and losers as the Republicans, atheistic, defended democracy and civilisation against the Francoist “Christian crusaders” dressed up in Moroccan tunics and donning the fez (Turkish) cap. Some historians, on the other hand, said the Spanish Civil War was the last Punic War. So there.

Twenty-five hundred years of struggle and confrontation, but also of living together, syncretism and miscegenation, the bridge between Europe and Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, is to be again the common land of Western Mediterranean peoples.

As Professor Seppilli put it once, the North Africans, the moors, the immigrants are not coming. They are coming back.


Setting

The geographical region of Campo Arañuelo is in the Northeast corner of the autonomous region of Extremadura, in the Cáceres province in Western Spain, some 180 km South West of Madrid. Navalmoral is the centre of the region, right on the National Highway VI, one of the main radial thoroughfares of the Spanish road system.

The population of the region is of some 55.000 inhabitants, and of those, 6626 are registered immigrants. The peculiarity is that the vast majority of the immigrants are located in just two towns, Navalmoral itself and Talayuela.

Navalmoral is the see of the Hospital Comarcal Campo Arañuelo a 120-bed community hospital built in the late eighties by the National Health System.

Ethnic data

The immigrants in the Navalmoral area belong to at least 32 different nationalities. However, almost 90% are Moroccan (Table I), most of them from a couple of specific towns in Eastern Morocco close to the Algerian border, Oudja and Taourirt.

Table 1. Foreign population in Talayuela, 2002

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
NUMBER
Algiers
49
Brasil
5
Chekia
3
Colombia
31
Cuba
1
Dominican Republic
4
Equador
126
France
3
Italy
1
Jordan
1
Lithuania
6
Morocco
4401 (93%)
Mauritania
1
Netherlands
1
Poland
5
Portugal
31
Rumania
13
Senegal
31
Ukraina
2
TOTAL
4715
(Local Spanish population: 6880 )
Data from Alvarez C. Realidad de la inmigración en Extremadura, 2003.


Social and cultural data.

Language. Many Moroccans would speak Arab which is the Moroccan official language, used in schools and by the Administration. But many others speak Tamazight (Berber) or Chelja and dialects. Illiteracy is very common. Up to 55% of men and 80% of women are illiterate in Arab. Few can read Spanish although gradually they understand Spanish signs and posters.

Religion.
The vast majority are orthodox Muslims. There is a mosque ( an informant said a “quasi-mosque”) in Talayuela, located in a former tobacco leaves drying shed, a building quite run-down, rented to its owner by the Muslim community. Some four years ago an imam arrived in the area and settled down. Some time after he regrouped2 his family and now provides his services to the community on a full-time basis. He is also supported by the community. There is a fair attendance to the services, especially in the holy days. The Ramadan is generally followed by the vast majority of the settlers.

The use of head scarves, “chador” is very common amongst Moroccan women. However, most youngsters have done away with ethnic attire and dress as Europeans. Practically no school girls wear “chador” at school, by their own decision. There is no evidence of any conflict related to women’s ethnic wear3.

The migration to the Campo Arañuelo area dates back to the early nineties, initially as seasonal harvest workers for the dark tobacco, that then stayed and got into the tobacco and asparagus planting and harvesting, both labour intensive crops.

The case of Talayuela

Talayuela was a sleepy little town in central Spain with a population slightly over 5000 inhabitants. The population was growing older as many young men and women migrated to the industrial belt of Madrid, just a couple of hours away by train or motorcar.

From the late eighties, Talayuela began to get some migrant workers from North Africa. The influx gradually grew with more newcomers and in the past 6-8 years with the regrouping of families, women and children. With the new century, the immigrant population equated and eventually surpassed in numbers the local population.

The higher birth rate of Moroccans meant a growing proportion of births to foreign-born mothers, up to 18% (83 of 440 deliveries) in the year2002. For all practical purposes, all the deliveries have taken place in the local hospital.

This settlement of foreigners in such a small community has evolved rather smoothly with very few incidents on the record, described in a national newspaper of large distribution as “the miracle of Talayuela”4, as opposed to certain other concentrations of migrant workers in Spain such as Can Anglada, in the Catalan Vallés or Elejido, in Almeria, where racist incidents have taken place in the recent past.

