Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spain. Show all posts

August 28, 2015

Imagine if Wars were fought like Spain fights “La Tomatina” A Tomato Food Fight


Buñol, near Valencia in southern Spain, has held the hot mess of a festival 'La Tomatina' for the last 70 years.
The festival began on a hot August day in 1945, when locals gathered to watch a traditional Catalan 'Giants and Big-Heads' fairytale parade. 
There were some sharp elbows involved to bag the best viewing spots, which led one frustrated member of the crowd to pick up the nearest projectile - the tomatoes outside a grocery - and fling them at the crowd.
And thus, a noble tradition was born:
The world's biggest food fight attracts 20,000 revellers every year - but Buñol's biggest secret is probably that it doesn't actually grow any tomatoes. More than 54 tonnes are imported to the village for the festival annually, and even if Buñolians wanted to grow their own, they'd never be able to meet demand.
While some question whether the hassle and expense is worth it, one side-effect is that the village is left spotless once it's been hosed down because the acidity in the fruit is a cleaning agent. 
And let's face it: could you have this much fun not bathing in a street full of squashed tomatoes?

July 6, 2015

Catholic Spain 40yrs Dictatorship Follow 10 yrs Same sex Marriage

 Cosmopolitan Madrid, Chueca, Spain 

In the summer of 2005, the socialist Spanish government legalized gay marriage in Spain. My overwhelmingly Catholic country, with a legacy of a 40-year-old fascist dictatorship that even banned divorce, surprisingly became the third European Union member to authorize same-sex unions.Ten years and around 28,000 couples married later, a whole generation of LGBT people has grown up. We have developed our sexual and family choices in an environment where we are as free to marry as we are to eschew marriage as an old-fashioned and cheesy option.
As many in the US celebrated last week’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage across the country, I counted myself lucky to have lived with this freedom for a decade.
Here’s some of what that decade has taught us in Spain’s LGBT community, and some takeaways for our US counterparts:
Equality is a daily, unfinished fight

No sooner had same-sex unions arrived arrived in Spain, as attacks to those newly acquired rights came from various directions. The Popular Party, the Spanish conservative party, gave permission to its members not to marry gay couples, arguing conscientious objection. It also filed a claim that the law was unconstitutional, which was not resolved until 2012 when the Constitutional Court reaffirmed the law.
Today, the Spanish Roman Catholic Church keeps calling for demonstrations to defend what it calls “the traditional family” while untiringly denouncing gay marriage as a sign of a crisis in Spanish society. Its claim is that these unions should have a name that is not “marriage.”
Likewise, in the US, people and organizations in some states have already started looking for loopholes to get in the way of gay unions.
The focus should be on helping the next generations

We also soon found out that the law does not mean that younger generations are free from the homophobic behaviors and offensive comments that we grew up with.
In Spain, half of young gay people between 15 and 25 years report having suffered bullying in school (link in Spanish). And 43 percent of them have considered suicide, with 17 percent of them saying they have tried to hurt themselves. To teenagers facing discrimination, the knowledge that they can legally marry later may offer little comfort—the law makes it no easier for them to come out.
Coming out is just as tough for young LGBT Americans. According to a Pew Research report, 43 percent of LGBT people were older than 20 when they first came out to a friend or family member.
Spanish attitudes to LGBT issues have significantly changed over the decade that gay marriage has been legal. The percentage of people in Spain who support gay marriage increased seven points after the law, reaching a 75 percent in 2005.
And a 2013 Pew Research survey that asked if society should accept homosexuality found that 88 percent of Spaniards answered “yes”—compared with only 60 percent of Americans who replied the same.
It remains to be seen whether American attitudes will undergo a similar evolution. In Spain, policy clearly moved faster than societal attitudes, whereas in the US it has taken a while for the law to recognize an increasingly accepted reality.
Still, the mindsets of older people remain hard to change, on both sides of the Atlantic. Among my young Spanish friends who live openly, many are still to scared to come out to older members of their families.
Likewise, a Gallup survey found out that Americans over 65 are more likely to oppose gay marriage. And, as my colleague Meredith Bennett-Smith wrote not so long ago: That is not “a demographic that can be dismissed.”
“These are our aunts and uncles, our mentors, and our teachers,” she said. “It’s also a generation that remembers an era when homosexuality was still something best kept to oneself.”
LGBT discrimination takes many forms. In Spain, 60 percent of gay, transgender or bisexual reported to have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace. (In the US, 21 percent of LGBT adults have suffer the same.)
And some marginalized groups have fewer changes in their treatment. Undocumented immigrants, gypsies and other ethnic minorities, older gay people, and residents of rural areas are more likely to experience discrimination, to live in poverty or to suffer violence due to their sexual orientation. Lesbian women are particularly vulnerable.
“It is time to stop thinking about same-sex marriage, and to make a way for other demands and needs,” said LGBT activist Lucas Platero in a recent article, (in Spanish), adding that those “may not be the concerns of the elite LGBT groups, but those of ordinary people.”
In recent years, a faction within the Spanish LGBT activist community called Critic Pride has arisen. This group argues that the original cause has been commodified by brands that sponsor parades, and that the rights of marginalized groups have been neglected or ignored. “A pride that makes dykes and the precarious realities of trans and migrants invisible cannot represent us,” said this year’s manifiesto (in Spanish).
In the US, some are already pointing out the next issues the LGBT agenda needs to address, particularly in underserved communities: violence, employment discrimination, poverty, and access to healthcare.
So, America: Now is the time to celebrate. But get back to work as soon as you can.

