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LA RAZON
La Razon is a conservative daily newspaper based in Madrid with local editions in many other Spanish cities, including Barcelona or Seville.
Photo of a Pride flag
LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Spain’s Transgender Bill, Istanbul Pride Arrests — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • Spain moving on transgender rights
  • The ripples of Roe v. Wade's end on LGBTQ+ youth
  • Hundreds of weddings ahead of Mexico's Pride
  • … and more

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox: Subscribe here.

🇪🇸 Spain Approves New Bill On Transgender Rights

Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a bill on June 27, which — if passed through parliament — will allow anyone over 16 to legally change their name and gender on their identity documents through a system of self-determination. If approved, the draft law would allow the changes without judicial, medical, or psychological limitations, including the use of hormonal treatment. The same bill would require those between 14 and 16 to have parental or guardian consent to change gender, while children between 12 and 14 would require authorization from a judge.

According to La Razón, the legislation emphasizes issues of awareness and training, and would include sexual and gender diversity topics in the educational curriculum, as well as teacher training in this area. The new law will also allow for self-determination by trans migrants on their documents issued in Spain, if they can prove that they would not be able to transition in their country of origin.

🇺🇸 What The End Of Roe v. Wade Means For LGBTQ+ Youth

NYC Pride

Demonstrators at New York City Pride addressed the Roe v. Wade reversal.

Milo Hess/ZUMA


The historic June 24 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade ended the right to abortion that has existed since 1973 — and yes, it is major issue for the LGBTQ+ community, writes Pride media, of the many who are "furious about this decision and afraid of what it means.” It impacts those in the LGBTQ+ community who can get pregnant and their partners (certain cisgender women, transgender men, and non-binary individuals, among others).

Activists have called to donate, protest and vote, as tools to express their discontent and Pride events in the U. S. placed abortion rights front and center. New York City Pride expressed on its website: “This dangerous decision puts millions in harm's way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy.”

LGBT+ media took the decision as a “reminder that in state and local penal codes are the never-repealed laws banning same-sex marriage & sodomy which are now a ticking time bomb”. As reported by LGBTQ Nation, dozens of states still have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage and 15 still have sodomy laws waiting to be revived.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the high court could review other precedents that may be deemed “demonstrably erroneous,” in which case he would defend the defunct sodomy law, struck down by Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, said The Washington Post .

🇳🇴 Norway Gay Club Shooting Aftermath

Pride protesters in Oslo, Norway held a rally Monday and, in doing so, defied police recommendations that Pride celebrations be cancelled after a shooting took place outside a gay club in Oslo on Saturday. According to the BBC, law enforcement had requested the events be postponed because Pride remained a target for violence. Some activists have criticized the police’s response to cancel the event, arguing they shouldn’t cave to the wishes of extremists.

The shooting on Saturday left two people dead and at least 19 more injured. It happened around London Pub, a popular LGBTQ+ venue. According to local news outlet NRK, London Pub has called itself the “gay headquarters since 1979.” Norway is well known for its support of LGBTQ+ rights.

A suspect has been taken into custody, and the attack is being described as “an act of Islamist terrorism” by Norway’s domestic intelligence service. A memorial service was held at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday to honor the victims, with Norway’s prime minister and members of the royal family in attendance.

🇧🇦 Sarajevo Pride Peacefully Celebrates Family

Sarajevo Pride

Sarajevo's third Pride March celebrated "family gatherings".

Tom Barlow-Brown/SOPA Images/ZUMA


Bosnian capital Sarajevo hosted its third Pride March on June 25. This year, the organizers have chosen a special theme: “Family gathering” aimed at bringing families and the LGBTQ+ members together. “Family gatherings are something that belong to all of us, but some of us don’t have a chance to be who we truly are,” declared a member of the Sarajevo Pride organization committee.

Security has been increased in this third edition as the previous LGBTQ+ events held in the country have ended in unrest, due to opposition groups disrupting them.

As Bosnian-language news outlet Detektor notes, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, “LGBT people are not yet legally equal, and a law on same-sex partnerships needs to be enacted, and the issue of transition for trans people needs to be regulated.”

