Friday, March 16, 2007

'John Cleese is the son of a bitch' would rhyme for Manuel

The comments deserve something a little more elaborated than a laconic reply. Therefore I have decided to make a post.

I would like to thank Tom for the clarification. I have changed the text to put the blame only on John Cleese, what makes me feel much better, because I actually like many of the other works of Monty Python, especially Brian's life. I also agree that Manuel is a nice guy. Most probably he would make a much better job representing Barcelona than our current rising star of diplomacy, Carod-Rovira.

I would also like to take some time to reply to Garci.
I can understand that your intellectually challenged friends (aka retarded or intellectually disabled) resonate with Manolo.
It is funny, however, that you do not identify yourself with him, but you have no problem to link him with the non Catalan speaking population born in Barcelona. By the way, the fact that 50% of the people from Catalonia does not have Catalan as mother tongue, does not mean that they do not speak Catalan (the percentage of Barcelona born people who speak Catalan is in the high 90s) and it does not mean either that they have Castilian or Andalusian accent. In general those Catalans who were born in Catalonia and have Spanish as mother tongue speak pretty neutral Spanish, sometimes with a slight palatal l and ll and use some Catalan words to describe some specific things where the Catalan word fits better, as for example “plegar” (finish your workday or quite a job voluntarily).

Regarding languages, I speak Dutch and German, Catalan and Spanish, and from all points of view, grammar, vocabulary and phonetics the percentage of correlation is very close in those 2 pairs (80% to 85% depending on the text, if you use kadoje instead of geschenk, the correlation is lower, for instance). Flemish and Dutch have dialectal differences similar to Catalan and Valencian, with a fundamental difference, in 1980 the Dutch and Belgian governments signed the “Taalunieverdrag”, a treaty that recognized that Dutch and Flemish were the same language under the name of Nederlands.

As usual, I will ignore your “under the belt” attack. Those things I mention are common themes for the Catalan stereotype in the rest of the Spain, used in jokes and parodies, and that have a certain foundation, although they are normally an exaggeration or a distortion of reality. And about my kids, I am trying to do my best to educate them well and I make them citizens of the world. However, I had my 8 year old daughter next to me when I was preparing the previous posting and she saw the video clip and asked me, are the people from Barcelona so stupid? Although she has never lived in Barcelona, she was born there. I did not reply, just closed the window.

And yes, I am upset and pissed off and I have the right to be. To be frank I would also be upset (maybe slightly less, but still upset) if Manuel had been from Madrid or Seville and a little been upset if Manuel had been from South America. However I would have enjoyed the series, if he had been Italian or French. Because I like Spain and the Spanish people. My problem is that Spain is now an enlarged Castile, and all efforts are being made to shield any other cultures and languages from the rest of the world. Today’s Spain is not my country, I do not feel represented at all, as I do not feel represented by Manuel.

But judge by yourself, let me copy and paste the description of the character from Wikipedia:
“Manuel, a waiter played by Andrew Sachs, is a well-meaning but disorganised and constantly confused Spaniard from Barcelona with a poor grasp of the English language and customs. He is constantly verbally and physically abused by his boss. He is afraid of Mr. Fawlty's quick temper and violent assaults, yet often expresses his appreciation for being given the position. When told by either Basil, Sybil, or Polly what to do, he answers, "Qué?", which means 'What?', and "Sí", which means 'Yes'.
The character's nationality was switched to Mexican for the Spanish dub of the show broadcast to most of Spain, while in the Basque region he is an Italian called Manolo”

And do not forget that when they try to explain to others the rootcause of his imbecility, they justify it as saying, “he is from Barcelona”.

I know it is difficult for you to understand the feeling since you are not from Barcelona, but Tom or even you, if you love UK, can get a taste of it when reading my rant about the British bitches, meant to be a figure of speech without much sophistication.
And the problem is that those stereotypes stick for years, especially among certain parts of the society and they are difficult to change. Be honest and tell me how would you react if you read a piece of news saying that Harvard university has decided to establish its European campus in Lepe.

22 comments:

Johnny Tastavins said...

Well done Ian, I agree with you. It's completely unacceptable that kind of stereotype that covers Barcelona, Catalunya, and even a majority of Spain. Because may be you are writing and thinking from the point of view of Catalunya, but remember that there are also other nations in Spain, such as Galicia or Euskadi that has nothing to do with Manuel, flamenco or bullfighting.