Maria Sanchez Diez

November 25, 2014

Three Priests Arrested in Spain in Sexual Abuse Scandal


 Police on Monday arrested three priests and a teacher in Spain’s Granada region as part of ongoing investigations into alleged child sexual abuse — the latest development in a case which has rocked Spain.

A judge overseeing the investigations ordered the arrests of the four men over allegations they had sexually abused at least one minor — a case that came to light after the alleged victim, now 24, wrote to Pope Francis outlining the abuse he had supposedly suffered several years earlier.
The pope reportedly called the victim on several occasions offering support and asking for forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church.
A total of ten priests and two laypeople are now being investigated by a Granada-based judge over their possible involvement in the paedophile ring. To date, no one has been charged with any offence.
Among those arrested on Monday — a group originally reported by some Spanish media outlets to comprise four priests — was the alleged leader of the group which is known as Los Romanones, according to Spain's El Mundo newspaper.
Announcing the arrests, Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz highlighted the tough stance the Catholic Church had taken against sexual abuse in recent times.
"I don't believe anyone can doubt that John Paul II, Benedict XVI and, now, Pope Francis are being incredibly aggressive in their bid to eradicate this type of behaviour from the heart of the church," the minister said.
On Sunday, the Archbishop of Granada Francisco Javier Martínez asked for forgiveness for the "scandals" affecting the church, prostrating himself before Granada Cathedral's high altar, a gesture otherwise reserved for Good Friday.
"The evils of the Church are the evils of every one of us," he said, pleading for forgiveness.
Judicial sources last week told Spain's El País newspaper the alleged sex ring had acted like a sect, with boys supposedly drawn into the paedophiles’ sphere of influence by being taken on as altar boys or assistants.    
Court sources said the priests would try to brainwash children in secret meetings, at which sexual matters were discussed and the boys encouraged to perform sexual acts with the adults, who assured them that there was no sin in such encounters. 

November 17, 2014

USA is not the only one with Border problems, Spain is got hands full with Moroccans

Moroccans don’t have a good reputation in  Europe. They are seen as lazy and untrustworthy.
The work that Moroccans due can be compared to the work of immigrants here. But unlike immigrants that work hard at what ever work they can get here Moroccans don’t have 
that reputation. Instead they will clean your house totally, if you know what I mean.

The video and pics you are about to see is my way to compare Spain’s predicament with ours and the states with borders in the US. Spain does have a compassionate law for immigrants that once they hit spaniard’s 
soil they cannot be just deported. They are given free lawyers and an expensive waiting period of 
litigations and appeals before they can be deported. Spain not doing great economically lately, see
these influx of undocumented men jumping the border as a thread to their economic security.

