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Why sign the petition against more golf courses

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Offline Jill

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« on: August 31, 2007, 21:43 PM »
I have split this post away from the main topic as I think some interesting and important points have been raised that need to be dealt with separately. I also renamed  the topic. Jill, you can change it if you liike by hitting the edit button on this post.

Clive (wildside)



Some thoughts regarding your petition:

1.)I came upon it almost by mistake... (implications too obvious to state)

2.)I mentioned it to my husband, who has no interest in golf and who is very environment-conscious. (He's the one who takes the glass to the bin / unplugs the chargers when they're not in use / cycles 7 miles to the Correos - 7 there and 7 back - rather than use the car.) He said, "I can't see anything wrong in having golf courses."
I explained about the water use. (Are you SURE they each use 2 million litres a day... or did I get that wrong? He reckons that's equal to the amount used daily by one fifth of the population of Spain.) And anyway, says he, "They get all their water from desalination plants."
I bet him that they b----y well didn't, and he said "Well, isn't it better to grow grass and palm trees than to have nothing at all growing there?"
By this stage we were practically shouting at each other!...so I gave up.

2a) I then had a similar, but very much calmer conversation with a Spanish friend. He, too, is very environmentally minded. He thinks that the people who build golf resorts are "piratas" and the English who buy the houses are "locos". To paraphrase: "What sort of a fool buys a house in the middle of a desert?"
HOWEVER he couldn't see anything wrong with golf courses from an environmental point of view. "Water? There's plenty of water. It comes from the reservoirs near Madrid."
(As a side issue, this chap has a very high opinion of the Andalucian government and a very low one of the Murcian. He tells me that the Andalucian govt. requires developers to purchase 4 times the amount of land that they want and preserve the extra 75% untouched. Comments, please.)

Implication of 2 and 2a is that more education is needed before people will sign up.

3.)More serious, I think: I told this same friend about the forum. He was amazed at the idea of an Englishman starting up a website exploring and explaining Spanish wildlife - but I think he was also impressed as well as amazed. Likewise, he was intrigued and amused by the idea of us all chatting about the flora and fauna in English and trying to identify it for each other - but he liked the idea of Roxanne being able to get her findings identified. However, when I mentioned the fact that this bunch of eccentric English people had started a petition to stop the construction of golf courses he was both astounded and outraged. Only mildly outraged - but then he's a very mild-mannered person. He didn't say ANYTHING - he just instantly changed the subject - but his face clearly said, "What business is it of theirs!!!"
(Well... how would we feel if the Polish or the Chinese or the Muslim community started a petition to close fish and chip shops due to the unsustainability of commercial fishing?)

Implication here - to me, at any rate - is that if the petition is to have any meaningful effect it probably needs to be a joint English-Spanish thing, with Spanish environmentalists involved in a very upfront way / promoting it. Is there a Spanish language equivalent to this forum?

Jill

Offline lisa

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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2007, 08:51 AM »
www.picos-accommodation.co.uk
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Offline glennie

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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 09:44 AM »
Implication here - to me, at any rate - is that if the petition is to have any meaningful effect it probably needs to be a joint English-Spanish thing, with Spanish environmentalists involved in a very upfront way / promoting it. Is there a Spanish language equivalent to this forum?
Jill

I couldn't agree more Jill. As long as there are functioning Spanish alternatives to support, then I think the fewer apparently purely 'Brit' petitions the better.

Spaniards, like the Brits, can be mighty proud about these things.


Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 09:48 AM »
Hi
Took a long time getting around to ti, but have finally signed this petition.  Will spread the word amongst our friends in Tortosa.
Tony

Offline Clive

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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2007, 16:01 PM »
I have split Jills post away from the main driving over golf courses topic because she poses some interesting questions but quite frankly some mind boggling inaccuracies which to me reinforces my belief that there is an absolute need for an English language resource for environmental subjects in Iberia.

I don’t normally make long posts but this time I am going to make an exception and answer Jills points one by one. I would point out that these are my opinions but they are opinions based on available factual data and “in your face” proof of the situation right now.

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Point 1
1.)I came upon it almost by mistake... (implications too obvious to state)

That fact that you came across the petition means that you have found and read information on the Iberianature forum and the implications of this “speak for themselves” but also you have engaged in conversations with family and friends both English and Spanish which means that this forum has been and still is crossing language and culture boundaries.

