divendres, 25 de juliol de 2014

Els de “la pela és la pela”

It is no news that in Spain, the Catalans are said to be stingy. We are a people who, unlike other societies, have for centuries based a great part of our economy on foreign trade. That explains why we were pioneers of the Industrial Revolution in the Iberian peninsula, or why the word peseta (the currency in Spain before the Euro) comes from the Catalan language. Curiously, this account jelled and we ended up being described as penny-pinchers, with the hackneyed phrase la pela es la pela (a penny is a penny).

In this “penny-pincher's” country, nevertheless, over 3,000 tonnes of food were collected during the GranRecapte food drive this year, food delivered to the needy throughout Catalonia. This record figure was achieved thanks to the participation of over 20,000 volunteers, with donations from many families, mostly from the middle class in over 250 towns across Catalonia.

Every year since 1994, Catalans also Get (their feet) Wet for MultipleSclerosis, jumping into hundreds of pools throughout Catalonia when summer comes, to collaborate in the fight against this disease. This event is the second most massive charity event in Catalonia.

And what is the top charity event? La Marató de TV3. Catalan Public Television organizes a telethon every weekend before Christmas, held simultaneously with dozens of events organized throughout Catalonia to raise funds to assist in disease research. Since 1992, La Marató has collected around €120 million.

Consciously or not, these events and acts of solidarity supplement the work of national and local governments, which instead of investing in research and meeting the needs of its population, rely on the goodwill of the people. The Catalan people get involved in numerous acts of solidarity every year. Just for this single reason, Catalans deserve to clear themselves the “penny-pinching” tag, because la pela és la pela applies to everyone, and maybe there should be more self-criticism and analysing of who does what with their own – or with other people’s – money.

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