dimarts, 4 de setembre de 2007

Reason 3: A forced marriage without love.

Once I thought of Catalonia as a badly treated wife that had to get married without wanting it.
No one could say that the union of the Catalan and Spanish cultures has been a peaceful and voluntary one.
The Spanish forces crashed into Catalonia (more than once), prohibited our culture and language and we were forced to speak and write only in Spanish language. Whoever who would oppose to this would be punished. Even children who were caught speaking Catalan at school would be punished.

For the rest of my life I will have the bitter taste in my mouth of these horrible measures against us the results of which, still today, are tangible in many ways.

How can Spanish people (=not Catalan), after so many years of oppression, expect us to feel happy to belong to Spain?
A man cannot hit his wife and at the same time expect her to feel happy with him.

And at the same time that Spain oppressed Catalonia, the Spanish authorities expected us to join the Spanish army, to kiss and swear for the Spanish flag, to sing their anthem. They don’t seem understand why we cannot feel comfortable with it. In fact (with all my respect) I find it revolting!

Even though Spain managed to impose their language and to smash ours into pieces I sense more aversion from Spaniards towards Catalans than the other way around.

But, why is there so much hatred towards us? What have we done? Perhaps Some Spaniards cannot stand that they never turned us into proud Spaniards. I don’t know. Why do they care so much that we speak their language correctly or not?
I will never have the same level in Spanish language as them. It is not my mother tongue and I don’t enjoy speaking it. As kid I was forced to learn it and forced by the fascist authorities to speak it. Still today I am forced to speak Spanish in the Spanish consulate. They don’t have any options to speak the other official languages of Spain. And their argument is that Catalonia is Spain and therefore I am forced to be able to speak their language. This is a colonial situation. They can force us to speak their language, but cannot force us to like it. They can force us to kiss their flag and sing their anthem, but not to feel it as ours and be proud. We cannot force people in Castile to learn Catalan! Not that I would like to, it’s just to show the injustice.

If I compare European relationships between countries I think our situation is most similar to Wallonia and Flanders. Wallonia tried to turn Belgium into a French speaking country. They didn’t succeed. The aversion and intolerance of some Wallonian people to the Dutch language and the Flemish culture is very similar to our situation.

These days the political situation in Belgium is impossible. 300 days after the elections there is no government. The Wallonian and Flemish politicians are not able to agree in anything. Here there is an essential difference between Belgium and Spain. In Belgium there are 3 separate states with equal democratic rights.
In Spain we have an autonomic system that was thought to give back some autonomy to the historic areas that used to have autonomy. But the autonomy we have today is the same for us as for regions that never felt any need to have autonomy at all. And in reality the Catalan government cannot take any relevant decisions.

Next to the hatred we have to see from a part of the Spanish population, Catalonia finds itself in a defenceless political and economical situation. Catalonia is not able to decide how much money is going to be invested in Catalonia (the money of our taxes is taken away and we never see it again). Catalonia has been neglected and abandoned by the Spanish government on purpose (stated on the Spanish news in July). And there is nothing we can do. We are not even able to decide if we want our airport to fly intercontinental. “Our” airport is in Spanish hands and they don’t want Barcelona to compete with Madrid. So they pull our economy artificially down to enrich themselves. Two months ago I heard of a company that prefers to open a new office in Madrid because they can fly directly to South America.

I don’t see why Catalonia has to be part of a state that still today does not show any kind of affection. To me it’s all very clear. The only way out of this is independence.

9 comentaris:

Goriaïnoff ha dit...

So ... if Catalonia is so fabulous, why do you live outside?

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

I never said Catalonia is fabulous.
Do you find it fabulous?
Who are you? Where do you come from? Where do you live?

Anònim ha dit...

I live in Spain and don't think Catalonia is under attack. You live outside Spain and think it is.Whose view do you think is closer to the truth?

