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Seasonal workers out of season

We welcome Ukrainians fleeing war and ignore hundreds of Africans fleeing misery and sleeping in abandoned farms

Un home a una granja de porcs abandonada del Segrià, la seva llar amb unes altres nou persones. © Albert González Farran
A man in an abandoned pig farm in Catalonia, his home with nine other people. © Albert González Farran

Our morality is often playful. Sometimes it makes us have very clear convictions about a subject, which contradicts others that we have believed for a long time. And so are humans: contradictory. Otherwise, we would not be human.

In Lleida (Catalonia), there are at least 200 people living in abandoned farms and old sheds. They spend winter as well (or as bad) as they can in order to arrive alive in summer and have aspirations to be re-hired in the fruit picking campaign. They are now off-season workers, the ones who probably don't have a residence permit and don't want to take risks. They spend the cold months taking advantage of what they find, surviving from charity and living in inhospitable places. And society turns its back. We know and accept this people, most of them from the sub-Saharan Africa, fleeing misery, poverty and hunger, in order to reach an opportunity in our country. We don't stop them, but we don't give them a free hand either.

All this has been going on for many years, but now it is a turbulent time when Europeans are experiencing fear. Ukraine, the nearly neighboring country, closely connected to our economy and culture, is being outraged by the Russian military. A wave of solidarity has invaded our consciences, we are unwittingly welcoming refugees and the administration is managing their express integration. That’s fine, but it clashes with a double morale of almost indecent dyes.

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