Talayuela has a Local Health Centre with 4 Family Physicians and one Paediatrician, plus an assorted number of nursing personnel and one Social Worker.


The health problems detected

Imported problems
Parasitic infestations (scabies, lice, giardiasis, etc.)
Deficient growth development in children
Anaemias of multifactorial origin
Tuberculosis
Skin problems (dermatitis/dermatosis)
Chronic ear infections
Lack of vaccination


Health matters related to cultural peculiarities and social situation

The weight of religion: The Ramadan
Circumcision (tathir)
The use of henna skin paintings
The tea drinking
Illiteracy and poor education
Overcrowding

Meanwhile, the general health problems are no different from what is found in any poor and recently arrived migrant population, it is worth noting the problems the health personnel relates to cultural differences.

The large concentration of Muslim population and the settlement of families make the religious celebrations more of a routine. The health personnel feels that some of the traditions have reflourished a bit, over and above what the practices were in the land of origin.

The Ramadan observance poses a problem in certain persons more sensible to food intake: pregnant women, diabetics and children. Doctors have found it difficult to explain how Ramadan fasting can be circumvented without twisting the religious prescriptions.

The circumcisions are usually demanded as a service to the surgical units. No circumcisions are carried out by lay people.

The use of henna skin decorations is widespread even in new-born babies. Henna is a dye made of the dried crushed leaves of a plant: Lawsonia inermis, supposed to be completely harmless. The concern arises from the fact that some henna dyes may have heavy metal salts such as mercury, chrome, cadmium and cobalt, that may be incorporated into the body producing heavy metal poisoning and cutaneous allergic reactions. Also, some henna presentations are laced with PPD (paraphenylenodiamine) to shorten the impregnation time of the dye. PPD has been related to renal failure due to toxic glomerulonephritis.

Tea and herbal infusions are the most common drinks amongst Moroccans. Originally the purpose of boiling water had an anti-infectious reasoning in areas where drinking water was a constant health risk for gastrointestinal infectious diseases like typhoid fever, cholera, and other GI infections. The tea infusion carries a wealth of biologically active principles like flavonoids, vitamins and fluoride and carries a lot less caffeine than coffee. The unwanted effects of tea are related to the potential effect of iron binding, sequestering the available iron in the regular food intake, leading to iron deficiency anaemia. This affects mainly children and pregnant women.

Language and cultural barriers are considered insurmountable difficulties in health care. Illiteracy, almost universal amongst Moroccan women renders impossible written recommendations for prescriptions and dosage. History taking is a pain not just because the language distance but because the inability to understand the real meaning of the questions. Things like allergies or toxic habits are not interpreted as such and almost impossible to translate by the mediators.

On the whole, most migrants will address themselves to the Health Centre when they feel ill, but they would not report for follow-up visits of for check-ups if they do not feel sick. The idea of preventive medicine seems totally foreign to them.

As youngsters do learn more easily Spanish in school, they are used as interpreters commonly. This is very useful, with the noticeable exceptions of consultations related to gynaecological ailments in women, who would not confide their problems to a younger member of the family, particularly boys.


The informants

Most of the information was provided by Dr. Maged H. Abdulrazzak, a Lebanese paediatrician of Palestinian origin who settled in Villanueva de la Vera some 15 years ago to discover that his patients gradually changed from the Spanish local population to Arab speaking migrants, his own mother tongue.

Maria Antonia Martin, a Social Worker assigned to the Talayuela Health Centre provided an excellent insight of the migrant population behaviour. She also contacted and lead the interview with the members of the “Forum” (see below)

Maria Jesus Pascual, paediatrician, formerly at the Talayuela health Center, now working in Madrid.

Julian Ibañez, Family physician, collected information on vaccinations

Jose Luis Dominguez, male nurse, cared for children and provided child care norms and counselling to mothers.


The FORUM

In the 24th of January meeting, the afternoon session was dedicated to the view of the migrants. For that purpose, a number of migrants from the area were asked to form a panel of discussion and express their feelings and ideas about their experience as patients.
Members:

Abdallah. Moroccan, from the South East of Morocco, a very poor region. University graduate in English Philology. Out of work decided to emigrate into Spain. Worked in the fields for a while, now acts as cultural mediator.