Any way, I would not attach importance to the fact of a dutch guy has no knowledge of the difference between catalan and spanish/castillian. I can understand it. Do you really know the difference between occitan and french, or similarities of dutch and frison languages, etc.?

It's much worse the fact that a lot of spanish people want catalans to be something like second class citizens, with all the rights to pay, but without rights to claim for what it's ours. And blaming against us when we speak in catalan or we ask for a fair amount in investments according to the taxes that we pay. Aha, then, we are not supportive. Ohhh, these catalans ...

Tom Clarke said...

Ian, I didn't believe that nonsense you wrote about the English. The Manuel character could be offensive were it based on any existent Spanish or Catalan stereotype in England. It wasn't.

BTW, I have no regard whatsoever for the 'UK'. I see it as yet another supra-national state whose democracy is defiled by an unelected head of state. We have more in common than you think.

Garci said...

Ian:

Your second-thougths are well received. I agree with you in many of them. And promise I won't mention again anything related to your kids.

It is very difficult to refrain oneself from the use of stereotypes, indeed. John Cleese is external professor in Cornell University, and Joan Ramon Resina is (or was, I am not sure since he moved to Stanford recently, but his webpage is still in Cornell University) a professor there too. Prof. Resina has also made use of stereotypes and we had some arguments some time ago about something that, to my view, was partially based on his estereotypical views. But I wouldn't say Prof. Resina is a SOAB (acronym for the bad word you use in the title). On the contrary, he's a very nice guy, we only don't agree.
I never intended to establish a representativity between manuel and the Spanish-speaking Catalans. I just said it was perfectly possible to have someone from Barcelona like Manuel, but again, I agree it is not representative at all and rather harmful. But I also reckon the success of comedy is greatly based on the exploitation of stereotypes. It is up to us to educate the population. If today comedians refrain from racist of fascist commentaries, we have to advance into teaching them the use of stereotypes related to nationalities or cultures should also be avoided if no harm is to be done to many people.
I rather disagree with your (other) stereotype 'Spain is now an enlarged Castile' for many reasons: 1) Castile hardly exist anymore 2) Castile is less known outside Spain than Catalonia 3) Castile, being clearly one of the best candidates to be a historical nationality, is not (other territorities are historical nationalities with far less historical reasons to be) 4) how do you think I feel when I have to repeat hundreds of times than when I visit my parents I am not going to the beach in the Mediterranean to warm up from the Welsh cold, rather my land (Old Castile) is colder than Wales..but for some reason the stereotype defining Spain as Mediterranean beaches, palm trees and high temperatures dominates. As one good friend of mine said: 'English people think Spain is a doughnut: sea outside, sea inside...imagine how I can tell them I'm going to Soria!!!!'

So, according to my experience, you have two options: 1) be upset, 2) relax and explain one thousand times what is the real world, but always sticking to the truth: in Catalonia, Valencia and Balearic islands there is another language spoken by many people: Catalan. This is a language itself different from Castilian (my comment to rab is I picked up the former data from ethnologue webpage and a paper in the scientific literature..I am not a linguistic). 3) The Manuel stereotype is offensive to most people NOT ONLY in Catalonia.. 4) Spain is a pluricultural country or nation, and the cultures do not correspond to the 'historic nationalities' but to many more. This is what I usually do, and I think I am very close to the truth when I explain that.

Habibi said...

Boy, you are funny!

But do not take things so personally (now don't go to my blog and comment this in every other post, huh!)

And, as a reply to your daughter, let me say: Unfortuately, mostly yes, honey.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

Hi Ian,
I understand your anger.
I live in the Netherlands and I have experienced that indeed Faulty Towers helped to spread the idea that Barcelona is Spanish culturally and linguistically. That the Catalan language and culture do not exist.
It's annoying.
I also have experienced the irritating pronunciation of Barcelona in Spanish language. And I also have to tell them that Barcelona is a Catalan name of a Catalan city and the original pronunciation is the Catalan pronunciation with a Catalan 'C' and a Catalan neutral 'E', which does not exist in Spanish language.

