Saturday, March 2, 2024

From Spain’s postwar exodus to Irish coffin ships: Immigration is the key to understanding European culture | Opinion

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In Europe, we are all immigrants, children of immigrants or relatives of immigrants. We all know someone who has had to move to make a living. The current rising far right, supported by opportunistic politicians like France’s Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Rishi Sunak, has no idea that the Faustian Pact will destroy its signatories. As if he were willing to sell his soul to the devil, he points out immigrants as follows: It’s as if we are under some kind of invasion, the root of all the continent’s problems. Without immigration, Europe’s economy would be as stagnant as the United States’. Today, as millions of Europeans have done before, we are desperate to escape poverty, war, and climate change – problems for which the West is undoubtedly responsible. I am witnessing people who are

In the 19th century, ships leaving Ireland for America were called coffin ships due to the dire conditions of their voyage. These coffin ships were small vessels filled with immigrants of the famine conspiracyIn his book about the Potato Famine, historian Tim Pat Coogan describes how in 1847-1848, when people were starving in Irish cities and towns, he compared the situation we see today in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Similarly, it explains how immigration has accelerated. Hundreds of thousands of Irishmen went to sea. Out of a population of 8.5 million, it is estimated that 1 million people starved to death at home and 1 million emigrated.

Coogan focuses on what happened on specific ships, such as the Lord Ashburton, which arrived in Quebec on October 30, 1847. “This overcrowded ship itself would have made navigation a hellish experience,” Coogan wrote. , fever broke out and 107 passengers were buried at sea. Almost half of the survivors were mostly naked, and 87 of them had to put on clothes before being allowed to go ashore. ” It is an image that we see almost every day today. Only the scenery has changed. It is no longer a port on the east coast of North America. They are Lampedusa, El Hierro, and Lesvos.

Irish culture is steeped in memories of that traumatic period.pogues song Thousands of people sailing The ghost of one of the immigrants who died on the coffin ship appears. “Thousands of people are sailing / across the western seas / to a land of opportunity / that some will never see.” One of the most emotional events in the music industry in 2023 will be , was the funeral for The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan, who passed away in November. After communion, singer-songwriters Glen Hansard and Lisa O’Neill performed the next version. new york fairy tale Meanwhile, those who came to pay their last respects stood and danced. Again, this is a song about a New York immigrant whose dreams were shattered.

Like the Irish, the Scandinavians, like the Italians and the Galicians who migrated south through Argentina, transformed their culture, and that of the United States, when they began crossing the Atlantic en masse in the 19th century. At that time, life in my home country was very difficult. Desperation for any semblance of a future has driven immigrants into the hands of ruthless human traffickers. A beautiful and disturbing short story by Leonardo Sciascia. long journey From his vast collection of short stories wine colored seaIn , a group of Sicilians set out by boat to a place called “Burquirin” in “Nuevair,” and after a hellish and horrifying journey that merely circumnavigated their island, they finally departed. It depicts arriving at a location immediately after the point. .

An Irish family stands outside their home in Killarney during the Great Potato Famine.Heritage Images (Getty Images)

1972 film directed by Swedish director Jan Troell immigrants It was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe. Starring Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann, the film tells a universal story that could have taken place in any of the thousands of villages in Europe at the time, and now stretches from Africa to Latin America. It depicts people escaping slavery in many places around the world. and those who, in search of a new life, fall into eternal poverty and must face a possibly fatal journey into the unknown.

Filmin offers a version of the same story in a three-episode series, also titled immigrants. “Are we going to force our children into a life of misery because of fear of the unknown?” the father asked his wife, determined to set out despite the dangers of crossing the Atlantic. Masu. “The ship will sink. The sea is the grave of the infidels,” says the neighbor upon learning of their plan. Currently, the Nordic countries are among the richest and most prosperous places in the world. It is difficult to imagine that these were lands of hunger, despair, and servitude for centuries.

This obsession with immigration as invasion is particularly offensive in Spain. Because immigration is never a distant collective memory. It was our parents, uncles, aunts, and us during the economic crisis of 2008 who headed north in search of a future. Those who left faced prejudice, advanced through the ranks, and changed places significantly, often never missing the country they fled as political or economic refugees.

worth seeing again Bente a alemannia, Pepe!The film begins in the village of Peralejos in Teruel. There, the priest still turns off the television if he deems a program too risqué. Immigrant José Sacristan returns to this village in his Mercedes Benz and it seems that all his dreams have come true. And he persuades his childhood friend Alfredo Landa to return to Munich with him. Aside from the clichés, berets and sideburns, the film remains a portrait of the longings of a remote society controlled by a dictatorship. “If you earn one, peseta You can get 4 here Duros There? ” Landa asks the Sacristan. “There’s nothing but Fanta and sunflower seeds here,” another character says of Spain mired in Franco’s dingy post-war years.

National Monument to the Potato Famine, Clew Bay, Mulliske, County Mayo, Ireland.Holger Royer (Getty Images)

Depending on reality, the dream of living in Germany becomes a life as a third-class citizen with a second-class job. They live in a pension with exiled Republican Antonio Ferrandis, who still talks about the Republican defeat at the Battle of Brunete: “If we had won, you would be here.” “I wouldn’t have been there,” he points out. When his Spanish friends return home for Christmas, Ferrandis says: Everyone died. Even my enemies. When I walk into a casino, no one knows me. I would be as much a foreigner as I am here. ”

It’s a sentiment shared by many immigrants. “We no longer belong anywhere.” Leaving a country and becoming a foreigner is almost always a difficult experience, even when things are going well. To attack immigration and make it a central issue in Europe is to deny who we are and one of the most important aspects of our history.

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