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2.)I mentioned it to my husband, who has no interest in golf and who is very environment-conscious. (He's the one who takes the glass to the bin / unplugs the chargers when they're not in use / cycles 7 miles to the Correos - 7 there and 7 back - rather than use the car.) He said, "I can't see anything wrong in having golf courses."
I explained about the water use. (Are you SURE they each use 2 million litres a day... or did I get that wrong? He reckons that's equal to the amount used daily by one fifth of the population of Spain.) And anyway, says he, "They get all their water from desalination plants."
I bet him that they b----y well didn't, and he said "Well, isn't it better to grow grass and palm trees than to have nothing at all growing there?"
By this stage we were practically shouting at each other!...so I gave up.

To my mind the above comments mean that even those of us who are environmentally aware don’t know it all and education has no limits.

The population of Spain is over 44 million (44.708.964) but lets keep it simple for mathematics sake at 44 million. The “average” consumption of water per person per day is 171 litres (2004 last official census). Please remember that those of us who respect water as a gift are outweighed by the millions of people who turn on the tap out of ignorance and disregard so we, (us) are tarred with the same brush when it comes to average figures and statistics. 44 million times 171 equal 7.524.000000 litres.(seven and a half billion litres per day). One fifth of this is 1.504.800.000 (One and a half billion litres per day)....

Re desalination plants and golf please take a look at http://www.worldandi.com/subscribers/feature_detail.asp?num=24981 especially from about the 14th paragraph.

Grass and Palm trees and there is nothing there? The whole point is that there was (is) “something there” before the palm trees were dug up in North Africa (another subject entirely). You don’t really believe that all of those big palm trees are grown from seed in Spanish garden centers do you?) Palm trees transplanted into urbanizations, golf courses and seaside promenades. When the bulldozers come in they remove the existing ecosystem that has evolved over millenia and replace it with something that should not be there. Something that then takes huge resources in order to maintain and sustain it.

The whole point is that there is no such thing as a “golf course” A golf course is a development that almost always includes at least 500 houses and two 4 star hotels plus various shops and extras. I know of two golf courses that are being built in areas where there is already insufficient water for the existing population.
       
Quote
2a) I then had a similar, but very much calmer conversation with a Spanish friend. He, too, is very environmentally minded. He thinks that the people who build golf resorts are "piratas" and the English who buy the houses are "locos". To paraphrase: "What sort of a fool buys a house in the middle of a desert?"
HOWEVER he couldn't see anything wrong with golf courses from an environmental point of view. "Water? There's plenty of water. It comes from the reservoirs near Madrid."
(As a side issue, this chap has a very high opinion of the Andalucian government and a very low one of the Murcian. He tells me that the Andalucian govt. requires developers to purchase 4 times the amount of land that they want and preserve the extra 75% untouched. Comments, please.)

Just the one sentence from the mouth of this guy makes me disregard anything he has to say. “All the water comes from “the reservoirs near Madrid”. This person A. needs a Spanish geography lesson and B. should go look at the Spanish water board web site to find out exactly where the reservoirs are. His comment about purchase and use of land also is so ignorant it defies belief. When exactly was the last time he travelled the Costa del Sol (where most of the golf courses are) to see the 75 percent of land set aside for "protection". If he also opened his eyes he would see that people are not buying houses in “deserts” and that the “Piratas” in general are large Spanish companies. This person needs to register with the forums that Lisa has posted links to and make the same comments. I can pretty much guarantee the replies he will get and it won’t sound much different from what I have said.


Quote
3.)More serious, I think: I told this same friend about the forum. He was amazed at the idea of an Englishman starting up a website exploring and explaining Spanish wildlife - but I think he was also impressed as well as amazed. Likewise, he was intrigued and amused by the idea of us all chatting about the flora and fauna in English and trying to identify it for each other - but he liked the idea of Roxanne being able to get her findings identified. However, when I mentioned the fact that this bunch of eccentric English people had started a petition to stop the construction of golf courses he was both astounded and outraged. Only mildly outraged - but then he's a very mild-mannered person. He didn't say ANYTHING - he just instantly changed the subject - but his face clearly said, "What business is it of theirs!!!"
(Well... how would we feel if the Polish or the Chinese or the Muslim community started a petition to close fish and chip shops due to the unsustainability of commercial fishing?)

Because of his irrelevant comments in point 2, anything he says further I could also disregard but feel I ought to at least make a comment.