Turia. Moroccan, wife of a Moroccan farming technical engineer. Came to Spain under the regrouping legislation. Homemaker. (A well dressed, good looking, Western style dressed, blonde dyed young woman in her thirties.

Ana Beatriz. Ecuadorian. Migrated into Spain six years ago to work in the fields. Regrouped her family (as many South American do: women migrate first, then recall their husbands and children) afterwards. Now she teaches clothes design and tailoring in Plasencia, a larger town, close to Campo Arellano.

Pape. Senegalese male, thirty-ish. Took two years of Medical School in Dakar, then quit when his mother died and had to take care of his younger brothers and sisters. Migrated into Spain via Amsterdam (didn't like Dutch weather) and works as ambulant vendor.

Houria. Translator. Moroccan, daughter of a former provincial governor in Morocco. Now living in Navalmoral, he is the president of a multicultural organisation that pays for her cooperation as a translator. She is not, remarks, a cultural mediator.
Pilar. Spanish Social Worker from Seville, married to a Senegalese man who works as a farmer, one son.

One way or another, all members of the Forum refer to the degree of tolerance found in Talayuela as something very appreciated and deemed extraordinary by most.

Turia referred here experience with the gynaecologist and considered positive and with no particular problems. Being of a better to do family, she had had contact with Western style gynaecological care back in Larache, where she was from.

(Ana Beatriz) The Ecuadorian professionals migrate to Spain and had to work as peasants, farmers, meanwhile they could not find a way to develop their careers and use their skills and potentials in their own corrupted and abusive society.

Pilar brought up the political side of migration. Commented on the Government responsibilities in providing a more sensible legal coverage and called for an end to the paper-less situation of many new immigrants, blaming the lack of understanding between the Spanish (European) governments and those of the countries of origin of the immigrants.


Integration

None of the Spanish informers would accept that there is an integration of immigrants. They talk about “convivial tolerance” or “living together but not mixed” (“Juntos pero no revueltos”). Although there are no situations of apartheid, by any stretch of the imagination, some would accept terms like “a dispersed ghetto”.

Many believe that it will take at least one generation when today’s schoolchildren grow up into the Spanish (European) culture and become “normal”, that the communities will integrate.

Some point out the lack of will to integrate as many immigrant women watch Arabic TV channels soap operas through satellite dish antennae (Algerian or Egyptian) and make no efforts to learn Spanish.

If one looks up Talayuela on the Internet, the most important site is the web page put up by ARJABOR (http://www.arjabor.com), an organisation that brings together “public and private wills, individual and collective to impulse the sustainable development of our towns and their people” as they claim on their home page. ARJABOR stands for Campo Arañuelo, La Jara and Los Ibores, the three major communities of the area, and the organisation is supported by the local tobacco growers.The web page gives quite a lot of information about History, Geography, Demography, Labor market, Healthcare, Social services and Economic and Trade data, completed with maps and graphs to illustrate the facts. In all this rather complete display of information, there is not a single word about immigration. None (!). This absence, this obliteration of a social reality says a lot about the “official/unofficial” feelings of the opinion leaders of the area.

On the other hand, the immigrants that could express their opinions consider themselves well accepted and willing to participate more and more in the social environment. As mentioned above, the participants in the Multicultural Forum publicly expressed their recognition and gratitude to the Campo Arañuelo society for their acceptance and reception, particularly in relation to health care.
(It must be said that no field work outside the limits of the meeting was carried out on individual immigrants).


The menace: a new farming machine used in the tobacco leaves harvesting, jokingly called by locals “Isabel, la Católica” after Queen Isabella who kicked out the moors from Spain in th XVth century. The machine will displace many workers from the now labour intensive tobacco harvesting.



PART TWO

Immigration is not a problem. It is just an event. Racism is a real problem. We all should work to prevent it to become an event.

Politicians

In the course of the meeting on January 25th there were two interventions by the Autonomous Government of Extremadura representatives. One was a high official of the department of Social Welfare and the other was the Director General of Health, the second in command in the Department of Health. Both addressed the issue of migration from a political point of view, praised the organisers of the meeting and offered their cooperation.

The discourse of the Director General of Health was a little more elaborated. It included the offering of a social category to the immigrants with words like “we are all in the same boat” meaning both the nation and the world. Also insisted that the immigrants were in need of social help and health care not only as citizens or taxpayers but as persons.