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Why do you think it is so important to live in Catalonia?
It isn't.
I go 6 times a year to Barcelona, I read many papers and digital-papers.
You don't seem to read anything, as you don't seem know anything of the facts I mention here.
I can watch Catalan TV if I want it. And keep in touch perfectly.
We are not in the middle ages you know.
Aparently you only watch Spanish TV. Of course you don't see anything of what I am saying.
You don't understand anything of Catalan either. I can read both languages, so my vision of the whole is wide. You can only read the Spanish version of the story.

Goriaïnoff ha dit...

I can read Spanish perfectly well, therefore I can understand about 95% of written Catalan. Come on, both languages are extremly similar on paper.

I don't speak Catalan, but I understand a lot. I also read the Catalan press and I have many Catalan friends.

I see you are making assumptions about what you don't know. Which also holds true for your views.

Petons

Narciso ha dit...

I cant speak catalan. I'm an American born in Cuba. But have always felt it. Inexplicable. I found myself desperate in Barcelona having to have my own people speak to me in either English or Spanish. I will learn the language of my people..hopefully one day I can go back and not have to speak spanish. And will never fly into Madrid, I will fly into the Capital of my grandfather's country...Barcelona, Catalunya

Anònim ha dit...

I'm English and living in Catalunya. I'm not a "typical Brit" and I have tried to integrate even though I know I will always be a "guiri"...
It is almost impossible to learn the catalan language in England with the exception of two university courses and, as the employment I came to required me to deal with all of Spain, it was castellano that I learned (a weekly course on England and classes here).
I have absolutely no ability for languages and, at the age of 60, learning anything new is not easy - but I have tried.
The town ran free classes - great - but the tutor refused to accept questions or speak in anything other than catalan and it was a complete waste of time - the 16 who began the course were down to four by the third week and the course closed early at six weeks. But the town hall had received its funding from the Generalitat for 16 people and nobody cared...
Now, in this time of global financial crisis we have a government in Madrid producing "austerity measures" that are destroying the very fabric of life across the whole of Spain (as is clear from the public demonstrations), but Arthur Mass is using it as a justification for raising the whole spectre of "independencia" again in order to secure re-election.
I am well aware that Catalunya is not Spanish - its history is different and its culture different. I am well aware of the deprivations suffered by the catalan people at the hands of Spain at various times in their history - I'm an amateur historian. And I completely understand the pride that a catalan has in their country, their culture. their history and their language.
But...
The emphasis on the language is working against them. Shops I have used regulary for eight years will now only speak to me in catalan, I have changed the libraria I use since they stopped stocking spanish-language newspapers (I have never purchased an English newspaper since I arrived), and it goes on...
There are a mass of books appearing on the market now on the history and culture of catalunya - but they are produced exclusively in catalan! Nobody will ever understand why catalunya is different and why it has a case for much more autonomy (personally I think independence is for way down the road, but for there not to be a catalan national football squad is ridiculous).
Until somebody realises that to have their differences from Spain appreciated the need to explain it in a language that other people can read and understand, Catalunya is preaching only to itself and a Catalan already knows that they are a Catalan and not a Spaniard...
I love it here - I came to Catalunya from choice, I was a casteller until a spinal condition made it impossible, I love carrefoc, bestias and bal de bastons and I can even cope with sadanas but, the way the locals are retreating into "la lengua, la lengua, la lengua", life would be much more comfortable in Madrid...
Is catalunya under attack? No, but it is certainly not getting a fair deal and that is a situation that desperately needs to corrected - they need, and deserve, more control over their own fate - but in the meantime, life goes on...
After weeks of forceful independence talk, everything is closed today as it is "dia Nacional" - a Spanish national holiday.
Yesterday everybody was catalan, tomorrow they will be catalan again but today they're happy to be spanish!!!

Anònim ha dit...