I live in this world and I am a citizen of Europe. The well being of this country’s environment is just as much my business as it is anyone else’s. It is time for people like him to get real and face this fact. Where exactly does he think the vast amounts of money ( billions) has come from over the last twenty years for roads and infrastructure and yes, even environmental protection... This person’s amazement only shows even more his ignorance. And to be intrigued and amused about a few “eccentric English” people discussing subjects about the environment of Spain is fairly insulting especially as this person has stood by and watched the mar menor become what it is today...

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Implication here - to me, at any rate - is that if the petition is to have any meaningful effect it probably needs to be a joint English-Spanish thing, with Spanish environmentalists involved in a very upfront way / promoting it. Is there a Spanish language equivalent to this forum?

There are many Spanish language forums discussing environmental issues in Spain, Europe and the world. One does not have to search hard to find them. As far as I am aware there is only one English language forum that actually contains factual information and discussions about the environment of Iberia. I am not “eccentric” nor an “expat”. If you care to look at the few signatures on the petition against more golf courses you will see Spanish signatures alongside English ones. This forum Is a place where English speaking people can find out information about subjects they care about. It is a valuable resource and educative tool.

If you look at Lisa’s petition against the San Glorio macro project you will see signatures from people around the world. Yes they have every right to express their views no matter what creed or country they come from.

And to close, the type of construction and development is really irrelevant. Take away the words “golf course” and replace them with “marina” or “ski station” and you have exactly the same issues.

Clive
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 18:58 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Dave

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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2007, 16:58 PM »
hi everybody
Joining the fray at last, a very interesting piece from the Guardian, refers to America, but applies to any gold course
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ben_adler/2007/06/the_case_against_golf.html.
I am now signing the petition
Regards
Dave

Offline lucy

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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2007, 17:34 PM »
Me too.  Thanks for posting the link to the Guardian, Dave.  I enjoyed reading the comments, especially those from the warrior-like "zapato".

Offline Clive

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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2007, 19:20 PM »
Where is that "Zapato" from? my goodness he has the words doesn't he...

I liked..

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Where's the catch? I will tell you where. The process has been happening everywhere but remarkably, in Andalucia, when these golf courses had to be abandoned due to the obvious inviability, they were immediately reclassified as urbanisable land, and more houses were built there.

And this is exactly the same strategy happening, at least in the Valencian Country and Murcia: golf courses, because they're inherent inviability, -there's no water here, remember, are just the trojan horse by which huge stakes of land are parked to feed the speculative construction industry in the near future
.

Clive
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Simon

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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2007, 21:09 PM »
Hello Jill,

Like er, we should have kept out of Apartheit, slavery, neo-imperialist wars (to numerous to mention), G8 summits, etc. just 'coz someone said,"Not in my back yard, Dude!"

Simon

Offline lisa

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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2007, 10:55 AM »
Yes, interesting lonk Dave though I found the article unnecessarily antagonistic and self-defeating. To denigrate the sport of golf and insult its players is not helpful when what is needed is education of the impacts of golf course construction over-kill in this country, and other parts of the world, where there are the least natural resources with which to sustain it.
I think it would be helpful for those of you living in Andalucia, Murcia, Valencia etc. to point out what is actually lost, natural history-wise, in these provinces after golf courses and their attendant urbanisations have been built. I'm sure a lot of people see these parts of Spain as arid regions that only gain from having greens and fairways stuck on them.
As to the petition, we made a big effort to have it in Spanish aswell as English and I'm sure if the same effort is put in to spreading awareness of it around, it too will amass signatures from all over the world.
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Offline Jill

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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 14:15 PM »
I can't get this epistle to post as one posting - have been trying since last night - so will try to send it as 4. (Please be patient; this is a wind up internet connection that I'm trying to use.)

No.1

Hey Clive

I can see the steam coming out of your ears, even from over here!

I'm glad you answered, and covered all those points - you have definitely filled in a lot of blanks in my knowledge - but I think that you actually missed what I was saying. Probably my fault, but i'll have another go.