🇷🇺 U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner’s Trial To Begin In Russia

The criminal trial for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is set to begin on today in Russia. The Olympic Gold medalist was arrested at the airport on Feb. 17 for carrying vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo International Airport. She now faces charges for “large-scale transportation of drugs” and risks up to 10 years in prison. Griner’s pretrial detention has been extended three times and she is not set for release until a further 6 months.

Griner came out as lesbian early in her career and is widely recognized as an LGBTQ+ icon. Her wife Cherelle Griner has expressed concern about Griner being held as a “political pawn.”

The U.S. Department of State has established that the basketball player was indeed “wrongfully detained” and has mobilized the help of Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens. California Congressman John Garamendi said her chances for release could be strained by the nonexistent diplomatic relationships between the U.S. and Russia since the invasion of Ukraine, as well as Russia’s harsh “LGBT rules and laws”.

🇬🇭 Ghana Politician Says “Leave Gays Alone”

“Leave gays alone,” says Freddie Blay, chairman of Ghana’s current ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). With the remarks, Blay has defended the country’s LGBTQ+ citizens in the face of a bill labeled as “the worst anti-LGBTQ bill ever,” writes the news site Erasing 76 Crimes, an online resource for anti-LGBTQ+ laws around the world.

Blay’s comments supporting and encouraging LGBTQ+ rights in Ghana come while human rights activists have sued the Ghanaian police and attorney general over the arrests of human rights activists on homosexuality charges last year. Billboards promoting tolerance in the country have also been torn down. Another public figure, popular Ghanaian singer Reggie Rockstone, has spoken out to his fans to treat the LGBTQ+ community with respect.

🇿🇦 Documentary Focuses On South Africa’s “Radical” First Gay Imam

YouTube


Filmmaker Richard Finn Gregory spent four years filming Imam Muhsim Hendricks, a former clothing designer from Cape Town, South Africa, who became the world’s first openly gay imam when he came out in 1996. The resulting documentary, The Radical, is premiering at The Encounters International Documentary Film Festival, held in Cape Town and Johannesburg between June 23 and July 3.

The film explores the difficulties faced by queer South African Muslims as they are exposed to a conservative culture and history. Imam Muhsim is also seen meeting with queer Muslim activists in East African countries, where belonging to the LGBTQ+ community is outlawed. Mushim preaches tolerance and uses a “care-frontational” approach towards those who do not accept him. It is certain that The Radical will encourage dialogue: The film has caused both praise and outrage after its first screenings.

🇩🇪 Germany’s Quest For Nazi-Looted “Legendary” LGBTQ+ Library

A one-of-a-kind LGBTQ+ archive Berlin is still missing the majority of its “legendary collection”. The collection was part of the Institute for Sexual Science, set up by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (the “Einstein of sex”, as German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung calls him) and Li Shiu Tong in 1919. They performed early gender confirmation surgeries, collected data on sexualities, and advocated for equal rights.

In the 1940s, it was looted by the Nazis. The library held thousands of books on same-sex relationships, erotica, and gender. Volunteers have been searching for the archive across the globe. So far, they’ve found 35 items out of the original 10,000 volumes.

Today, the small library attracts researchers, students, and anyone else who is interested in LGBTQ+ history. A few volunteers ensure that it keeps running. The society hopes to merge with Berlin’s lesbian and feminist library and archives to form “an umbrella queer archive with broad research access and communal spaces.” But to do that, they’ll need 10 million euros to reconstruct the building and hire a professional staff.

🇹🇷 Hundreds Arrested At Istanbul’s Pride March

Police force during Pride in Istanbul.

Police forces block people from going to Istiklal Street during Istanbul's Pride March.

Tolga Ildun/ZUMA


On June 26, Istanbul police cracked down on Pride celebrations, with at least 360 people arrested, including an AFP photographer. This was justified by a ban on organizing LGBTQ+ events for “health reasons” "for security reasons' ' and "to prevent crime."

The fact is that Istanbul Pride has been banned since 2014. Regardless of the bans in place, Turkish LGBTQ + activists took the streets in a peaceful march to chant “Discrimination is a crime, the rainbow is not" and “The future is queer. We are here. We are queer. We are not going anywhere”, as reported by Pink News.

