Voices Blogs

Leaked Papers Reveal Racism towards Aamer Anwar

Clara Ponsatí and Aamer Anwar

A Spanish newspaper has published leaked documents in which a former diplomat uses racist, Islamophobic language to describe lawyer, and Voices for Scotland board member, Aamer Anwar.

The papers released in the article in Vozpopuli come from the legal case of Miguel Angel Vecino v. the Spanish Government, in which Vecino, a former diplomat, is suing for unfair dismissal. Vecino was sacked after sending a letter to the Scottish Government stating that Spain would never block an independent Scotland’s EU entry. 

Vecino’s email to Josep Borrell, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister, states that Aamer Anwar, lawyer of ex-Catalan Minister, Clara Ponsatí, “mixes up Catalonia’s independence movement with Ceuta and Melilla’s claims…since he [Anwar] believes that Spain has to be reclaimed by Islam”. Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish enclaves on the coast of Morocco.

A society cannot function where racism is present at any level, and for it to exist at the highest echelons of Government, be that in Spain, the UK, or anywhere else, is to the detriment of the people. Voices for Scotland is at the beginning of its campaign to help build a Scotland for Everyone, and at the heart of this is diversity of all kinds. Comments like those made by Mr Vecino and the failure of Mr Borrell to act upon them is symptomatic of power structures that have existed for too long, with too little diversity.

Mr Borrell sacked Mr Vecino not because of his racist comments made towards Aamer Anwar, but because of the assertion that Spain would not block an independent Scotland’s entry to the EU. Josep Borrell is soon to become the EU’s Foreign Minister, and questions must now be asked about this appointment his inaction in calling out racism among the Spanish Government’s officials. 

Responding to the leaked documents, Aamer Anwar said, “These comments are a reflection of alt-right, fascist and racist dogmatism which should come as no surprise given the autocratic, barbaric response to Catalonia’s legitimate and peaceful fight for independence.

“It is abhorrent that such words flow not from the pages of some far-right commentator but from those masquerading as diplomats.”

In a time where established political institutions seek to create divisions amongst the public, it is important that we looked beyond populism and take time to listen and discuss within our communities. What matters to you, what matters to others around you, and how we, as a community, address these issues are the foundations of a progressive nation.

Allan Whyte, Campaign Organiser