He called for coordination of efforts between the professionals and the administration, being the health professional in the front line in contact with the people. He understood that we are now in a new era in the conformation of the population of our country with the arrival of new people from abroad.

In this context, he came to consider that immigrants do not have welfare and social problems on one side and health problems in another. Rather those problems were not two processes but the same one.

He also asked for a continuation of the “Jornadas” in new editions, and demanded a summary of the conclusions of the meeting to be used as a guideline for further government policies.

Aside the fact that, nowadays, our politicians usually come to meetings with a well-prepared discourse and keeping in mind that politicians promises are very often empty words, the tone of the address and the way he put together social and health issues as a common and one matter, sounded nice and better structured than the general discourse one hears usually.

Worth to say is the fact that both politicians belonged to the Socialist party, the ruling party in Extremadura, on the whole interested in marking distances with the People’s Party (“Partido Popular”), the right-wing ruling party in the Spanish State, particularly in view of the upcoming elections in just couple of months. The People’s Party has changed twice in less than 15 months the General Immigration Law for Spain. The first time just to change the previous law, set up by the former ruling party, the Socialist, claiming it was too permissive with illegal immigrants, and the second to correct their own ruling as not working properly and turning illegal immigration into a criminal act5.

However, the general sense of welcoming to the immigrants transpired all the addresses.



The view of doctors, nurses, and social workers.

Health care personnel find themselves confronted with the reality of immigration with the conscience that it means a problem that has been somehow imposed to them. Tha majority feel that they have not been prepared nor trained to take care of people from different cultures and with health problems that may be little known to them.

At the same time, many undertake their tasks with a sense of a mission, particularly when the number of foreign immigrants becomes a rather important part of their patients. They get involved in community activities, participate in Parents-and-Teachers meetings at the local school and cooperate closely with the social services.

The health personnel complaint that there is little recognition of the workload the immigrants represent, in part because it is a nonregistered population. This is despite the fact the immigrants are usually provided with health cards. As one put it: “...it is a phantom population, nowhere to be seen at any administrative level but that shows up in the clinic (for care)”.

In this particular area, the immigration is very recent altogether, just ten years. So most of the experiences are related to newcomers and a relatively short time after arrival. This is particularly so in the case of women and children, the vast majority having arrived in the past five years. Therefore, the predominant issues are related to the health problems carried over from the country of origin and the difficulties in communicating with the immigrants because of language and cultural barriers, as they have not acquired Spanish language abilities.

Within these parameters, it emerges fairly soon the difference between some immigrants and others depending on their origin in Morocco. The fact that so many come from the Oujda and Taourirt areas, a rather backward region close to the Algerian border, utterly abandoned by the Moroccan authorities, brings up the question of their previous exposure to Western medicine or medical. North-African immigrants from the Western part of Morocco and the large cities like Casablanca or Marrakesh and their surroundings are culturally closer and have had access to doctors and hospitals. The ones from the eastern border are rather primitive and vastly illiterate.

The first contact with the Spanish health system usually is to obtain a health card as a prerequisite for health care, but especially because with the health card they may demand an official health certificate, one of many documents needed to legalise their situation. Very often this will be the one and only contact with the health system, particularly for men. Women and children, as they come in the process of reuniting families also need to obtain a medical health certificate. This is used to engage these people in the health programs.

The professionals note that one major difference in the demand of health care is that the North-Africans are used to go to doctors only and when they feel sick, forfeiting any idea of preventive medicine. Furthermore, they will abandon any treatment once the symptoms have receded.

This attitude is widely criticised by doctors and nurses. The (relatively) young Family Physicians in Spain have been trained with a heavy emphasis in preventive medicine. Slogans such as “It’s more worth to prevent than to cure”, an old Spanish saying, are completed with an addendum: “and cheaper”. The officials doctrine calls for strong and very active programs on immunisations, early diagnosis of severe diseases like lung and colon cancer in men and breast and cervical malignancies in women, watch over for diabetes and hypertension, fight against tobacco use and the like. So much so that the very name of the health facilities “Centros de Salud”, Health centres, has been opposed to the “disease centres” meant for the hospitals Emergency Room services (See Uribe, 1996 and Allue, 1999). Therefore, they resent the immigrants attitude and consider it backward and primitive, when not utterly stupid.