According to the organizers of the event, Turkish police released all of the protesters and journalists detained during the march by Monday. Even though homosexuality is legal in the country, according to Pink News, public opinion regarding the LGBTQ + community has become increasingly conservative.

🇳🇱 Fears Of Monkeypox Spread Ahead Of Amsterdam Pride

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has expressed fear that the upcoming Pride events in Amsterdam and other cities may lead to a “more intensive spread” of the monkeypox virus, according to Dutch daily Het Parool. The Netherlands’ most famous Pride event, Amsterdam Pride, will take place from July 30 to August 7.

A spokesperson for Amsterdam Pride sees no reason to take extra measures at this time. He also warns about stigmatization: “The RIVM is talking about men who have sex with men, but the Pride community is much broader than that.” He added that “"You don't go to Pride to exchange contacts with as many people as possible, but to speak out for equal rights and to be who you want."

🇳🇬 Nigerians Defy Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws

People are gathering to celebrate Pride in Nigeria in an act of defiance against laws which have criminalized being gay in the country. A 2014 law introduced punishments of up to 14 years in prison for public displays of same-sex affection, or membership in LGBTQ+ groups.

In recent years, LGBTQ+ community members and activists have been kidnapped, incarcerated, and killed, while their aggressors act with impunity. Despite the dangers of publicly being a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Nigeria, organizing and support groups are surviving by moving online to organize private pride celebrations, including art events and a drag competition in Lagos this year.

🇲🇽 Hundreds Of LGBTQ+ Tie The Knot Before Mexico Pride

Mexico City Pride

Weddings took place ahead of Mexico City Pride.

Carlos A. Moreno/ZUMA


Hundreds of couples part of the LGBTQ+ community married in Mexico City before Pride, Mexico-based, Spanish-language outlet NMás reports. The ceremony, funded by the local government and aimed at providing an affordable marriage had been canceled for two years due to the pandemic. Mexico City legalized LGBTQIA+ marriages in 2010, and 27 out of 32 states have also decriminalized it.

🇱🇰 Lesbian Couple Arrested In Sri Lanka For “Abnormal Relationship”

Two women were arrested by the police in Sri Lanka's city of Akkaraipattu for “abnormal relationship.” The lesbian couple — a 24-year old from India and a 33-year-old woman from Sri Lanka — had revealed their desire to get married to their families, and the father of the Sri Lankan woman lodged a complaint to the Akkaraipattu police.

Their case has then been transferred to a Court, where the women said they would commit suicide if not allowed to leave the country and to go to India. Sri Lanka’s law is restrictive vis-à-vis LGBTQ+ rights and does not recognize same-sex marriages or same-sex civil unions.

🇬🇧 Boris Johnson Doubles Down On Sports Bans With Transphobic Comment

When asked about the world’s governing body on swimming’s recent decision to ban trans women from competing in swimming competitions, Johnson said that he sees “no reason to dissent.” Johnson was also asked on Sunday if somebody can be a woman if she was born with a penis, to which he replied: “Not without being a man.”

Johnson had set “a very clear line” on the issue of trans women in sports, saying that women’s sports leagues should be reserved for people born of the female sex. In addition to sports inclusion, the prime minister also lists the appropriate age of transition and safe spaces for women (implicitly those born of the female sex) as main concerns of his regarding trans rights.

OTHERWISE

• From Lima to Mexico City, hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ Latin Americans took to the streets, united in their struggle against LGBTQ+ related restrictions across Latin America.

• Meet Dr. K. David Harrison, a gay anthropologist and linguist who hopes to use his work to increase “visibility for LGBTQ+ explorers, like 19th-century geographer Alexander von Humboldt and the late astronaut Sally Ride.”

• As Pride month comes to a close, check out these books of poetry by LGBTQ+ authors.

• Discover the works of Leilah Barbirye, the U.S.-based Ugandan queer artist “taking over the art world” with her sculptures.

• Police raided a gay sauna in El Alto, Bolivia. The police's actions — and the following media storm – were violent in more ways than one. Read the full piece in Bolivian-based magazine Muy Waso, translated from Spanish by Worldcrunch.

photo of destroyed buildings
Geopolitics
Ofer Laszewicki*

Syria, The Laboratory For Putin's Brutality In Ukraine

Putin is increasing his attacks on Ukrainian civilians and may be preparing to use chemical weapons. But these horrific tactics are not new — they were perfected by the Russian army during a brutal war in Syria.

