Creating the myth that Spanish workers are discriminated upon

Carmen Gomez

A seasoned presenter on Spanish TV who has interviewed our Chief Minister before, reacted with incredulity and stupefaction at the news that their much revered Placido Domingo, had issued a press release to express his repentance over the accusations made against him; whilst only two months ago he was vociferously reiterating his innocence, in an interview in El Pais. His arrogance led him to say things like, how dare they say that about him! It was all fabrication, “un disparate.” 

In answer to the journalist in El Pais however, who was asking how it could be that twenty women in different places and situations could coincide on their accusations; his reply was, that it was very easy these days to say lies about someone you did not like. He has made his derogatory remarks about Gibraltar in the past, and should know this better than anyone else; seeing how in Spain one of the national pastimes of politicians and journalists is to tell lies about a small nation they dislike i.e. Gibraltar!

Punishing the Women

However, this is not so in his case, because it transpires that he did put pressure on the singers to have sexual relationships, by dangling the old carrot of a job in front of them, and then punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances.

So while her male companions on the programme displayed their machismo and asserted it was only a media assertion but not a criminal one, she kept asking “But how can this be if he was saying he was innocent, and he now admits to wrong doings?”

Naturally if she had had some worthwhile researchers on her team, she would have known that an investigation conducted by US lawyers, had concluded that the accounts of twenty seven women, showed a clear pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse of power by the singer, spanning at least two decades. This change of heart from the singer comes on the back of the Weinberg trial. In contrast, here is a man who has never apologised for his actions, because he insists that the women who brought a case against him were all consenting adults. So now fearing the worst, the Spaniard has reconsidered his position, and no doubt advised by his lawyers, admits culpability.

It’s easy to lie, particularly when you come from a society that sees nothing wrong in it. In George Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” 1938, he records it was in Spain that he first came up against totalitarian propagandising; when he read accounts of battles that had not taken place, and troops condemned for cowardice, who he knew had fought bravely; all of which shaped the media manipulations imagined in 1984; and sadly still does today. Zero credibility.

What Cameron Said

Then again, if we are to believe David Cameron, he said back in 2013, that he felt his counterpart Mr. Rajoy was not in “any doubt” over his view that Gibraltar was a British territory and would remain to be one. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it! These are people who care but little for their reputation at the bar of world opinion.

The problem is that we fight a losing battle if we believe we can change their mindset, because however much empathy some government representatives may appear to have with us, at the end of the day, they are never going to find the will or courage to admit back home, that we are not the enemy. The other day I happened to come across a video of a Spanish female delegate who was attending a symposium hosted by the Andalucia Junta I believe, to talk about the rights of European citizenship in Andalucia. The lady in question delivered an impassioned speech mainly directed at a male delegate present; who did not know what to do with himself; shaming him over the issue of La Linea and its people and how he was mishandling the entire subject and ignoring its population.

She naturally went into the businesses of their countrymen having to cross the border to work; trying hard not to mention the name Gibraltar too often, lest she be accused of being a sympathiser and then not only would she be regarded as a traitor, but her words would go nowhere.

This is the problem we face; that there are those who cannot bring themselves to say that Gibraltar is the saviour of La Linea and the Campo. So instead they make out as if their workers, poor things, have to bow their heads and leave their homes daily, to cross a frontier and work in a “foreign country”.

Coming from a country of immigrants

I recall how once upon a time we, all of us, Spanish workers and Gibraltarians alike, considered ourselves to be one big family! This too, coming from a country of immigrants who have had to and still do, travel abroad to find work to put food on the table for their families and live with dignity in their lives. For heavens sake! My sister and I had to get up at unearthly hours of the morning at times in the UK, to catch a tube and then a train which would take us to our required destination of work; and sometimes have to take a bus as well.

Here we are talking about a short journey to the frontier and the same to come to their place of work! The thing here is that the shame they apparently suffer is brought upon them by their own people! It is their own Spanish countrymen in uniform at the frontier; who through their bolshie attitude of inspecting their belongings as if they were thieves, and keeping them waiting for hours before crossing; who make them feel belittled and discriminated upon. But instead all this does is create this myth that their workers are discriminated upon by our good selves and are wretched victims of the Gibraltarian success.