Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The word 'fear' does not exist for Catalunya Acció

I would like to talk about fear, and especially, about the fear of the Catalans. Some might wander, but Catalans, have they fear? Well, in certain measure, do so.

We often observe that there are many people who switch languages in front of who speak the language of the Spanish and French colonizers. Many wander how can they defend our own language in front of this swarm of linguistic deserters that populate the country. The answer, surely, has more than one explanation. But is necessary to remember that, after three centuries, Catalans have been subject continuously to the tyranny of the fear.

It is so that today, we collect the fruit of a constant persecution still suffered as a nation, as a language and as individuals with differentiated character and personality.

Fear is the result of a nothing but innocent strategy. Be it by the force of the arms, first, aimed to impose over an alien country, be it with legislation which obviates the original, the ultimate aim is to inflict in the colony's population the habit of fear, and doing it so that this population acquires and internalizes it to the point of believing that is an absolutely normal and unconscious behaviour. Fear might be unconscious, but is never normal.

In fact, though, how would we want that a country subject to wars, murders, persecutions, public punishments and mockery, looting and constant illegalities during three centuries? Few countries have suffered such fierce harassment for being simply people with their own personality. In the Mediterranean, for example, we might find a similar case with the besiege suffered by the Jews.

Despite this, how do we explain that the percentage of Catalans in support of independence of Catalonia is higher than ever? Apparently, if we judge by certain attitudes that speak about a presumably acquired fear, it might seem that the need for our independence would create certain mistrust. And it is because of that, the need to end everything that has caused these fears, that is when the urgency to stop and face the abuser is demonstrated. But, who takes the first step?

The word fear does not exist for Catalunya Acció. And we are ready.

Ready to initiate a process to break definitely with Spain and France.

Ready to break definitely with the abuser and all who, from Catalonia, collaborate with them.

Ready for independence to stop being politically orphan, and to begin the journey that will lead our flag to be flown among the rest of flags of Europe.

Ready to demonstrate to Spain, France and everybody, that never, ever, it is possible to destroy winning people.

Albert Ubach
Member Catalunya Acció

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

We are not only the 4 provinces

All who demand a Catalan State without mentioning that Catalonia is a Nation, split and colonized by two oppressive European States, perpetuate the deception of the oppressors, which is that Catalonia is a region of Spain.

We cannot claim for a State and continue to be politically corrects, that is selfcensoring in order to please. This behaviour has kept us subject to the enemy. We speak about dignity, but we will not be dignified when the truth is distorted and behave as chained slaves.

The perspective of the National problematic, meaning the denounce of the National exploitation both to the territory within the French State -the poorest, with highest unemployment index in France's departments, and the territory within the Spanish State, is not only an ethical perspective, of respect to the historical memory, fidelity to the roots, agreement with a minority -the few non-colonized Catalans, but instead is a pragmatic view. May we afford to hide the truth when the survival as European Nation is so threatened?

We must tell the truth for three main reasons, on one hand to convince the rest of Europeans about the existence of the Nation; from the other hand, to obtain help from the other European Nations that strive to obtain their own State; and finally, to encourage and pride our own compatriots, who ignore, generally, the limits of our own territory.

Europe is conscious, from decades ago, of the problems of the border regions and tried to find solutions and giving development grants. But the next step is missing, recognizing that a lot of problems of these border regions hide national problems and that conceding money to regions that have no legal reconnaissance such as the Northern Catalonia -subject to the double colonialism from Paris and Montpellier, is a temporary patch.

In Europe, is only known the existence of the Catalonia as a region in Spain and its maximum claim is for autonomy. How may we convince them that we are not a region in Spain, that we want a Catalan State, if we do not inform them that we are a dismembered Nation, doubly oppressed from three centuries ago? Moreover, bringing up the double oppression both from Spain and France make the Basques, Bretons, Alsatians, Corses and the long list of nations colonized by France overseas potential allies.