As he walked the apocalyptic streets of Kharkiv last week, BBC correspondent Quentin Sommerville cited what he called the "Russian attack playbook." Indeed, the shattered city in northeastern Ukraine evokes the destruction of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

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The scenes are strikingly similar: at the local hospital, aware that they could be the next target, medical workers pile injured children and women into the corridors. The beds by the windows would be deadly in the event of an attack.

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Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin whispering in Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a meeting in Budapest
Russia
Taylin Aroche

Viktor Orbán, Putin's Trojan Horse In Europe

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is trying to keep the EU and NATO happy without upsetting Vladimir Putin. The war in Ukraine has upped the stakes in Hungary, where tense elections are just a few weeks away.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been engaging in political contortionism in recent weeks to keep his country in the sphere of the EU and NATO without provoking Vladimir Putin. Less than a month before the elections in which Orbán and his Fidesz party will try to keep a majority against a unified opposition, the Hungarian leader maintains his camaraderie with Putin in the midst of the war that is ravaging Ukraine.

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Budapest yesterday authorized the parking and passage of the alliance’s forces through its territory but prohibited the transport of lethal weapons and equipment to Ukraine.

In an extensive official statement, Orbán made it clear between the lines that he does not want to be an enemy of Russia and Putin. “We have to look at this conflict not with American, French or German eyes, we have to look at it with Hungarian eyes. And from the Hungarian point-of-view, the most important thing in this conflict is the peace and security of the Hungarians. To do this, we must stay out of the war." In reference to his administration's denial of arms transit, he declared: "Against those who use these weapons, we will be their enemies."

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Where Witch Hunts Are Not A Metaphor — And Women Are Still Getting Killed
Society
Laure Gautherin

Where Witch Hunts Are Not A Metaphor — And Women Are Still Getting Killed

Catalonia has recently pardoned up to 1,000 people, mostly women, who were accused of "witchcraft" as late as the eighteenth century. But as some countries atone for their past, "witch hunts" are still common in other parts of the world.

The Catalan Parliament has recently passed a resolution to apologize for the centuries-long witch hunt that took place in the region over 400 years ago, clearing the name of some 1,000 innocents — mostly women — condemned for witchcraft. Catalonia was one of the most active regions in Europe for witch hunting. Europe’s oldest law against the crime of witchcraft was passed in Lleida, a city in the north-west of Spain, back in 1424. Witch hunts lasted in the region up to the eighteenth century.

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Photo of hands carrying a crystal ball in front of an escalator
Work In Progress
Rozena Crossman

Work → In Progress: The Working World In 2022

Will the Great Resignation of the past year lead to a Great Reskilling the next...?

Like the year before, 2021 was filled with Zoom meetings, travel bans, shaky economics and supply chain disruptions. At the same time, it was a singular year, defined by strikes, international labor shortages and vaccine mandates in many workplaces. As Q4 comes to an end, things are ramping up, and the work challenges of 2022 are becoming very clear.

All over the world, unemployment is high — and so is the lack of available labor. What will see a bigger increase, inflation or salary bumps? Will the Great Resignation lead to a Great Reskilling? What we do know is that white-collar workers are shifting from overtime to flexible schedules, from cogs in the wheel to drivers in the front seat, from struggling independent contractors to employees with full benefits.

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Photo of two girls wearing Catalan and Spanish flags in Barcelona, Spain
Society
Laure Gautherin

A Kindergarten Student Reignites Spain’s Eternal Battle Over Languages

Language is an ultra sensitive subject in Spain , especially in Catalonia, where a schoolboy and his family found themselves at the center of online hate campaign and a constitutional storm.

In Spain, language is politics.

Historical and regional differences and claims of autonomy are often expressed through demands about what language to use. Yet the latest public battle was sparked by a simple request by a kindergarten student in Canet de Mar, in Catalonia, a region that has long fought for the preeminence of the Catalan language. Instead, this time, the five-year-old schoolboy in question (and his family) had asked to have more lessons that are taught in Spanish, which set off many others similar requests for more bilingualism throughout the region around the city of Barcelona.