Point 1. I came upon it almost by mistake. Perhaps the implication wasn't obvious after all. I simply meant that I ought not to have just stumbled upon it; the golf petition (as opposed to the discussion) ought possibly to be a bit more prominent. The new subject heading is prominent enough, but when you get in there you find two or three posts, and the only one mentioning the word petition is in Spanish. I couldn't face reading the whole thing in Spanish, so I waded through all five pages of Driving over Golf Courses and found the link, towards the end, after seeing how the petiton had evolved. I've only recently discovered that you can actually get straight to the petition - almost - from Lisa's thread, No more Golf Courses. I realise that I'm very stupid - my kids regularly point this out to me - but so are lots of other people... so.... I am merely suggesting that it might be an idea to label Lisa's post  ANTI-GOLF COURSE PETITION and put it, and the Spanish one, at the top of the category.

Point 2. Your reaction to Nick's opinion of golf resort developments is exactly the same as mine was. THAT'S MY POINT!!! I'm afraid that the maths washes straight over me - maths is an impenetrable jungle, so far as I'm concerned - so I didn't pick him up on that (in fact, there's every chance that I gave him the wrong figures to start with), but I did say exactly what you've just said about the indigenous fauna (and I said it just as loudly as you've said it, which DIDN'T help, of course. He said... well, I won't tell you what he said in answer. I daren't. It wasn't remotely rude; just so anti-environment, in its implications, that it would raise you blood pressure to boiling point.
(You will be pleased to learn that the kids were on my side in this feud discussion. Maybe that's why the skipper fought so desperately! Cornered by all four of us! I expect that after he has brooded for a bit he will probably come to his senses and sign up.)
Anyhow, what I was trying to say is that even people who are pro the environment don't know enough about what is at stake here. That is why I feel that MORE EDUCATION is needed.

Combining points 1 and 2, I think that it would be a good idea if you were to excerpt Technopat's excellent summary of the arguments against golf courses and put them on Lisa's petition posting. I had the time to read through those 5 pages but not every would-be signee will have the time. I'm not much at debating and I would feel happier when explaining the petition to people if I could say, "Why don't you just visit the Iberia Nature Forum and see what they have to say on the subject. Just scroll down the index until you find a subject called Have You Signed The No More Golf Courses Petition. Click on that, and then click on (fill in this blank) and you'll find everything that you need to know about this subject set out for you."
I realise that a forum is principally a place for discussion, but couldn't we broaden the scope just this once and provide THE FACTS, as set out by TP, in a locked-subject box?

Offline Jill

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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2007, 14:17 PM »
No.2
2a I don't understand your antagonism against the Spanish fella. Again, it's a simple matter of education or the lack thereof. If he thinks that there's oodles of water in the reservoirs and believes in a fairy kingdom in Andalucia then he needs educating, not shunning.
   Obviously, there are Spanish people who know all about the environment - some of them are working to protect and restore the environment - and, yes, I'd noticed that there were plenty of Spanish names on the petition, but I think you will find that the vast majority know nothing about the state that the environment is getting into. (If they did, they surely wouldn't chuck their rubbish in the Mar Menor, and keep their motors running for 25 minutes while the canal bridge is open, and keep their houses and shops colder than an eskimo's pantry.)
   I find it really, really hard to counter people who use the kind of argument that Juan used - partly because I don't know the facts well enough, but also because I don't want to bad mouth his country or his government or his anything. Doing that doesn't help. On the contrary; it's antagonistic. When a foreigner criticises Britain any Brits within earshot rise up to defend their Pearl Of The Ocean - and the same thing happens everywhere else in the world. (For foreigner read holiday visitor or resident of forty years - it makes no odds; once you've opened your mouth to criticise then you're "just a foreigner".) Both Dave and Lucy have mentioned situations when they got their fingers burnt in situations of exactly this kind ( on A Question of Language).

   Ex-pat is merely a definition, not an insult. Pretty much everybody using this forum is an expatriate - ie. a person who lives outside their native country. (origin: L. expatriare = to go out from one's native country.) For me it doesn't carry any implication except - obviously - foreign-ness. Immigrant carries many conotations, for me, starting with Zimmo's "Pity the poor immigrant...". If you were born elsewhere and have settled here, abandoning any other nationality, then it's equally valid, but ex-pat covers all those of us who are active on this forum.
   As for eccentric - personally, I've always prided myself on being extremely eccentric (= unconventional person with strange views, according to the dictionary.) I certainly wouldn't wish anyone to think that I share the same views as the crowd, and they can see that I don't act like them. If you don't like the label, I apologise, but you surely realise anyway that it was only a quip.
   In any event, the point is not what we are but how we are perceived and how that impacts on our credibility with the local populace.