Exposing the own cause as well as defending the cause of these others is not adding forces? Is it not the reinforcement of the credibility we want to achieve? How can we explain that we glorify ourselves for our universalism, defending peace and giving humanitarian aid all over the world and yet we cannot defend our own cause? How is that we prefer to minimize, dilute, remain within a provincial framework, instead of being the speakers for the colonized nations and more particularly in one self-satisfied so-called democratic Europe?

Both Pau Casals and Oscar Ribes knew how to take advantage of a worldwide spread message to refer to the existence of the whole Catalan Countries. They situated Catalonia in the linguistic and cultural field; now is the time to denounce the inner colonialisms in Europe, the negation of the existence of nations split by false borders, victims of occult identity genocides.

Not delimiting the territories of the Catalan Nation perpetuates the betrayal by Pujol's government who affirmed in big banners hung around the Alt Empordà: "som una nació, som 6 milions" -"we are a nation, we are 6 millions"- as if Catalonia began at La Jonquera. We, the excluded, the Northern Catalans, Majorcans, Valencians, Andorrans and from Alguer, cannot allow that our Catalanism is concealed by allegedly pragmatic reasons.

The true pragmatism in the 21st Century is to make discourses to break from three and a half centuries of colonization, having the self-awareness that we have been formatted to hide, to beg, to be pleased with minimalist vindications such as the Spanish Constitution, amnesty for the Francoist executioners, the "Estatut" already defeated fifty years ago, and now, the Nation limited to the four provinces.

The true pragmatism is to break with the colonial selfcensorship, spreading the legitimate reasons of our fight, conciliating our people.

Daniela Grau Humbert
Counsellor Catalunya Acció Northern Catalonia

Friday, 9 April 2010

The Spaniards and their 'sense of humour' against Catalonia

It is not new. It has happened already in recent times but we must talk about the same topic over and over.

Some small Spanish TV station -public, thus paid by Catalans too, has insulted the whole Catalan nation once more. With the excuse of the calling to public examination for teachers of Catalan by the Aragonese government, this TV station has made a supposed parody of this examination, urging the applicants to teach Catalan and 'everything it represents', such as 'mastering the stealing and blackmailing' apart from other disrespects against the Catalan language.

However, in front of such serious insults towards the Catalan people, none of the so-called 'defenders of the Catalan dignity', hence, politicians and other representatives, have come forward to demand an apology by the Aragonese TV channel or its politic representatives.

In front of such offense, Santiago Espot, CEO Catalunya Acció, has published the following public note as follows:
Barcelona, April 8th 2010. The public TV of Aragon has broadcast a gag of xenophobic character against Catalonia, branding Catalans as blackmailers. In front of such ignominious attack, the President of Catalunya Acció and promoter of Força Catalunya, Santiago Espot, has shown his indignation for the silence of all parties that should defend the dignity of Catalonia and that, in this deliberate attack from the public Aragonese TV, have not defended Catalonia.

In words by Santiago Espot, 'everything is a sample of the xenophobic character of the Spanish public media against Catalonia, which do not let escape any occasion to erode the dignity of our Nation'.

Santiago Espot added 'and it is in this sense that the passivity of the political establishment of our country, and our Government, has to be denounced. The Government that tolerates that a sister party -Aragonese socialists-, insult our country, this time through their TV station'.

To Santiago Espot, the Aragonese Government must end broadcasting this program that only represents an attack to the dignity of Catalonia.

However, Spain do not tolerate that samples of similar 'parodies' come out from Catalonia. In July 2008, not long after the Spanish Government published the so-long waited fiscal balances, which officially certified that Spain plundered an 8.7% of the Catalan GDP -at least, because the method used was very dubious to the opinion of several well-renowned economists such as Ramon Tremosa-, Lluís Suné, local Councillor in Torredembarra (Catalonia), published this picture on his blog.