The debate has unleashed both solidarity and strong opposition directed at the family, reports Spanish daily La Rázon. Catalan, spoken by about nine million people, has been the region’s official language since the Catalan parliament passed a law in 1983. This came after the language had been banned for four decades under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

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Ruins in Belchite
food / travel
Paco Rodríguez

Town Annihilated In Spanish Civil War Now A Paranormal Attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite. A growing number of tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town.

BELCHITE – Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the town of Belchite in northeastern Spain became a strategic objective for the forces of the Republican government, before their assault on the nearby city of Zaragoza. Belchite seemed a simple target, but its capture took longer than expected. More than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting, and the town was decimated, with almost half the town's 3,100 residents dying in the struggle.

The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one. The streets remained deserted. Stray dogs were the only ones to venture into the weed-covered, pockmarked ruins. A sign written on one wall reads, "Old town, historic ruins." Graffitis scrawled on the doors of the Church of San Martín recall better times: "Old town of Belchite, youngsters no longer stroll your streets. The sound of the jotas our parents sang is gone."

Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, must remain exposed.

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Women at a migrant reception center in Lampedusa, Italy
Geopolitics
Alfonso Masoliver

Immigrants Don't Drive Up Crime: Here Are The Facts

Crunch the numbers, or just look around...and we see that immigrants, wherever they may come from, are not a disproportionate cause of crime or cultural degradation across Europe.

Standing outside Hamburg's Arts and Crafts Museum, I observe a little the traffic and bustle of this historic German port, home to two million people. I notice to my right two German women sitting on the grass in the Carl Legien Platz, gaunt but eager as they prepare themselves a syringe full of some drug. To the left, sitting on the museum's steps, is an African man, wearing a pretty checked shirt and white cap. He wipes his face in despair, trying to decipher a manual for a gadget or contraption.

Once they have had their injection, the women recline to enjoy the buzz, until two policemen arrive. They dryly nod at the African and ask the women for their ID. I observed with fascination and must say, no travel journalist should omit to record these little bits of reality. They are as informative to readers as sight-seeing recommendations or dining tips.

Now, where do migrants come from?

The origin story of the current migration situation depends on which historical period you start with. In the first centuries after Christ, most migration in Europe was inside the Roman Empire, with some arrivals from beyond its frontiers. In other words, you wouldn't have found many Chinese shopkeepers in that European Union.

It was habitual then for legionaries — after 25 years of mandatory soldiering — to be given a plot of farming land, but with one condition: They had to move to a zone other than their birthplace. A soldier born in Gaul would likely be given land in Italy or the Iberian peninsula (Hispania). The fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century meant more migration. Germanic hordes moved south and settled where they pleased, while the Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th century opened the peninsula to numerous Arabs, Moors and Jews.

Today, the answer is not as simple. A globalized world provides as many options for entering your chosen country as there are transport facilities. Official figures give us an overview of the migratory panorama. The European Commission's figures for 2019 cited the non-EU nationalities given the most residency permits were from Ukraine, Morocco and India, with Ukrainians far ahead of the rest. But the top nationalities in terms of asylum applications that year were quite different: Syrians, Afghans,Venezuelans, Colombians, Iraqis, Pakistanis — clearly people from failed states or countries at war.

In 2019, illegal entries into Europe were at their lowest number of the previous seven years

These refugees (for that is what they are), are also mostly illegal migrants. The prize in this dismal category goes to the Syrians, who constituted 17.3% of those who entered Europe illegally, though the vast majority were from Islamic states. Yet in 2019, the 125,100 illegal entries into Europe were at the lowest number in seven years, while 491,000 non-EU nationals were thrown out of the EU.

European Commission figures from 2020 indicate that 37 million EU residents, or 8.2% of its population, were born outside the block. Worldwide, the five countries with the most foreign-born residents are Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and the United States, respectively. They are not Sweden, Spain, France or Germany, as you might think, given the rise of nationalist movements there. Only 10% — or about three million — of the world's refugee population is currently in the EU. Most settle in neighboring states like Turkey. In 2020, the EU registered around 93,700 asylum applications, of which some 49,500 were ultimately accepted.

