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About Spain, Immigration and the Satellite Dish

You canít judge a book by its cover. Canít you -Ė in the same way Ė- judge an experience you have not lived through ?

In Holland, a country I resided until two years ago, there are many satellite dishes. Most of them are owned by foreigners (wrongly labeling this group, but Iíll repeat doing this consistently later on in this article). The dishes are visible in many suburbs and scandalize people, expressing the non-integration issue.

By means of a satellite dish you are able to receive television from your own country. In your own language. Everybody is free to use them.

But, is the main problem language, or (mis-) understanding itself? Do people who do speak the same language always understand themselves?

In Holland, ďweĒ have helped foreign immigrants by translating administration (admission) papers into several (foreign) languages. So they were easy to read.

That is not done in Spain. No help, no translation; if you canít read Spanish youíve got a problem to solve by yourself (although free language programs are open for immigrants).

And the new experience? That is Ė now that I live in Spain, Iím observing again the foreigners who own the majority of the satellite dishes. But this time, Iím part of this group of foreigners.

This experience sheds some new light on integration and immigration issues. Language is indeed the main topic. But while speaking different languages, that doesnít mean that living together is not possible. We are here for some reasons. In the little town nearby there are residents from 118 different nationalities.

Like in Holland, immigration happens for some reason. The satellite dish represents the symbol of misunderstanding. But that has little to do with language itself. I think.

© 2006 Hans Bool

Source: coolimmigration.com