Often Dutch people try to say things in Spanish to me as doing me a favour. People who know me more than 10 minutes know that Spanish is NOT my mother tongue, that by speaking Spanish they are neglecting that my mother tongue is Catalan. And this hurts me instead of being a nice experience.
When someone speaks Spanish to me I do as if I don't understand. In Holland I don't speak Spanish to anyone. I say: Sorry, what do you say? I do not understand.
It is also very irritating when Dutch people try to practice their Spanish on me. I immediately say:
I don't speak Spanish. I speak Catalan.
My colleagues know how to say good morning in Catalan, and that makes me happy.
I hate it when someone says something in Spanish to me.
I HATE IT!
I HATE IT!
GRrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
So no one does it any more and now I am much happier.
But when I meet new people I always have to defend that my language is not Spanish.
And start all over again.
-
Another thing is that I am a speed skater on ice. Some of my new mates said to me: Why don't you participate to the winter Olympics for Spain?
So I had to start ALL OVER AGAIN.
And tell them that if I would participate for a country for the Olympic games that country can only be CATALONIA. For Spain I would NEVER NEVER NEVER participate. Over my dead body.
-
At last I would like to add that the difference between Catalan and Italian, Spanish French or Portuguese is more or less the same as Dutch and German indeed.
It is very very easy to learn German if you speak fluent Dutch.
The same with Germans who come to live in Holland. Very quickly they can learn the language.
Spaniards (Spanish speakers I mean) learn very easily to speak Italian. Very very easily.
I don't see why it is soooo difficult for them to learn Catalan.
There is only one reason:
Catalonia is not an independent country and we cannot completely force them to speak our language.
And this SHOULD CHANGE!
Catalonia should be independent.

Garci said...

Miquel:

Look, I am Spaniard (like u, it says so in my passport). I speak Catalan. It was not difficult, not at all. It is actually fairly easy. And I am speaking to you in English because I consider (no..I AM!) a polite person. I could also speak to you in Catalan, although my written Catalan is quite bad.

I could say also how much I hate people not knowing the city where I grow up, and then they told me they only know Barcelona or Madrid. Then I tell them I know Barcelona very well (better than many Barcelonians).

I could also say I happen to know some people like you, but not all, because I don't generalize stupid comments to everyone.

Castile is not an independent country either and we can not even force you to say Castilian and not Spanish. If the language spoken by all 'Catalan countries' is told to be Catalan, because it was born there, why not to tell Spanish the name of the territory where it was born?

And yes, this should definitely change. Establishment of borders whithin the UE should be a crime as punishable as any other. Leaders not promoting border disappearance should be taken to Hague and be judged for ethnic clash facilitation. The Spanish Constitution should be changed to facilitate life of other Europeans into the country, which would of course pass from the category of 'nation' to the one called 'country' in a more geographical sense, which probably include all Iberia as its physical attributes suggest. Of course, the regional statutes should be built, but their powers should be minimized to a bit more than the competences of a municipality. Some of these regions should actually be revised.

IBERIA SHOULD BE ONE, but not a nation, rather an administrative region within EU. That's all.

Luckily you have not copy-pasted some of the comments from your blog here.Thanks for that.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

ha ha ha, you can tell the portuguese that iberia should be one.
ha ha ha
Obviously we have a very different perspective on these matters.
Perhaps you think my comments are stupid. Perhaps I think yours are.
I don't think saying such things here is of any use for anyone.
If I tell you that i don't have a Spanish passport, that I have a Dutch passport, then I can say to you that I am Catalan and not Spanish. Right?
I also could have an Andorran or French passport and be a Catalan without being Spanish.
Catalonia, such as Lapland has been divided through different European states, with different laws and with a different approach to the Catalan culture and language.
You can make comparisons to Castilian language and culture.
Let me remind you that nobody is imposing anything to our Castilian neighbours. No laws, no politicians are trying to destroy their culture, their language and their identity.
Don't make stupid comparisons. Castile is not an independent country because they conquered all sorts of other countries, which became Spain. Obviously they do not want to get rid of these territories and therefore they don’t want to be independent. That would be a very STUPID thing to do. Do you understand? By the way: Are you blond?
It is the Catalan culture that is being oppressed over and over again. And what Ian Llorens has described here is a result of this.
If you are happy with it, FINE.
May I say I am not happy with it?
Do you understand why I am not happy with it?
It seems that you just do not understand.
-
Yes borders are horrible. They are horrible in an ideal situation in which people respect and love each other. Which is not the case.
-
If you have anything to say about my blog say it there, and say concrete things. This is a waste of time.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

Going back to saying the most crazy things (and thank you for the inspiration Garci):
OH GOD!
If it was just true!
If just Castilians would desire independence!
I think I would be the happiest man on earth!
No imposing any extra hours of Spanish language on Catalan Schools any more. No problems with the administration of railways and airports any more, no trying to interfere in Catalan Valencian TV policy any more.
I wish!