Does immigration affect crime?

Comparing crime rates from 2012 to 2020 in the five countries with the most foreign-born residents (Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Norway and the U.S.), does not necessarily yield a rise in crime rates clearly and proportionately attributable to immigration. Australia's crime rate of 41.36 in 2012 stood at 40.36 in 2020. The United States' crime rate rose from 47.2 to 64.93, but Norway's fell from 35.43 to 19.07.

The four EU countries with the most foreign-born residents are Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In those same years, Germany's crime rate rose from 21.02 to 34.81, France's rose slightly from 44.76 to 46.79, and Italy's fell from 56.67 to 44.26. Spain's rate also fell.

Denmark, the EU country with the strictest migration policy, has much higher rates of drug use.

The U.S. has so many problems — including the 390 million firearms circulating among 330 million Americans — that blaming migrants for criminality is at best, simplistic. Nor can crime be linked to particular groups, like Muslims, or to regions. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had the lowest crime rates in 2020 (and numerous migrants), while the Global Peace Index placed several African states like Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia above France as peaceful nations. The idea that migrants export the violence of their home countries is also, debatable.

If we consider drugs instead to be an important cause of crime in European countries, we should know that Denmark, the EU country with the strictest migration policy, has much higher rates of cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy) and amphetamine use, and related deaths, than Spain and Italy. The Netherlands likewise has disturbing ties to drug trafficking in the EU, and is not among the top 40 countries in the world in terms of immigrants. These considerations might even help explain why I found the German girls taking drugs and the African man engrossed in a manual.

A sign in Madrid that says: Refugees Welcome

A building bearing a "refugees welcome" banner in Madrid, Spain

- MariaTeneva

Does immigration crush cultures?

We're likely all familiar with the idea of immigration as a cultural bulldozer. In Hispania, the romanization process (fueled by the legionaries-turned-farmers), meant the systematic eradication of its Celtic and Iberian cultures. After the empire, the northern barbarians descended to set the Roman villas on fire, the Arabs made southern Spain Islamic practically throughout the Middle Ages, and later, the Bourbons brought us their homeland's French fashions and quirks.

Today, can we say immigration crushes cultures? We could, but as an answer, it would be problematic and raise more questions. Where does the 'destructive' migration come from? Do we need individuals to provoke this destruction?

In 1970 there was no McDonald's in Europe. Today it has 6,000 outlets across the continent. In countries like Sweden and France, we find the chilling rate of 22 and 21 McDonald's restaurants per million inhabitants. Every one of them means people will not be eating in a traditional eatery. I must confess now, I lied. I am not in Hamburg. I was in Hamburg last week. Now I'm in Sundsvall, Sweden, and have been looking for days for a place serving a traditional Sami (reindeer) dish. All I can find, though, are Starbucks-style coffee shops, fast-food joints and Asian street food!

Just as a game, you might stroll through your neighborhood one day with the vision of an inveterate racist, looking for the destroyers of culture. If you live in a city, you will find so many it is frightening: foreign clothes shops, Asian and Italian restaurants, youth busy feeding Chinese data banks on their phones, Instagram photo ops. You'll see all this before you find a mosque or a falafel shop. Meanwhile, nations, even the smallest ones with migrant rates like big cities, firmly hold onto their cultural traits.

Is there even a European lifestyle for which we should be concerned?

Might we say that immigration's biggest harm to our culture is in the arrival of ideas, products and lifestyles alien to our own, rather than the presence of foreigners? Can we see at least that the criminal, homophobic and sexist Muslims are really a tiny part of the bigger numbers and percentages? Can we make sense of the contrast between the blond girls dazed in the park and migrants working like mad to make it their new homes?

Indeed, regardless of the Muslim threat to the European lifestyle, is there even a European lifestyle for which we should be concerned? Has it not been devoured by the "Western" lifestyle?

Perhaps, and I am speculating here, the problem is not outside but in ourselves. While we are in decline, mired in excuses, protests, drink, drugs and digital fantasies, migrants are crossing deserts and oceans, and showing the kind of unstinting, mind-boggling valor we have lost in Europe. It is possible, though I would assert nothing. The figures are suggestive enough.

*This article was translated from Spanish with the permission of the author.