A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘spain

[LINK] “Ceuta, An Enclave For Migrating Birds Not Humans”

The Inter Press Service’s Andrea Pettrachin took a look at the hostile Relationship of the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, surrounded by Morocco, towards migrants from Africa.

A few kilometres before the border between the Spanish enclave of Ceuta and Morocco, a sign informs passers-by that this outpost of Spain on African soil stands in a privileged position for those who wish to observe the annual migration of birds across the Strait of Gibraltar, their shortest route from Africa to Europe.

At the border itself, huge fences have been erected to block the daily attempts of human migrants seeking to escape hunger, despair and often conflict, a phenomenon that the people of Ceuta are less proud to advertise and about which they prefer silence.

That silence was dramatically broken at the beginning of May when a border control X-ray machine detected Abou, an eight-year-old boy from Cote d’Ivoire, inside a suitcase being carried into the Spanish enclave.

That was only the most recent of a number of (more or less ingenious) strategies used by migrants amassed in the Moroccan woods next to the Spanish border to try to enter the so-called ‘Fortress Europe’.

“What strikes the visitor most about Ceuta is its incredible contradictions. The city, with its population of just over 80,000 people living in 18.6 square kilometres and proudly Spanish since 1668, gives the idea of wanting to live as if the migrants and their attempts to reach the enclave do not exist”

Ceuta is one of the main (and few) ‘doors’ leading from northern Africa to the territory of the European Union, and is a ’door’ that has been closed since the end of the 1990s, when the Spanish authorities started to build two six-metre fences topped with barbed wire – complete with watch posts and a road running between them to accommodate police patrols in case of need – that surrounds the whole enclave (as in the other Spanish enclave in Africa of Melilla).

Even if they do not catch the attention of the media as in the case of Abou, every day Ceuta is the scene of young African migrants, almost all aged between 15 and 30, trying to reach Spanish territory in ways that are as, if not more, dangerous than the one chosen by Abou’s father.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO notes the record high temperatures in Toronto this Christmas Eve, while James Bow describes his family’s events.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at remarkably evocative pictures of Ceres.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on how an exoplanet’s rings were mapped.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on the ongoing controversy about the South China Sea’s boundaries.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how some Brazilians suggesting high crime can be best fought be high rates of gun ownership.
  • Stephen Baker at The Numerati reflects on the death, and rebirth, of fascism.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is pleased by the success of the Falcon 9 reusable spacecraft.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog and U>Window on Eurasia both note the refusal of Tatarstan to break with Turkey.
  • Whatever’s John Scalzi talks about how he can rationalize bad science in Star Wars.
  • Window on Eurasia notes Tatarstan’s resistance to abandoning the language of statehood.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper considering rates of water loss in a moist greenhouse world’s atmosphere.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that leftists in Catalonia blocked separatists from forming the government.
  • Far Outliers notes Persian cultural influence in the South Caucasus, among Christian and Muslim cultures alike.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the Catholic cardinal of the Dominican Republic insulted the gay American ambassador in a manner combining homophobia with misogyny.
  • Language Log notes the growing multilingualism of Hong Kong, beyond Chinese languages.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money responds to a feminist criticism of Jessica Jones, and notes it is entirely possible to respond to a feminist criticism without sending death or rape threats.
  • Towleroad notes the publication, by the Russian edition of Maxim, of a list of gay respected by the magazine.
  • Transit Toronto notes that you only need proof of payment to board streetcars by any door.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a move in Russia to undermine that country’s ethnofederalism, to the demerit of minority peoples like the Tatars.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how the old habit of the Enlightenment to organize museums by curiosities does not work if you use artifacts from indigenous peoples in the mix.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO considers if the Union-Pearson Express might work as a rapid transit line.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that Earth-like worlds which rapidly lose most of their water can extend their habitable lifetimes.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog talks about the sociological lessons of party crashers.
  • Geocurrents notes the complexities of Valencian identity and its relationship to Catalonia.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the introduction of a civil unions bill into the Italian parliament.
  • Language Hat links to a contemporary survey of spoken Irish in the Aran Islands.
  • Language Log looks at the Hakka and their distinctive Chinese language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the impacts of structural racism on the lives of people living in unincorporated communities in California.
  • Marginal Revolution notes some young Argentines are throwing wedding parties without an actual married couple.
  • Steve Munro looks at waterfront transit plans.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes a 3-d model of Charon.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog shows the 1897 Russian Imperial census’ data on speakers of the Ukrainian language.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the extension of the Chinese transport net to the Russian Far East, argues Ukrainians are losing interest in Russia, and notes potential Russian border issues with the Baltic States.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • blogTO reports on five of the smallest libraries in Toronto. Two of them are near me.
  • James Bow notes the odd recent Facebook slowdowns.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly notes there is no such thing as a low-skilled job.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes three recently-discovered hot Jupiters.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes geological evidence of ancient atmospheric oxygen in rocks 3.2 billion years ago and reports on the discovery of water ice on Pluto.
  • Geocurrents notes the lack of support for Catalonian separatism in Occitan-speaking Val d’Aran.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the kissing marine couple has married.
  • Language Log celebrated Korea’s Hangul Day yesterday.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes toxic masculinity in team sports.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the role of telerobotics in space exploration.
  • Towleroad notes the definitive arrival of marriage equality in Ireland.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia’s Syria gambit is failing, with implications for tensions among Russia’s Muslims, and notes Crimean Tatar institutions’ issues with the Russian state.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO looks at atypically-named TTC subway stations, the ones named not after streets.
  • Centauri Dreams examines the protoplanetary disk of AU Microscopii.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at China’s nuclear submarine issues.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog examines the intersections between game theory and water shortages.
  • Far Outliers notes the travails of Buddhism in Buryatia and the decline of Russia’s Old Believers.
  • Geocurrents looks at rural-urban–potentially ethnic–divides in Catalonia.
  • Savage Minds examines controversies over tantra in contemporary Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Torontoist notes that the TCHC is only now investing in energy-saving repairs.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests contemporary Syria could have been Ukraine had Yanukovich been stronger, notes Belarusian opposition to a Russian military base, and notes discontent among Russia’s largely Sunni Muslims with the alliance with Iran and Syria.

[LINK] “Catalonia, Scotland and the fluid concept of democracy”

Open Democracy’s Daniel Coyne makes the compelling argument that the ability of the United Kingdom, unlike Spain, to accept the possibility of separatism is a strength.

If we return our focus to Catalonia, where on Sunday the pro-independence parties won a majority of seats in parliament. The exact levels of support for Catalan independence vary according to who you ask, with both sides in the debate naturally exaggerating their own support base. It is beyond doubt, however, that at least a sizeable minority of Catalan voters want full independence from Spain.

The Spanish government has of course secured its own democratic mandate to govern, having been chosen for office by the entire Spanish electorate. It also has its own perfectly sensible reasons for wanting Catalonia to remain part of Spain. Aside from patriotic notions of Spanish unity, it benefits Spain economically to have the relatively wealthy and productive Catalonia as part of the family.

Yet the national government in Madrid isn’t the sole legislative power in Spain, a highly de-centralised country divided into 17 autonomous communities, each with its own legislature.

Catalan elections consistently garner a lot of support for the independence cause. In refusing to allow an independence referendum to be held, the Spanish government chooses to utilise its own mandate as a democratically-elected body to overrule a subordinate yet equally legitimate body. A body that is simply seeking to serve the interests of the people that voted for it.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 3, 2015 at 3:54 am


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