 - "Just the one sentence from the mouth of this guy makes me disregard anything he has to say."
 - "Because of his irrelevant comments in point 2, anything he says further I could also disregard"
Clive, I really don't think that this is a helpful attitude, or one which will help us to save the planet. We simply can't afford to say, "Sod him!". He's one of millions who are in the dark. We can't afford to write them off; we need them to be trying to save the environment too. I'm sure Juan knows that the "piratas" are mostly Spanish. Clearly, he isn't pro golf courses or he wouldn't have said what he said. The point is that although he doesn't like these developments and resents the fact that they eat up nature reserves and other unspoilt land he still doesn't understand that golf resorts don't just eat up his scenery; they also drink up his water.   

Offline Jill

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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2007, 14:21 PM »
- "The well being of this country’s environment is just as much my business as it is anyone else’s. It is time for people like him to get real and face this fact."
It would be nice if this happened - but if it hasn't happened yet then we need to work in ways which don't antagonise.

   Bearing in mind his attitude (as it seemed to me), and bearing in mind that other Spaniards may also be reluctant to support a foreign venture directed against their government - (an opinion which Glennie, for one, seems to share) - I still feel that the petition would have the best chance of being taken seriously, both by potential supporters and by the people at whom it is aimed, if it were a joint Anglo-Hispanic affair. (SueMac also seems to hint at this: "The importance of the game of golf to this country's  (my chosen place to live) world status (honour, pride  economy etc) must be highlighted and treated with extreme care. However any encouraging of a change of direction must bring the indigenous people along as well. So I think TPs spanish emphasis at least goes part way to addressing this.") The English vibe is just as important as the Spanish one, not because some of us live here or because we all share the same planet - those things won't touch the hearts of the would-be investors or of the politicians - but because it's English money that the promoters et al are hoping to attract. I'm not belittling the attempt to attract English language signees - far from it - but I believe that gathering both English and Spanish supporters in a unified manner is vital.
   When I asked whether there were Spanish language nature forums I was wondering whether some sort of link up might be a good idea / possible? I was thinking principally of whether it mightn't be a good idea to make the petition a joint venture. (But extending the idea further, it's possible that they might also have members who can identify weird algae growing on sea-grass, and such like... Just a thought, but maybe it's not workable. I see that this is also an idea which has occurred to others eg. Simon.)

   Your comment, "they have every right to express their views no matter what creed or country they come from" is perfectly true, Clive, but the opinion of people not resident in either Britain or Spain may not carry much weight with the folks who are going to be presented with this petition. (Please note that whether it should or shouldn't carry weight is not the issue here.) Maybe I'm wrong; maybe they just tally up the signatures and say, "10,000 people against golf resorts! Gosh, we'd better pass a law banning them." That would be nice - but I am under the impression that when they aren't just dumped straight in the bin petitions are nowadays scrutinised quite closely, and I would have thought that a "vote" from an outsider might be discounted. PLEASE DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU SIGNING, anybody "out there", or "over there", 'cos I could be completely mistaken.

Offline Jill

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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2007, 14:24 PM »
No. 4 (I hadn't realised it was so b-----y long...!)

"This forum is a place where English speaking people can find out information about subjects they care about. It is a valuable resource and educative tool." I couldn't agree more, and I don't think that anybody is disputing these facts. I think that you may perhaps be being a little over-sensitive about your baby. Okay, so Juan was amazed to hear that there is an English language nature forum. I guess I'd be more than a little surpised if I found that there was a Polish or Chinese language forum discussing English hedgerows, hedgehogs and badgers! As I said, he also seemed to be impressed. T-Pat says (elsewhere): "I really think that the very fact of a bunch of foreigners bothering to sit down regularly and expressing, and sharing, what they experience here, whether it be related to the landscape, wildlife or gastronomy, etc., is in itself an expression of respect for the country." I think that mi amigo would go along with that. The only thing that he didn't seem to like was the idea of British people running a petition to lobby his government. I seemed to sense a MYOB attitude. A non-vocal mild version of what Dave and Lucy experienced (q.v.)
   By the way, this chap lives in a village where more than 50% of the residents are foreigners, most of whom can't even be bothered to learn how to say Buenos Dias, so it could be that he has reason to be a bit biased against us... They're the sort of people whom Simon describes, who shop in a British Supermarket, read the Daily Mail, deride the local council (in English) for not providing mail delivery to their apartments, eat fish and chips in preference to tortilla and tapas, and regard the Semana Santa processions with "been-there;done-that" scorn.
   For what it's worth, Juan is very anti the construction of the Mar Mayor marina - but he's naive enough to believe that the order to dismantle the illegal construction will actually be carried out. If I had to reduce what I've blathered on about in these last two posts to just one sentence it would be: - Here's a guy whose heart is in the right place, but who is over-optimistic about his government's ability to counter criminal greed, uneducated in the matter of the amount of water available in this country, and tired of being surrounded by people whom he perceives as busy-body foreigners; I'm pretty sure he'd sign on the line IF ONLY the petition had some up-front Spanish involvment. (Okay; I cheated: two sentences really.)