Doctors, not so much nurses, and other allied personnel, resent that many immigrants show up for visits at the clinic without previous appointment. The system demands that any doctor while on duty in the clinic should take up to 10% of non-appointed visits (“spontaneous”). Over that, the patients may be referred to the Emergency Room. This may not mean much, as quite often the same doctor covers both the clinic and the Emergency service. What really upsets the professionals is that the “spontaneous” demand is for matter rather administrative, such as health certificates, vaccinations or getting prescriptions. Of course, this patients’ attitude is also relatively common amongst the local Spanish population, but the general sense is that the immigrants are “less disciplined”.

At the same time, doctors recognise that as the immigrants have been in contact with the health system for a longer time, gradually they become more and more orderly and demand and keep appointments.
On the whole, most professionals see the collective of immigrants as a problem due to the cultural distance. The difficulties encountered in the immigrants care, expressed in different points, it all boils down to cultural matters:

“...the features of the immigrants as a collective, educational, labour related and habits...”
“... the lack of knowledge (by the health professionals) of their culture and the best way to reach out to them...”
“... the absence of cultural mediators and social educators...”
“... the difficulties of the professionals for taking conscience of this population...”
“... the absence of protocols for the care of immigrants...”
“... the discoordination of the different administrations (local, community, state)...”

And in the six proposed possible strategies to confront the problems the word “culture” appears utmost in each and every one of them:

“To acquire a wider knowledge of the culture of the immigrant population...”
“Continuous education for professionals focussed in the integral view of the health-disease process in their cultural setting...”
“To include cultural mediators in the health team...”
“Common protocols adapted to the culture of the immigrants population...”
“Respect and take advantage of cultural concepts and habits of the immigrants...”
“To coordinate activities with the NGO’s, immigrants community associations, community and religious leaders,...” (Martin, 2004)


Immigrant children

The definition proposed for immigrant children is the one published by the American Academy of Paediatrics: an immigrant child is anyone born in another country now living here, whether legal or illegal, a refugee or a foreign adopted child.

The inclusion of internationally adopted children6 as “immigrants” relates to the fact that, as the “economic migrants”, adopted children usually come from Third World countries and share many of the health care deficiencies so common in those countries.

This comment is included here because the coincidence of the Navalmoral meeting and the presentation of a book on Chinese children adoption in Extremadura with the general assembly of ANDENI, an association for transnational adoption in Caceres, the provincial capital. The author of this text contributed with a paper on ethical matters in transnational adoption (Allué, 2004).

As mentioned above, the children of immigrant families are both born abroad and brought with their mothers in the regrouping process and born already in Spain. Of a total of 5012 born children in the Navalmoral area 1992 to 2002, 319 (6.3%) were born to non-Spanish mothers. Of those, 288 to Moroccan mothers. Since 1998 the annual number of newborns is maintained around 450 a year. However, the proportion of Spanish/Non-Spanish has changed from 94%/5.1% to 81%/18.8%. (Table II)



Table II. Births in the Campo Arañuelo Hospital

Year
Spanish mother
Moroccan mother
Other
Total
1998
443
23
6
459
1999
389
43
1
433
2000
429
52
1
482
2001
408
68
6
482
2002
351
83
4
440


This reproduces a common situation in Spain as a whole, since the country, now with one of the lowest birth rate in the world, is experimenting the influx of immigrants and an increase of their share of births.

Child care in the Talayuela Health Centre is extended to all the immigrant population. The problems the professionals encounter are the common health problems in children: upper respiratory tract infections, seasonal enterocolitis, and the like. But also and as mentioned above, some specific problems are identified as more frequent amongst immigrants, particularly newcomers: deficiency anaemias, parasitic infections (lice, scabies), chronic ear infections and primary tuberculosis.

The incomplete immunisations or the sheer lack of it is compounded with the difficulty in obtaining proper records of vaccinations given in Morocco. There is an added confusion on the BCG vaccination, supposed to be compulsory in Morocco, but not always given. This may be misleading when evaluating a positive PPD skin test.

Nutritional problems are detected in small children once they are weaned from breastfeeding.


CONCLUSION

The singular situation of North-African immigrants in the Campo Arañuelo region offers a specific picture of the reality of immigration in some rural areas in Spain.