The legend "An 8.7% of the Catalan GDP is not enough. Sponsor a child from Extremadura for €1000/month", caused profound outrage in Extremadura, which initiated legal action against Suné. Lluís Suné then, had to delete the picture from his blog and publicly apologise for that.

Will we see similar action against form the Catalan Government for the aggression by Aragon against Catalonia? Probably not, because attack on Catalonia comes for free. Only very determined voices, like Santiago Espot, and Catalunya Acció, will never cease to denounce the attempts to offend our Nation.

Jordi Margalef
Member Catalunya Acció

Monday, 5 April 2010

"Spanish should not be taught at all at schools in Catalonia", Prof Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera. Interview by Carles Bellsolà

JC Moreno Cabrera 240
Prof Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera, linguist.

He was born in Madrid and defends the linguist immersion in Catalan. The Professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Juan Carlos Moreno Cabrera has published a book, "El nacionalismo lingüístico (Península) -The linguist nationalism (Peninsula), with a profoundly provocative thesis; the only linguistic nationalism existing in Spain is the Spanish. And that is very aggressive, as explained in this interview with, translated to English.

In what consists the linguistic nationalism?

The most common idea in Spain about nationalism, linguist and general, is the claims of a series of regions that have stuck to, in an obsessive and exaggerated manner, the idea that their language and culture had to be recognized. Because a lot of people consider that their language and culture are already recognized within the Constitution and, therefore, all this insistence correspond to a desire of differentiation that goes against the globalization of society.

But you, instead, sustain that there is a linguistic nationalism from Spain.

In headlining my book this way, surely there have been a lot of people who have read it wanted to reaffirm their ideas. To them, my book may be intolerable, because I demonstrate something hidden, the State nationalism. Which is not recognized as such because is parted from the fallacy that once the State is established, in this case, the Spanish State, all the expectations are exceeded, including those ethnic and of identity. I demonstrate in the book that this is absolutely false. Not only the State has not transcended the national question, but is based on one Nation, one culture and one specific language, that has continued to be the Spanish.

Therefore, which side gives more signs of nationalism?

It is that, following my definition of linguist nationalism, Catalan, Basque and Galician linguist nationalisms do not exist. Why? Because the main definition of linguist nationalism is to consider that the own language is superior to the others. Which makes no sense with strictly linguist reasons. This idea, originated by Menéndez Pidal, exists within the Castilian nationalism. But I fail to see it in the so-called Catalan nationalism, nor in the Basque or Galician. I do not see anybody who claimed that Catalan is superior than Spanish -linguistically.

Thing that is done by the Spanish nationalism, following your book.

The second defining feature is that, because my language is superior, I am doing the others a favour if I impose it to them. I do not perceive this in the so-called Catalan nationalism. Catalans do not pretend that Catalan is spoken in Malaga or Castile. I do not know any Catalanist defending this. Instead, Spanish do defend that Spanish dominates in Catalonia, and becomes the main language. But they disguise this discourse under the "communication language" or the "meeting tongue". In my book, the deduced idea is that, if we apply these criteria, the Catalan, Basque and Galician linguist nationalism do not exist. A lot of people have reproached that I do not criticize the "imposition of Catalan". But, what imposition? If I defend that Spanish has to be spoken in Castile, is that an imposition? Thus, if Catalans say that Catalan must be the main language in Catalonia, is that an imposition?

But Spanish nationalists do not openly manifest that Spanish must be the dominating tongue. What they do is argue about the individual rights of speakers.

We talk about about individual rights, but languages exist within a linguist community, not being isolated individuals. If I travel to Germany, I may have every right to speak Spanish but I must speak German. Because I am integrating on a community with linguist relations where German is prevailing. To speak about individual rights in linguist matters makes no sense. And when they criticize that Catalan acquires
predominance in certain fields, do so because it entails the loss of the absolute domain, in these fields, of the Spanish. When they criticize that, even if they do not openly do so, are demonstrating what they are fearing is not that Spanish language disappear from Catalonia -nobody with a little common sense would think that Spanish might disappear from Catalonia, it is stupid, but in reality are expressing their fear that Spanish lost the absolute prevail in Catalonia.