AND, I, for one, haven't given up on him; i'll get him to sign up yet! However, I think I'll give up trying to debate, as I don't seem to be able to do it without getting Clive's back up! In future I'll stick to trying to understand jellyfish and identify birds!

Jill
The eccentric ex-pat

P.S. Excellent link to worldandi.com (I'll leave it open so that anybody happening to want to use the machine later on can also read it...)

P.P.S. I was just about to try to post this (at about 11pm last night) when I saw Simon's post.
"Like er, we should have kept out of Apartheit, slavery, neo-imperialist wars (to numerous to mention), G8 summits, etc. just 'coz someone said,"Not in my back yard, Dude!""
Simon I think you, too, have completely misunderstood what I said - or perhaps you just haven't even read it!. It certainly doesn't appear to relate to anything that I said. It's just insulting and irrelavent. I'm getting quite angry about it now, so i'll just say that and sign off for the night!

Offline lucy

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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2007, 23:30 PM »
Hi Jill, your friend’s village reminded me of something I read in Giles Tremlett’s “Ghosts of Spain”. He talks about expats in the chapter “How the bikini saved Spain”, criticising the foreigners living here who don’t really care where they live, as long as the sun keeps shining, and they have their villas, friends, and a golf course.  Then he describes the town of Teulada, near Benidorm, where the Brits form about half the electorate, and are using their power to control the Town Hall.  The result?  The wild urbanisation has been stopped and Tremlett admits it was the most pleasant place by far that he visited in the area.  Is it an effrontery that these people, who mainly don’t speak Spanish, have taken over a Spanish town?  The locals are incredibly tolerant: the anti-immigrant party didn’t win a single seat.

I wonder what your friend would make of that?  I can guess he wouldn’t like the idea, but on the other hand he might approve of the result – though he might not admit it! I thoroughly agree with you about being tactful when you’re an immigrant, although sometimes you don’t feel like being so. 

Offline Jill

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« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2007, 20:39 PM »
That's a very interesting story, Lucy. I don't know that village.

Juan doesn't mind foreigners per se; indeed, he deliberately befriended us. What he hates (in such a mild mannered sort of a way that a thick-skinned neighbour could easily over-look it) is English people who've been living here for years but who don't even try to learn the lingo. He's aware that it isn't easy and he's very tolerant of my own pathetic efforts. As my kids will tell you, I'm frequently completely incoherent in English, muddling words all the time as I speak, so it's no surprise that I'm even worse in Spanish. My classic goof was to say, "Mira las gaviotas zapatas amarillas - I mean, patatas amarillas." The kids almost fell over, they were laughing so hard, but Juan didn't bat an eyelid.

Foreign involvement at the town hall... I don't know how he'd go for that... If they saved the scenery AND spoke Spanish he'd probably get to like the idea, eventually!

Jill

Simon

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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2007, 20:50 PM »
Hello Jill and everyone else,

I’ve been re-reading your post and reading your later responses over the past two days. I am really very sorry that what I wrote in my post made you angry. I am not sorry about saying it, however, as I had a very serious point to make which I will outline below. As for the tone; it seemed appropriate to underline what Clive talked about in a ‘headline grabbing’ way as the very important issue of free speech seemed to be rather lost among all of Clive’s other issues – which I completely agree with.