On the video and pic you will see the Moroccans climbing and the police trying to get them down. 
Spain is being criticized for using force to get them down but I don’t know what they can use out of guns which is out of the question there to get these men to change their minds. Pleading obviously has not worked. This issue is so contentious that even the reporter who wrote the original post covered up his picture afraid from reprisals. Giving you this  background now I give you the story. Adam Gonzalez
Many African migrants, like Danny (in the centre of the photo), regularly try to scale the three fences separating Morocco from Melilla. Screen grab from a video filmed by the NGO  Prodein (Pro Derechos de la Infancia) on October 15. 

A video has emerged showing police beating up African migrants at the Spanish border. About 200 African migrants who were trying to get into Melilla - a Spanish enclave in northwest Morocco - were reportedly beaten up by Spain’s Guardia Civil (police) on October 15.

Nearly all of them were then illegally sent back to Morocco.

The immigrants, who hail from Sub-Saharan Africa, had tried to get past the triple fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave at about 6 am. Two men were beaten particularly badly by the Spanish Guardia Civil, including one named Danny, aged 23, from Cameroon. On a video broadcast by Prodein, a children’s rights NGO, policemen can be seen beating the young man with their batons as he climbs down a ladder. After being beaten over the head, Danny falls to the ground. He is then dragged off by the police, apparently unconscious.

“The images could not be clearer or more appalling,” said Judith Sunderland, senior Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch, after viewing the film.
Danny, a young man from Cameroon who tried to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla, was injured by Spanish policemen. Video by  Prodein (Pro Derechos de la Infancia).

"When migrants are injured but conscious, they're sent directly back to Morocco"

Robert Bonet is a freelance photographer. He witnessed the police’s brutal treatment of the migrants last Wednesday.
I arrived on the scene at 9 am, three hours after the migrants started to rush the border. I learned that 200 people had set out to try to get into Spanish territory. But only about 100 of them were scaling the fences when I got there; the Moroccan police had blocked the others.

The border is composed of three Spanish fences. Just a few metres away, another fence is being built on the Moroccan side. When it’s finished, it will become even harder for migrants to get through and the Moroccan police will have more time to intervene.

On Protein’s video, you can see migrants – for the most part from Cameroon – who have reached the third Spanish fence. Danny, who was severely beaten, was taken to the hospital unconscious. Thankfully, he survived. Migrants who lose consciousness are always taken to the hospital by the police. However, those who are severely injured but still conscious are generally carried directly back to the Moroccan side. The police almost always use violence against migrants who try to scale the fences. On Wednesday, at least 40 of them were injured.

To justify this use of force, Melilla’s authorities issued a statement denouncing the migrants’ “extreme violence”, saying they carried “stones, sticks, ropes, hooks, knives and other sharp objects”. It also stated that some migrants had set fire to their clothes in order to throw them on the Spanish Guardia Civil. Five policemen were reportedly injured on Wednesday. However, only hooks, ropes, and a few sticks can be seen in the video published by the government (below) that shows what was confiscated from the migrants.

Bonet believes that the Spanish Guardia Civil are trying to portray the migrants as criminals.
“The ropes and hooks that you see in this video are used by the migrants to climb the fence, not to hurt the policemen. The Spanish Guardia Civil often try to distort the truth. They have never presented any proof that the migrants are violent. As for the fires, I didn’t see any when I arrived, so I can’t speak to that.

A video published by Melilla's authorities that show what was confiscated from migratns on October 15. 

"Once migrants are on Spanish soil, they can't immediately be deported"

Beyond the question of violence, sending migrants back to Morocco is contrary to the law, as Bonet explains:
Once they have crossed over the first fence, they’re in Spanish territory, according to a bilateral agreement signed by Spain and Morocco. This means that legally, they can’t immediately be deported back to Morocco, according to the Ley de Extranjeria [Editor’s Note: Spain’s law on foreigners entering its territory]. This law stipulates that once they’ve arrived on Spanish soil, migrants have the right to a lawyer and a translator, and to ask for asylum. They can only be deported once they’ve been refused asylum.

However, if the migrants haven’t gotten over all three fences, the Guardia Civil deems that they’re not yet in Spain and sends them back to Morocco. This is completely illegal. Moreover, they claim that they don’t send migrants back once they are over the third fence, but they still do it.