Garci said...

Miquel..a bit on misconceptions:

Castilians DO desire independence. Something that was never conceded to them by Royal decree. The autonomous region of Castile and Leon was the consequence. Autonomies were indeed a way to conceal Catalan and Basque politicians their own ranches.

Misconceptions: Castile's independence would have very little effect on all those things you say. Castile has nothing to do with Valencian TV, Catalan airpots and railways or climatic change in Catalonia (if any it would be more the opposite). Madrid is to Castile what NYC is to US what Barcelona is to Catalonia...nothing to do. The difference? Barcelonian politics intend to represent Catalonia. Madrid politics intends to represent Spain. Castile is nowhere in Madrid, where there are the people you blame for that extra hour in schools.

Respect and love for each other is what I try to do all the time. This is extremely difficult with Zaplanas, Acebes, Tardas o Vendrells. It is interesting how many times one can see the word 'anticatalan' and none I have seen the word 'anticastilian' when from the last messages it is pretty obvious which one is the best descriptor.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

The comparison with Castile being oppressed as Catalonia does not convince me m8. I can understand what you are saying, but you are now comparing apples with pears. Castile hasn’t been oppressed as Catalonia and its culture and language haven’t been banned and attacked for the past 300 years.
I understand what you are trying to say, but if you are saying that they are an oppressed country such as we are, NO, they are not.

I had never heard of Castile wanting to be independent.
But as I told you I would be very happy if this was true.
Spain could have a majority of people wanting to split, and this would indeed solve all inconveniences and attacks that Catalonia is suffering since 1714.

Is it really true? They want to be independent? Man, this is the happiest day of my life. And I would like to ask you a favour.
Could you please give me the names of organisations and political parties in Castile that are working on the independence of Castile?
I want to support them, sponsor them and I will be happy to ask them to join forces with the Catalans and the Basque organisations and political parties.
And together we might get somewhere.

Rab said...

Garci: what do you smoke? I want some!
You seem to inhabit a different reality to the rest of us.

Castilians DO desire independence
Are you having a laugh? Can you offer any evidence (polls, representative political parties, etc) that support this bizarre statement?

The whole Estado de las Autonomias (café para todos) is a joke. Spain divided itself in artificially autonomous regions without any history or desire of self-government, and they designed the system so that over time these Spanish regions would equate themselves with Catalonia’s self-government. Thus, Catalonia would slowly be assimilated into the Spanish cultural, political and economic framework. One has to admit it is working pretty well -from Spain's point of view.

This my friend has not been done in England, (carving up England in autonomous regions) since the English have more common sense and they do not hate the Scots or the Welsh in the same manner that the Spanish hate Catalonia.

FACT: Catalan language is disappearing fast. Spain has already achieved its objective in Alacant, where it is near impossible to hear Valencian in the street, and it is on its way to do the same in Valencia and the Balearics. They are making good progress in Barcelona too.

FACT: knowledge of Spanish is mandatory under the Spanish Constitution. Catalan is just optional for those who care enough. Catalan representatives in the Spanish parliament in Madrid are prohibited from using their own language.

And please, stop trying to equate the behaviour of ERC with that of the PP because you fool nobody.
ERC, for all its faults, has made President a (Spanish) man views about Spain and Catalonia are anathema to most ERC supporters. That is democracy (Western style) in action: pragmatism and dialogue despite the irreconcilable differences. Bitter pills are swallowed and everyone tries to move on.
PP on the other hand is a party that has lost the plot completely since 11-M and now is in the same hole as the nationalist parties in Poland (Self-Defence and the League of Polish Families).

Garci said...

Excuse me if I answer both at the same time:

FACT: Catalonia did not have self-government before the Autonomies..so what would the point on making Autonomies if not to actually concede the Catalan politicians (and Basque ones) some ranch to be holding to? As you see the view can be interpreted the other way around. Excuse me if I don't swallow the whole 'assimilation into Spain's culture' theory, because if that was the case, wouldn't have it been more effective to just NOT make the Estado de las Autonomias? so far your reasoning takes me to think that, according to you, Catalonia was better off under Franco's regime..

FACT: Rab, I smoke regular pot every once in a while. Living in the Netherlands, maybe you should ask Miquel about smoking.

FACT: Catalonians complain about the ignorance of rest of Spaniards on Catalonia. This is quite true for people that have not lived there (not my case). But they never wonder themselves how much do they know about other places.