I’ve no doubt your friend Juan is a nice guy, you would hardly be cultivating a friendship with him otherwise, but I think there are two very different ways to interpret what he was saying. To make my argument I’m being very simplistic so apologies in advance for crudeness.
Point by point:
1. There’s loads of water in Madrid that can be used to irrigate gold courses.
2. Laws requiring land to be set aside are enforced.
3. The adjacent autonomous region, Andalusia, gets things right whereas your own Murcia gets things wrong.
4. None of this is the business of foreigners, whether resident or not.
First interpretation,:
1. Juan believes in urban myths and received wisdom by people who really don’t know what they’re talking about.
2. Juan believes everything he is told in press handouts by public relations firms and politicians.
3. Juan believes that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
4. Juan believes that all foreigners are dumb guiris.
Second interpreatation:
1. Juan believes in the PNH (Plan Nacional Hidrologica), the totally discredited, and now thankfully defunct, idea that all Spain’s problems could be resolved by bussing water from the northern river systems, especially the Ebro, to the southern regions. This idea was pursued mindlessly by ex-president Aznar, along with other such noble ventures as allowing the Presige to sink off the coast of Galicia, invading Iraq, that ETA was and is responsible for the Madrid bombings . . .
2. Juan believes in the indisputable rule of authority and that the organs of the state are inviolable.
3. Juan believes in the divide-and-rule policies regarding the autonomous regions that have been seamlessly followed by the extreme right wing at least since the Primio de Rivera dictatorship (1923-30) and off and on since the reconquista (although it’s not really possible to describe politics as being left or right wing before the turn of the twentieth century).
4. Juan believes that no-one has a right to criticize any of the above convictions.

As in so many other things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. But it is my belief that suppression of freedom to hold and broadcast opinion is on the same continuum as the sting of tear gas and the heel of the jackboot. Until this very last point emerged I’d be quite happy to accept Juan’s opinions and ideas as just that; his own to hold whether I agree with them or not, including if they are politically motivated by a doctrine to which I happen not to subscribe. But when you described the strength with which he expressed his “outrage” at our opinions being expressed I saw red lights. As far as I am aware all of us who have been involved in the petition have tried to ensure that the whole debate is as open as possible and that every point of view is not only given space but respected, and this includes the raising of people’s bile. I’m not surprised in the least that we/you should have encountered such views. In fact what is surprising is that we’ve gone so far down the line without encountering more. If ever I get an article in print on the subject I’ll probably suffer much venom and spittle (it won’t be the first time!) but that’s the price you pay. But there are some immutable moral truths in this world and freedom of opinion is on of them. That’s why I felt so strongly on Saturday as indeed I still do.

With regards and respect

Simon

Offline Jill

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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2007, 09:39 AM »
I wish I'd never started this conversation. So far it has achieved only one of it's aims (the petition link has now been labelled, so that people can find it more easily). The point about trying to find ways to educate well-meaning but uninformed people has sunk without trace, and the suggestion of upfront involvement with an equivalent, Spanish language nature forum has been buried beneath an argument about whether somebody whom none of you have ever met is good, bad or ugly.

I could say a lot more - but I won't say any more. I think that many of the comments expressed in this thread would be exceedingly offensive to many Spanish nationals - a fact which is most ironic, bearing in mind its original intent - and on that basis, since it has very little intrinsic educational value, I vote that the entire unhappy conversation be deleted and buried in a deep hole.


Jill
(Standing-by on other channels, but definitely OUT so far as this one is concerned.)

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2007, 04:29 AM »
Cripes, Folks!
Here I go, off on my annual paddle along the seashore and all hell breaks out at the iberianatureforum :banghead: while I'm blissfully being buried in sand by eager brats.

This is the thread I've been dreaming of all these months :technodevil: and it gets under way when I'm nowhere near a keyboard - as Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes fame) puts it: I know the world's not fair - but why can't it ever be fair to my advantage?

Haven't had time to read through it all yet, but skimming has given me plenty of stuff with which to enter the fray over the coming days. Still haven't got to the bits that make Jill want to bury the whole thing (the hatchet?) in a deep hole, but given your last posting, Jill, will tread warily lest I tread on too many people's toes (as is my wont).

Apart from a slight storm that threatened to brew up in a teacup over hunting, this thread would seem to be iberianatureforum's first trial-by-fire and as El agua tiene que volver a su cauce (En. anyone?), I, for one, am interested in keeping it open - if only to get to stick my oar in.

Back-soon Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline SueMac

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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2007, 11:07 AM »
Mmm ........right behind you TP... need time to chew over latest comments and then will practise one hand typing.......
SueMac
Ps strains of sense going though lots of these arguments - gotta be caeful not to throw out the baby witth the bathwater(Sp anyone?)
SueMac

Now mainly blogging on www.suevista.blogspot.com Vistas from Afar - A European Garden Blog