The health problems found, show a mixture of Third World-First World collusion situations mostly related to the relatively recent immigration that has taken place in the area.

The health professionals express also a mixture of feelings and opinions as they resent the poor health background of the immigrant population and the difficulties inherent to the cultural distances and language differences, together with a sense of a mission in the care of this people.

Although there are no evident situations of exclusion or discrimination, more to the contrary, with an ample distribution of health cards and no administrative barriers for medical care, the gradual increase in health care demand due to the growing immigrant population and the limitations in resources available, may lead to difficulties in health care delivery in this particular area.


February, 2004

(Note: the author is indebted to Dr. JJ Morell who made possible this work and introduced the author to the Extremadura immigrants reality).


1 North-African for this text would essentially mean Moroccan. In Spain the term “Maghrebi”, from the Maghrib, the geographical area that includes Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia and even Mali and Mauritania, is used commonly but, mostly in a euphemistic way of staying away from “moro”, Moor, a term deemed politically incorrect. Because this mystification the term Maghrebi will not be used in this text.
2 Regrouping “reagrupamiento familiar” is a legal form of immigration, for families of settled immigrants after some time of stay and who can claim they have a steady job. Most North-African women come into Spain with such a program. Very few immigrate by themselves.
3 The very day this text is written the French Government has passed a regulation outlawing the use of any religious headdress in France public school system, being “chador”, head scarves, yarmulke or any other. Although a couple of years ago there was some public argueing about the use of head scarves, the polemic died down and there is no big issue about this matter at this moment.
4 Ildefonso Olmedo, “El milagro de Talayuela”, Sunday supplement of El Mundo, 2001
5 For non-Europeans, it may be quite confusing the fact that each and everyone of the European Union members have their own immigration laws, despite the fact that at least 10 of them through the Schengen Agreement share a common policy of free moving within their borders. Any immigrant legally admitted into Spain could roam free through most of Europe.

6 This author prefers to call these children “transnationally adopted” as a philological precision. International might mean that the adoption of children could happen both ways between two given countries, something extremely unusual.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tàrraco viva, Tàrraco morta, Tàrraco "cutre"



Publicat a DiariMés el 20 de maig de 2016




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Friday, May 06, 2016

Noms per la memòria - Filferrades

A finals d'abril i principi de maig fa anys de l'alliberació d'uns quants dels camps de concentració nazis a Centreeuropa. Enguany en fa 71.

Són els de Berger-Belsen (15 abril), Sachsenhausen (22 abril), Dachau (29 abril), Ravensbrück (30 abril), Neuegamme (3 maig), Mauthausen-Gusen (5 maig). Altres, especialment els situats a Polònia, una mica abans: Treblinka 1 i 2(19 agost 1944), Sobibor (octubre 1943), Majdanek (juliol 1944), Belzec (desembre 1942), Kulmhof-Chelmmo (17 gener, 1945), Auschwitz-Birkenau (27 gener, 1945), i Gross Rosen (14 febrer, 1945). Més Theresienstad, desmantellada l'octubre de 1944)

Els noms geogràfics han de suportar el terrible pes de què allí va succeir. Els números dels que hi van perdre la vida són tan horribles en magnitud que no són fàcils de comprendre. Aproximadament equivalents a l'actual població de Catalunya.

El pas dels anys no pot esborrar la memòria. Ni tampoc deixar-nos veure que hi ha nous noms que s'incorporen al geografia de la ignomínia. Noms com Moria, a l'illa de Lesbos, Pozzallo, Porto Empedocle i Trapani a Sicília, Lampedusa al bell mig de la Mediterrània. Chamilo i Idomeni entre Grècia i Macedònia. O Calais a França. O, pel cas, Ceuta.

Són els "punts calents" de la crisi migratòria i de refugiats de les guerres a l'Orient Mitjà i la que els ciutadans europeus contemplem sense fer-ne res.

No es tracta de fer comparances en les magnituds de les tragèdies. Als camps d'extermini era una maldat activa, voluntària, planificada i decidida. La crisi dels refugiats només en la persistència de la inacció. De la passiva contemplació de les imatges d'una tragèdia, de la que sembla que només ens quedarà una memòria de noms geogràfics. I ja no som a temps d'esborrar-la


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