FACT: Castile and Leon was the last autonomy to be built. Central (and I am talking about Madrid) politicians were in a hurry to build up the 'glorious' autonomic state and in the end, despite the dissention built from public opinion and politicians in Leon and Segovia, the king ended up signing a decree to built one autonomy in Castile and Leon, the pressure from AP, CDS and PSOE was too high. No referendum like in Catalonia or Andalusia..toma democracia!

FACT: Noone ever wondered why this happened. No further research, no further enquiries. Some authors have suggested (and suggestions are not facts, something that I know to distinguish) Leonese always wanted to keep the former region and Segovians wanted to be Castilians and not Leonese, and, because there was no momentum to build up forces with other elements,(the centralist pressure possibly moved by the Catalan and Basque pressures), they decided to build individual provincial autonomies like La Rioja or Cantabria. The deal was not accepted in the first true demonstration of how democratic is this State. The independence I was talking about was not a State independence, but an independence from other provinces. Now could you tell me in these terms which territory is more 'oppressed'?

We all could find reasons for the sad disappearance of Catalan in those territories you talk about. My opinion is PP takes advantage of the anticatalan emotions in those territories, highlighted in the last times by an aggressive stance by lobbies and politicians from Catalonia. In the meantime in Catalonia Catalan has not disappeared, it has rather been improved for the same reasons as it has disappeared in the other territories, but opposite. Catalanist lobbies and education. The problem is it has not been as fast as many would want. I call this reason extreme nationalist interventionism. More to come whenever you want.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

The only thing I am asking is names and adreces. No bladibladibla.
Do they exist? Show me. Please.

Rab said...

Garci dixit:
FACT: Catalonia did not have self-government before the Autonomies..

Garci: you don't have a clue about history. Before posting such nonsense, at least you could try the Wikipedia.

Garci said...

Rab:

You know what I was talking about. Do not try to decontextualize my sentence. As you know I was talking about the Franco era, not about the Middle Age or the Second Republic. I meant the transition was a TOTAL concession to some politicians, nationalists from the Basque and Catalan territories, because the status quo at that time was that Catalonia did not have any self-government.

Miquel:
Wanting something can or cannot be related to how you prioritize objectives. In Castile, most citizens prioritize civil services before any emotions or feelings. They may want independence as much I want a Harley Davidson. I have the money to buy a Harley Davidson, but prefer to use it for basic needs. If you want to understand it, fine, if not then it is pointless to keep with my 'bladibla..' (it's interesting the fact that bladibla..is how non-nationalist people always see the nationalist dialogue)

Rab said...

Garci dixit: (with full context...)
You know what I was talking about. Do not try to decontextualize my sentence. As you know I was talking about the Franco era, not about the Middle Age or the Second Republic. I meant the transition was a TOTAL concession to some politicians, nationalists from the Basque and Catalan territories, because the status quo at that time was that Catalonia did not have any self-government.

1) a TOTAL concession
Yes, a total concession that keeps Article 8 in the Spanish Constitution, remember the one that grants the Army the right to use force to prevent Catalans or Basques from exercising the democratic right of self-determination.
A total concession as well that only Spanish is mandatory under the Spanish Constitution.
Also it must be a concession that ‘autonomias’ cannot form a federation. This was specifically designed to prevent the Catalan Countries (Catalunya, País Valencià i Illes Balears) from forming any kind of partnership, however symbolic.
Another concession must be the fact the Spanish state is playing the game of right-wing extremists in Valencia who are intent on ensuring that Valencian/Catalan disappears as a language. They have done very well in Alicante (Alacant). The language is almost dead there.
It must also be a concession to Catalonia that we never got a ‘foral’ regime of tax collection and management.
A result of the above ‘total’ concession, we are being screwed economically like no other territory, region or group of people in Europe. This results in a now chronic under-investment in infrastructure which is damaging our competitiveness and economic development.

Ad infinitum.


Garci, the 1978 Spanish Constitution was a total capitulation of Catalonia under the watchful eye of the Spanish Army and Franco’s heirs.

Guess what: the status quo was that we did not have any self-government because it was suppressed for 40 years by a fascist ruler. Should we accept that status quo as a fair starting point?
I don’t think so.

Garci said...

Rab:

Again, following your argument, the State did not make concessions. This means, according to you, one or two options: 1) Catalonia's current status quo is exactly the same than in Franco's era. 2) It is worst.

