Tue Apr 17th, 2007 at 09:37:20 AM EST
I picked this article from Fran´s Salon because its true part hurts, but I had to send an LTE. It is typical of major press anywhere: It gives no appropriate information, confuses all the issues, helps absolutely no one and changes absolutely nothing. The headline contains at least four push-button, eye-catching words and that was apparently enough for the editors...
Steffen Leidel´s article "Spain gets rich on cheap immigrant labor"
"A small number of people get rich exploiting immigrants who suffer in poverty" would be a reasonable person´s headline. I am glad this is reported about Spain because it is despicable and I want to see more illegal employers convicted, but I dare you to name a country where this headline does NOT apply.
This human tragedy of richer countries exploiting the poorest people for lack of documents, is a very important story and should be written RESPONSIBLY, without the RIDICULOUS CLAIM, the smug finger-pointing and the insinuations.
1. When does Leidel plan to write the article for THIS particular headline? Exactly how does Spain, or any country, get rich from business cheaters? Has anyone noticed the ridiculously sensationalist headline has little to do with the story? Does DW think the outrageous claim is sufficiently supported with three interviews at a crossroads? Do editors at DW read what it puts out, or does DW just assume that its readers are stupid?
Of course, as a "serious medium", DW would have to mention that "Germany got rich on cheap Spanish immigrant labor" in the 50s and 60s, with the same practices...
Business delinquents anywhere should be reported, but that is no excuse to avoid looking in the mirror. This piece does nothing to help the immigrants, nor to stop the abuse and it´s an incomplete, "cheap filler" anyway you look at it.
- Has Leidel really been to El Ejido...? If he had, he couldn´t have skipped mentioning the greenhouses (not "glasshouses") are a sea of plastic created by agri-business, right on the coast, and it has a devastating effect on workers and nature. Or are readers supposed to imagine the scene when he says "no tourist attractions"?
- What are the readers supposed to take away from this article? Pity about the suffering, resentment towards "bad" Spain, or just a good distraction from Germany´s refusal to cooperate on the unavoidable, worldwide phenomenon of migration?
I have a headline for you: G8 PRESS GETS RICH ON CHEAP JOURNALIST LABOR, INUNDATING CITIZENS WITH 24/7 MISINFORMATION WORLDWIDE.
I went through DW´s unfriendly feedback and it said there was "an error", so I had to recopy it in Word to send it in an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org) By that time I was upset enough that the letter grew and I thought more people "deserved" to hear me, so I cc´d half my NGO mailing list and sent a note to the ministry of labor asking for more enforcement on agri-business.
Fortunately, foreign labor is badly needed and more enforcement, under a socialist government, results in more immigrants getting legal contracts and more employers paying taxes. Under the PP, the immigrants were more likely arrested and deported and the illegal employers remained. Just two years ago, the Zapatero government gave documents to 600-800 thousand foreigners who had been working without a contract and that made a major dent into the submerged economy. The PP screeched throughout the process that "it was creating a call-effect, (not that Spain´s geography is obvious) that the country was being given away and that Spain was breaking...".
It would be nice if the EU got its act together to integrate more sources and needs with African countries. Wind and solar seem like no brainers.
Spain has about 4 million immigrants now, IIRC and it is trying to negotiate repatriation agreements with some countries, but it is like pulling teeth because there is no incentive on their part. They have no choices to offer their young people, but their EU incomes are a desirable inflow. Countries like Morocco accept Spanish funds to close the borders, but as I have seen in the Rif, they pour it into the military to harass Subsaharian immigrants coming through.
It is really painful to see, starting at this time of the year, when hundreds of people a week start arriving on the islands and the coast, packed in boats for days, in life-threatening conditions.