This protocol, which was signed by the head of the Spanish Guardia Civil, Ambrosio Martin Villasenor, thus goes against the Ley de Extranjeria. One month ago, a Melilla judge accused him of prevarication, meaning that he signed the document knowing full well that it was contrary to the law.

On October 17, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, wrote on his Facebook page that “it is now necessary that an investigation is opened to establish accountability for police violence”. He added that “Spain has failed to uphold its international obligations in this field – sadly, this is not the first time.” On October 20, the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) called on the authorities to “adopt the necessary measures” so that migrants’ rights are respected.

In the last few months, more and more migrants have tried to illegally enter Spain. In 2013, 4,235 of them managed to enter Melilla and Ceuta, Spain’s two enclaves in Morocco.
Another video filmed by the NGO  Prodein on October 15, showing an African migrant being illegally sent back to Morocco. He is carried by Guardia Civil officers who have tied his hands and feet.

Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Chloé Lauvergnier (@clauvergnier).

July 7, 2014

Spaniards Up in Arms About Bogus Books to teach kids how not to be gay


    “I want to stop being gay”,  “How to prevent homosexuality” and “Gender confusion in childhood” are the three controversial books currently on sale at Spain’s El Corte Inglés, the biggest department store group in Europe and the fourth worldwide.
    All three books have been written by the same author: American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, founder and former president of the US’s National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.
    The paperbacks, two of which have images of young boys on the front cover, are now also available in La Casa del Libro bookstore and online on Amazon.
    “You can’t cure homosexuality, the World Health Organization has said so more than once,” Uge Sangil, education coordinate for Spain’s LGBT state federation (FELGTB) told The Local.
    Asked whether she thought banning these books would go against freedom of speech, Sangil responded: “There has to be a limit; if your freedom of speech is not letting me be who I am and inciting others to hate me then you’ve crossed the line.”
     Reactions to the news on Twitter have been overwhelmingly of outrage and shame, with references to “medieval heresy” and the “Spanish Inquisition” giving some insight into how strongly some Spaniards feel with regard to the outdated attitudes the books support.
    “Spain has come a long way in terms of legal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, but on a social scale there’s still plenty to do,” Sangil concludes.
    “Spain’s Catholic roots still promote these homophobic values.
    “It’s not just the parents and the children who have to learn about sexual diversity and tolerance, the country’s education system and the people behind it need to promote these values.
    “I would love to see a subject in Spanish schools which teaches children about sexual diversity and good citizenship.”

    April 15, 2014

    First LGTB Senior Citizen’s Home is to Open in Spain


    26 December Foundation, which is behind Madrid scheme, says some senior citizens hide their sexuality to avoid rejection by peers
    Spain’s first home for gay and lesbian senior citizen’s is to open in a converted hotel in Madrid.
    Federico Armenteros, president of the 26 December Foundation, which is behind the scheme, said that as far as society was concerned "elderly LGTB don't exist".
    He said the home would not be exclusively for gay people. "We're not going to ask you who you sleep with when you apply," he said. "Anyone can come, the only thing to bear in mind is that it specialises in elderly LGTBs. As it is, there are homes for ex-servicemen, nuns or retired workers from specific companies and no one says they are being discriminatory."
    Until late 1978, gay people in Spain were classified  by law as “dangerous" and faced prison or internment in re-education centres, as well as having their movements restricted. The foundation takes its name from the date the law was reformed.
    Boti García, president of Spain's LGTB federation, said: "When people think of LGTB people, they think of young people. There's a tendency, as there is in society as a whole, to leave out the elderly."
    Armenteros said elderly people in general were not as accepting of gay and lesbian people, and as result some went back into the closet in old age, especially if they were in a home. "They don't have children and grandchildren they can talk about and often they conceal their sexual orientation to avoid rejection."
    The foundation is also planning a civic centre for the same community in the Lavapiés neighbourhood of Madrid, due to be completed within the next few months. It will offer painting classes, physiotherapy, a classroom for the University of the Elderly and a gym, among other things.
    "Neither the centre nor the home will be places to park old people," said Armenteros. "We want elderly people to feel useful, that they have a good time and feel at home." The home is due to open in 2015.

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