Tell me which one you prefer. I assume it is number one, since I don't think you would say "Con Franco viviamos mejor". If it is number one, then you are saying that the current autonomy is not doing any better than a region under Franco. So (again I assume) you understand independence is the only way. But I could also say the opposite: if the further self-government got by the Generalitat is not making any progress, then why not do the opposite? give back current competences to the State?
But that is not my point. I think the status has improved a lot in many ways, mainly those related to all culture in Catalan. In fact, it has gone so well that the ONLY WAY now to further improve the status of catalan is through independence. It is the only way to force Castilian-speaking population to accept a forced status and, either leave, or adapt.

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

Hi Garci,
Well, if it takes you a whole paragraph to say that indeed there are no organisations for independence in Castile, I think I will call you from now on "bladibla".

Garci said...

Miquel:

I am not going to follow your arguments on the bladibla. We are dealing with different frameworks..and the basis of a language=culture=state is the code for the Catalan and Basque nationalists. In Castile the basis is a different one. The society is more individualistic and people and municipalities are supposed to be independent from each other. That is, independence concepts work at smaller scales. That's why the autonomous communities do not make any sense from a Castilian point of view and that's why the State of autonomies was a concession to those 'smaller' (in terms of spatial scale, distinguising those from Catalonia and Basque country to the Spanish one). We are all Castilian, but work independently, more similar to the Basque sense (remember our roots are Basque mostly), rather than the Catalan centralized system.
Everything is a matter of pressure. The original system in my area is that of the middle ages Extremadura (do not confuse with what today is called Extremadura), that is, the areas between the Duero river and the Central range..the Town and Land communities (comunidades de villa y tierra), with their own independent 'fueros', or the mancomunidades, alfoces, and merindades north of the Duero river, playing similar roles. In fact, many of them today still have some competencies. But the difference is in the lobbying system. If they had a larger capacity to lobby (money money money), we would have today a system similar to the Basque. This is not the case.
But that is something that has to be explained from scratch.

Rab said...

In fact, it has gone so well that the ONLY WAY now to further improve the status of catalan is through independence.

Wrong logic, right conclusion Garci, finally you are seeing sense!
(banter mode today) ;-)

ian llorens said...

Un trabajador barcelonés demanda a un hospital londinense por discriminación racista

22/01/2009 | Actualizada a las 17:19h | Ciudadanos

Londres.(EFE).- Un electricista barcelonés afincado en Londres ha presentado una demanda contra su antiguo empleador, el grupo de hospitales privados HCA, y dos de sus jefes por acoso y discriminación.

PALABRAS CLAVE

Londres, Tercer Mundo, Manuel, Ignacio

El trabajador, al que el vespertino 'Evening Standard' identifica sólo como un barcelonés llamado Juan Ignacio, denunció ante el Tribunal Laboral del barrio londinense de Croydon que aquellos se burlaban de su acento y se mofaban constantemente de él utilizando frases de un personaje catalán llamado 'Manuel', de una conocida comedia de la TV británica.

'No sé nada' y '¿Qué?' eran frases repetidas una y otra vez a modo de excusa por el personaje de la serie de televisión 'Fawlty Towers', popularizado por el actor Andrew Sachs.

Juan Ignacio, que tiene 33 años, afirma que los administradores del hospital se refirieron en su presencia a España como un "país del Tercer Mundo" y preguntaron si había allí electricidad.

El trabajador barcelonés, que lleva cinco años viviendo en Gran Bretaña, denunció también haber sido objeto de insultos de tipo homofóbico aunque él no es homosexual. En la demanda presentada ante el tribunal, el trabajador afirma que los catalanes vieron también en su día el programa 'Fawlty Towers' en catalán y se rieron a gusto porque "tenemos sentido del humor".

"Pero -agrega Juan Ignacio- la gente (del hospital) se excedió. Ya no se trataba de un chiste, sino de algo muy desagradable. Me hacían sentirme como un idiota. Resultaba ofensivo. No se puede juzgar a la gente por el país de origen. Yo era muy bueno en mi trabajo. Puedo aguantar un par de chistes, pero cuando se repiten sistemáticamente, duele".

El trabajador, que afirma que los insultos continuaron hasta su dimisión del centro hospitalario en diciembre de 2007, reclama una indemnización de 30.000 libras (32.100 euros). Otro trabajador del mismo hospital, un polaco llamado Marcin Likomski, de 30 años, también ha presentado una demanda contra el centro por insultos racistas.

El hospital y los dos jefes demandados niegan las acusaciones de los dos trabajadores. El tribunal laboral emitirá sentencia el mes próximo.