Corrugated City

Tuesday 22 April 2008

Palestine and Chile

So moving seamlessly on from the fascinating discussion of nationality EMOL has an interesting special on its site at the moment. It relates the story of 117 Palestinians who have left their homeland and moved to Chile as part of a UN backed program.

Chile's not the only country participating in this program, of course, but what is interesting is that this little country on the far side of the world is actually already home to the largest Palestinian population outside of the Arab world, making up around 5% of the entire Chilean population and numbering roughly 300,000 people. Around 80% of these Palestinians arrived in Chile between 1900 and 1930 and came from mainly Christian towns which now fall under the umbrella of the district of Bethlehem. The vast majority of Palestinians in Chile are Christians so it'll be interesting to see whether the new arrivals-all Muslim- will be able to fit into the community here.

When the Palestinians first arrived in Chile they, like most new arrivals in any fairly homogenous country, were poorly treated and subjected to racism and discrimination. The huge majority of marriages were therefore kept within the community. Over time, however, the Palestinian population started to thrive socially and economically and became fairly well integrated. By the 1970s, over 70% of marriages were with non-Palestinian partners.

So why did they come to Chile in the first place? Well, the main reason is that they were trying to escape the Ottoman Empire, subjugation and conscription. The Turks weren't too keen on other peoples in those days-just ask the Armenians. This was the first and biggest wave of immigration. A second group arrived after the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948 and a third group arrived after the Six Day War in 1967.

Chileans of Palestinian origin now play an important economic and social role in this country and can be found in big business, sport, high level politics and showbiz. There's even a football team called Palestino, founded in 1920 and winning the title twice, in 1955 and 1978.


Anonymous said...

>>>The Turks weren't too keen on other peoples in those days-just ask the Armenians.

What Armenians?

Sorry. Anyway, Chileans of Palestinean descent - often called "Turcos" much in the same way Japanese are called "Chinos" - generally pertain to the more well heeled merchant class, or at least that's the impression, although by this point they've integrated into all levels of society of course, like Croatians, Germans, etc. But I think you can generally count on there always being some "turco" to own some grocery store or be the one to turn to for a private loan after you've maxed out your faladeuda.

Curious to see how their distant Muslim brethren will do, economically they're prolly down in the dirt like Peruvians, but less social stigma, and maybe i should read that EMOL article but do you know what kinda gov't benefits they'll be receiving if any?

Matt said...

Now that's one cheap joke...genocide's not funny (unless you're a cheepy-chirpy and thoroughly irritating Italian who thinks life is beautiful. Bastard made me root for the Nazis.)

Without going back to read the article, I think the UN is sponsoring each immigrant to the tune of a couple hundred thousand a month and they can apply for grants and subsidies for housing, education etc as well. Not a great deal of money really.

As for your debt comment, tomorrow I'll be explaining how to get out of paying back 75% of what you owe to Falabella.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't joking, I'm so glad they weren't wiped out. I'd take a piroshki over an empanada any day, although Cornish pasty comes in a strong third on my list of ethnic cuisines trying to imitate the hot pocket.

Hey, save it for the chumps, I can tell you how to save 100% on your faladeuda: stop paying.

couple hundred thousand a month...Not a great deal of money really.

Just remember that for 80% of Chile the 4-person family pulls down 400.000/month, MAX, most of them much less. So the Turks' benefits aren't shabby in the context of pittance that most of Chile bends over for, seemingly ignorant that Chile's wealth distribution is nearly the world's worst, according to the World Bank.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a piroshki and I'm sure they're good but you surely you can't get better than a seafood emapanada (preferably filled with locos or machas)....There's a great place along the costanera in Horcon that makes excellent seafood empanadas...

My favorite empanada-style snack would have to be the Bolivian Saltena...absolutely divine....who would have thought that having something spicy for breakfast could be so good! for the Palestinian immigrant issues: bienvenidos, exito and hope that Chile treats them well.


Matt said...

i'm more of a prawn and cheese deep fried empanada man...entre masas in vina and renaca does incredibly good ones and las deliciosas in con con is also pretty tasty. and nice mud oven baked empanadas de pino from a little country restaurant can't be beaten. chilean empanadas are probably my favourite out of all the south american empanadas i've had.