I'm English and living in Catalunya. I'm not a "typical Brit" and I have tried to integrate even though I know I will always be a "guiri"...
It is almost impossible to learn the catalan language in England with the exception of two university courses and, as the employment I came to required me to deal with all of Spain, it was castellano that I learned (a weekly course on England and classes here).
I have absolutely no ability for languages and, at the age of 60, learning anything new is not easy - but I have tried.
The town ran free classes - great - but the tutor refused to accept questions or speak in anything other than catalan and it was a complete waste of time - the 16 who began the course were down to four by the third week and the course closed early at six weeks. But the town hall had received its funding from the Generalitat for 16 people and nobody cared...
Now, in this time of global financial crisis we have a government in Madrid producing "austerity measures" that are destroying the very fabric of life across the whole of Spain (as is clear from the public demonstrations), but Arthur Mass is using it as a justification for raising the whole spectre of "independencia" again in order to secure re-election.
I am well aware that Catalunya is not Spanish - its history is different and its culture different. I am well aware of the deprivations suffered by the catalan people at the hands of Spain at various times in their history - I'm an amateur historian. And I completely understand the pride that a catalan has in their country, their culture. their history and their language.
But...
The emphasis on the language is working against them. Shops I have used regulary for eight years will now only speak to me in catalan, I have changed the libraria I use since they stopped stocking spanish-language newspapers (I have never purchased an English newspaper since I arrived), and it goes on...
There are a mass of books appearing on the market now on the history and culture of catalunya - but they are produced exclusively in catalan! Nobody will ever understand why catalunya is different and why it has a case for much more autonomy (personally I think independence is for way down the road, but for there not to be a catalan national football squad is ridiculous).
Until somebody realises that to have their differences from Spain appreciated the need to explain it in a language that other people can read and understand, Catalunya is preaching only to itself and a Catalan already knows that they are a Catalan and not a Spaniard...
I love it here - I came to Catalunya from choice, I was a casteller until a spinal condition made it impossible, I love carrefoc, bestias and bal de bastons and I can even cope with sadanas but, the way the locals are retreating into "la lengua, la lengua, la lengua", life would be much more comfortable in Madrid...
Is catalunya under attack? No, but it is certainly not getting a fair deal and that is a situation that desperately needs to corrected - they need, and deserve, more control over their own fate - but in the meantime, life goes on...
After weeks of forceful independence talk, everything is closed today as it is "dia Nacional" - a Spanish national holiday.
Yesterday everybody was catalan, tomorrow they will be catalan again but today they're happy to be spanish!!!

Miquel Marzabal Galano ha dit...

Hi Anonymous,
Thank you for your comments and reflections. The problem of Catalan language is that we do not have a 'normal' situation and there are too many unsolved aspects and conflicts.
I do not speak a word of Spanish in Catalunya if I can avoid it. I rather speak English, Dutch, German, Italian or even French. But sometimes if people don't understand any of the languages I speak I do speak Spanish to them. The reason is that Catalan language has to become necessary in order to survive. And if Catalans keep doing what they most of the times do (switch automatically to Spanish when any foreigner-looking person addresses to them) Catalan will always remain a not necessary language. And this is our fault!
I remember speaking to South Americans, asking them whether they had learned Catalan and they told me that Catalans don't give them a chance!
I understand very well that it is not fair to expect that Spanish-speaking tourists learn Catalan before comming to Catalunya on holidays. I agree that this would be stupid. I understand you don't like it when a shop keeper speaks Catalan if you don't understand it. I must say 99% of the times in shops, restaurants and bars I see the oposite reaction, which is, that shop assistants automatically switch to Spanish and do not give any foreigner-looking client even try to speak Catalan. Also what I too often see is shop-assistants who don't understand a word of Catalan. This happens to my Dutch boyfriend over and over again, the entire day several times!
My boyfriend does not speak a word of Spanish, he is learning Catalan but people don't give him a chance, they speak in Spanish to him.
The language problem will never be solved if Catalunya remains under Spain. With an own state things can become slowly but surely clear for all.
--
As for your argument on the Spanish bank holiday, I am not so naive to think that enjoying being free because it is Christmas turns moslims into Christians!
Best regards.
Keep enjoying the good things of living in Catalunya!
Miquel Marzabal Galano