Instead, there are studies that affirm that Catalan language is in danger of extinction.

It depends which languages is compared against. If we compare Catalan against Aragonese, it is not in danger of extinction. But Catalan has to be compared against other languages of similar demographic level. Catalan is a very important European language from the demographic point of view and is not in danger of extinction. However, is not the prevailing language within the Catalan Countries, this is clear. There are a lot of fields in which it has not been possible to achieve this domain. Understanding domain as nothing negative, but to be the tongue of habitual use, the language by defect. Logical. When two languages live together, advances against the most powerful one from the demographic, economic and political points of view are very difficult. It should never be said, though, that Catalan is out of danger, because it is in contact with Spanish.

Due to that reason, the measures to increase the use of the language like linguist immersion are appropriate?

The only linguistic immersion that I know is in Spanish. There is no linguist immersion in Catalonia. If the Catalan language is used at school, I find it normal. Might we say that teaching in Madrid in Spanish is linguist immersion? I would not say so. We understand immersion when an official language is not the tongue of the population and it is mandated to use that tongue at school, thing that occurs in several countries in the world. In Nigeria, the tongue at school is English, and every child that attends school must learn English, which is not spoken by any of the members of his or her family. Because English, and this is the question, is not the tongue of Nigeria, is was imposed by the colonial powers. But Catalan is not imposed by any colonial power, is the own tongue of Catalonia.

You, in your book, differentiate between additive bilingualism and replacing. Which is the case of Catalonia?

The bilingualism that is said to promote from the centre is theoretically additive. In other words, I add my tongue to the native and both live together. But in 90% of the cases, in reality, is a replacing bilingualism, in which the new language is pretended to substitute the native. If a Catalan child is educated in Spanish, in what there are a lot more books, TV programs, more opportunities, is promoted that the child said 'Now, I do not speak to my family in Catalan any more, because it is more interesting for me to speak Spanish well, it gives me more opportunities'. Precisely, Spanish must not be taught at schools in Catalonia. I know it is harsh, that a lot of people will criticize me for that, but it is true. In these moments, there is a profound disequilibrium in favour of Spanish. How do we correct that? Giving support to both languages equally? Then, the disequilibrium is maintained. The only solution is to give support to the native -own- language, and a lot more support than to the other one. It is evident.

There are other reasons invoked, such as 'market' or 'darwinist' reasons, as you said, to justify the prevail of one determined language.

The new discourse of nationalism is based upon economical criteria. It is said that there are tongues that have a big market and others that have a small one. This means using capitalism globalization criteria, seeing it all as markets, products and clients. This is how economies work, but we must not use this economic criteria in culture. It is like we say that at "Museo del Prado", one paint that has only been seen by 50 people must be taken to the basement because it has only been seen by a very few visitors. Culture is not economics, is something else.

Why do writers in Catalan sell so few books in Spain?

Spain has not assumed its multinational character. If true multilingual politics had been applied, children had been taught, at least, to read and understand the diverse tongues of the State. So that a literate adult would be able to read Josep Pla without having to read a translation. And a Catalan author might sell his or her work in Spain. So that Catalan authors would not think writing in Spanish. Now, logically, if a Catalan author wants to be read the maximum possible, ends up writing in Spanish. In this sense, the presence of Catalan is disappearing, and is only read in Catalonia. And even more, in little numbers.

How has your book been received in the rest of Spain?

Practically all reviews and interviews have been in Catalonia, Galice or the Basque Country. In the rest of Spain, the book has had practically no incidence. People like to read opinions that reinforce their own,  not totally opposite ones.

Carles Bellsolà.  14/09/2008