“Don’t feed the rumour” is an EC-backed initiative due to be taken on by a number of European towns later this month.
It involves the creation of “anti-rumour brigades” designed to disseminate positive information about immigrants and de-mystify popular misconceptions.
Typical rumours without foundation include affirmations that “immigrants don’t want or like to work”; that “immigrants steal Portuguese jobs”; that “immigrants live on State handouts” and “are always connected to the criminal underworld”, or that their children “cause trouble at schools”, writes Público.
Thus Amadora council - home to 41 nationalities which represent a total of 10% of the council's 175,000 inhabitants - is embracing 'Don’t feed the Rumour' and mobilising “anti-rumour agents”, to start working on the ground from September 10.
Explaining the council’s motivation, mayoress Carla Tavares said that she hoped the project would also serve to soothe fears over behaviour that is often simply a matter of culture. For instance: “Talking very loudly when socialising is a characteristic of the Cape Verdian community. It is a cultural issue,” she told Público. “But it can worry others.”
The anti-rumour agents will be dispatched to schools and community associations, in a bid to explain the behavioural tendencies and habits of different cultures, so that locals can feel less bewildered, she said.
I wrote about this bizarre and sinister initiative before. It started off in Spain and, under EU auspices, is now spreading to other countries. It is like something out of East Germany. Not mentioned in the article, but discussed elsewhere is the fact that much of the propaganda here is covert. The "anti-rumour" agents do not identify themselves as government operatives. Their mission is to go around and interact with other people, correcting "rumours" that they hear being expressed. But these rumours don't involve tabloid gossip about celebrities or sports. No. For some reason they only relate to immigration. So you might be having a conversation with your friends in the pub. The topic turns to immigration. You express your views candidly and along comes an "anti-rumour" agent pretending to be an ordinary person to challenge you and correct your "misinformation".