According to this morning’s edition of El Mundo, the ruling party of the Basque regional government in Spain, the National Basque Party, and Eeusko Alkartasuna will use this year’s Basque Day to reiterate their demands for their region to be given national status and to be treated as a state in its own right within the framework of the European Union.
Meanwhile, El Pais publishes today an article about Samuel Huntingdon’s latest controversial piece of writing, The Hispanic Challenge. Last month this Harvard University professor published an article which has enfuriated a large part of the intellectual Hispanic community, and has generated much debate. The article begins like this ” The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages.
Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril“. This opening paragraph is followed by twelve pages warning of the “peril” supposedly posed to the US by the growing Hispanic population and, especially, the Mexican immigrants in the USA.
The well-known Mexican writer, Carlos Fuentes, published an article in El Pais last month entitled “The masked racist” in which he rejected Huntingdon’s claim that the Hispanics living in the USA form closed communities – “Spanish-speaking residents in the US do not form closed or agressive groups.
On the contrary, they adapt as quickly as possible to English and, sometimes, manage to conserve their use of Spanish, thus enriching the multi-ethnic and multicultural character of the USA…. Mexicans have not invaded – their presence is due to the laws of the labour market. There is a supply of Mexican workers in the USA because there is demand for their labour“.
At a time in which World violence is at a peak, perhaps it is time to look beyond divisive questions such as regionalist-nationalist demands or racial conflict, in order to create and promote policies which aim at integrating different theories, beliefs, races and cultures into the political and social process.
Events like the 11S AND 11M suicide terrorist attacks, the invasion of Iraq and the situation there now, with the constant fighting and those harrowing pictures of hostages, the violent policies of Israel’s government against the Palestines, suicide bombers, ethnic violence in Bosnia and Kosovo, the ETA terrorist group activities in Spain…… etc etc, are all examples of what can happen when race and culture become conflictive issues. Modern society should be able to reconcile potentially conflictive differences and to use cultural, ethnic and racial diversity to enrich global culture, rather than to destroy it.