Is anyone listening?

Carmen Gomez

There will be times when you may have wondered if anyone out there is listening; if anyone is taking things in; because even when in the company of others, this appears not to be the case. How many times have you found yourself in someone’s company, say having coffee, and when you are about to respond to the question “so tell me, how have you been?” someone else approaches the table and addresses the person sat opposite you. 

A conversation then ensues which has nothing to do with you; but out of politeness and not knowing what else to do, you smile and nod your head accordingly at intervals. After, when that person has left and before you get a chance to answer the question asked of you, your friend has gone off on a tandem, leaving you somewhat nonplussed and wondering whether he or she was really at all interested in the first place, in how you felt.


If you think about it, how many times when talking to family or friends, you will have given them some information about a forthcoming event during your conversation, or even told them about something you plan to do.

Isn’t it the case that later on when you remind them of this, they tend to turn round and say “What? You never told me that;” Or “I don’t remember you telling me that.” It’s as if people are not really listening to what you’re saying half of the time; as if they have no interest in other’s comings and goings, because they are too preoccupied with matters that affect them solely. I find this curious because it appears to be a sign of the times. In general, people are so in tuned into social media and face book that ordinary conversations don’t seem to carry much relevance to them.

Then again I have heard it said by some, that they don’t read the papers and that they don’t bother with the TV news. So unless they happen to read some comment on twitter, or some other popular account or website, they are none the wiser. I find this difficult to digest being something of a news buff, because if you are not aware of what’s happening in the world around you, how can you form an opinion on things? It is my belief that politicians are sometimes so bogged down by their complicated portfolios, or in trying to hold on to their positions, that listening becomes difficult to them. Without the ability to listen effectively, not only can messages be easily misunderstood, but a people’s aspirations can be lost.


Think about it. If no one had been listening to our voices in the past; voices that have spoken of our struggles and strife, where would we have found ourselves by now? Certainly not in the enviable position that Gibraltar holds today.

We have come a long way, but we still have such a long way to go it appears, before we can realize our goals; those being our right to self determination and representation in The House of Commons. Two critical issues which are of the utmost importance to Gibraltar; which need to be heard loud and clear and repeated as often as possible; particularly at this present time. We need to make sure that we are being listened to. We need some sort of feedback which is not forthcoming; to be more insistent and keep the fight alive, even to the point of becoming someone’s headache. We need to make sure that someone is listening, and so far we have yet to receive some positive reaction to indicate that they are.

The matter of a desired seat in the House of Commons, having being instigated by our request for representation in Westminster, is going nowhere at present. And it’s not because thousands of signatures have not been collected in the past asking for this.


It’s not because petitions have not been handed in to either Convent place; or to the Governor; or to 10 Downing Street, in person! The GSLP/Manifesto stated that it is important to investigate fully the options available. How long is this going to take? It sounds much like monitoring a situation with no end in sight. In the general bigger picture, is this to be sacrificed on account of Brexit? I would have thought it could, or should go hand in hand with Brexit. Why not? In as far as the UK Government is concerned, this to me is what translates into looking after Gibraltar’s best interests! It’s obvious that in some areas, we are not being listened to; something which could easily equate into being sidelined.


On the burning issue of self determination, it’s no longer a case of the United Nations being bound by its own rules, or indeed by International law to engage with us. On the issue of representation, we seem to be hitting our heads against a stone wall over the years where none of the bricks have showed signs of loosening their grip.

I understand perfectly well, as we all do, that the Government has restated that the International legal status of Gibraltar is not a matter of argument, but a matter of fact. But who is listening? The latest I heard was that the European Council had described Gibraltar as a “colony of the British Crown.” Not be heard is bad news; not to be listened to is bad news; but not be heard or listened to, is unforgiveable!