divendres, 19 de desembre de 2008

Reason 14: MORE SPANIARDS THAT ARE AGAINST CATALAN LANGUAGE


It is difficult to imagine. But please try: Imagine being in a plane of Swiss air to Barcelona. When landing the welcome message and information is given in English, German, Spanish and then Catalan. What problem should that be for passengers who don’t speak Catalan? Non. As a matter of fact, most of the passengers will not understand one of the other languages either.

But still, there seem to be passengers (if we believe what Swiss air says) that have complained because the Catalan language was used in the plane.

I find it very, very difficult to imagine. That someone has so much hatred towards Catalan language, that someone finds it so irritating that the Catalan language is being used that he/she takes pen and paper to make a letter of complaint to Swiss air.
I also find it very difficult to understand how on earth an airline company listens to this people.
If you don’t understand Catalan, why do you care about it being spoken? What’s the problem? Why does it bother you?

Up till now Swiss air was using English, German, Spanish and Catalan when landing in or taking off from Barcelona. Now they have listened to these Spanish complaints and are doing it only in English, German and Spanish.

The only reason to make such a complaint is hatred. And it really hurts me to see that hatred is being listened to instead of love.
There are no practical reasons to stop using Catalan. When Swiss air lands in Brussels they also use 4 languages, English, French, German and Dutch. And nobody complaints about it.
EVERYBODY HAPPY! Why on earth would one of these communities not be happy with it?
The use of more languages is giving attention to everyone in an equal way. If we don’t speak French when landing in Brussels we are discriminating the French speaking Belgian people. If we don’t speak Dutch when landing in Brussels we are discriminating the Flemish.
Yes, the Flemish understand perfectly French and English and most of them German too, and still it is a matter of saying: You exist, we take care of you, welcome home, welcome to your own country.
Catalans understand perfectly Spanish, but it is not my language, and by not speaking in Catalan to me you are saying to me: You don’t exist, you don’t care, we don’t care about you, your language is worthless, you are worthless, fuck you!

So, it is not about respect, it is about hatred. So simple is this.
Here again I have an argument to stand for the independence of Catalonia from Spain.
As you can see, Spain is full of people who deliberately want to boycott us (21% of Madrid citizens boycott Catalan products according to the Spanish paper ABC), to avoid us to exist, to avoid us to participate in international sports competitions, and now who find it irritating that our language is spoken in air planes.
The only way to protect ourselves from people like this is independence.
Original article in Catalan only:
http://www.directe.cat/article/swiss-air-retira-el-catala-dels-seus-vols-per-pressions-dun-afiliat-del-partit-de-rosa-die-11360

dijous, 20 de novembre de 2008

Reason 13: THEY WILL NEVER STOP IMPOSING THEIR LANGUAGE UPON US, DAMAGING OURS AS A CONSEQUENCE


I often say that the Spaniards are the ones who constantly give us reasons to want independence. I also often say that the Spaniards will never let us be. The multi-national Spain that some would like is be more difficult to achieve than independence.
Why?
Because independence we can get by our own will (without them wanting it) while a multi-national federal system can only be achieved with their collaboration and they will NEVER give away the power they’ve got over us voluntarily.
There are many signs that prove that the Spanish mentality in power today still is the imperialist one. A mentality that does not want to embrace the multi-cultural or multi-national reality of Spain.
Up till now there were 148 laws imposing the use of Spanish language in commerce. Only one law protects the Catalan language within the Catalan territory. But this law is not even being applied (perhaps because our politicians are afraid that by applying this law the hatred in Spain against Catalans would increase even more).
The fact is that the Spanish authorities this year have developed three new laws in order to reinforce and impose the hegemony of Spanish language in Spanish territory.
We all thought things would get better with democracy, but in the ‘democratic’ Spain of today this mentality hasn’t changed much. In fact the linguistic laws are pretty much the same as in times of the dictator. Everything must be in Spanish language. The other languages are not taken in consideration.
This mentality is causing a lot of trouble to develop a normal life in Catalan language; this attitude is a constant threat that is slowly bringing our mother tongue to extinction. I don’t have to say that the only and best way to get rid of this mentality is independence.

The three new laws are:
Reial Decret 1079/2008, 27 June to ensure labels in Spanish language on ham
Reial Decret 1644/2008, 10 October to ensure labels and instructions in Spanish language on machines
Reial Decret 1246/2008, 18 July to ensure that all official documents for products for veterinarians are in Spanish.

The original article on the two new laws for the Spanish language is here (Catalan only):
http://www.directe.cat/article/151-lleis-obliguen-a-etiquetar-en-castella-a-lestat-espanyol-10827

dimarts, 11 de novembre de 2008

Reason 12: SPANISH DICTATORS WITH POWER TO DAMAGE CATALONIA


Sometimes it is foreigners who open our eyes to see something we did not see of our own country. Mathew Tree is an English writer who lives and writes in Catalan language. In his blog he wrote why Apple computers still today have nothing at all in Catalan language, while a market of 9 million inhabitants is certainly big enough to take in consideration.
The reason lies in one man: the general director of Apple in Spain. This man seems to be a right wing Spanish nationalist dictator, who uses his power to impose the Spanish language to the Catalan market and blocks any developments for the Catalan language. 9 million of potential Catalan clients must switch to Spanish if they want to use a Mac. A Catalan version of the operating system is, just because of his will, blocked!
One man with the evil power to boycott the Catalan language. As you probably know this is not the only man who wants to force Catalan citizens to switch to another language than their mother tongue to purchase and use products.
Cars, computer games, chat boxes, shower gel, or even condoms. In fact the big majority of products are still not available in Catalan. For almost everything one must switch to this beautiful language that was never imposed upon us (as the Spanish king said).
Dear readers, as you know the solution I propose against this cultural torture that has been going on (and still is!) for hundreds of years is independence.
No Spanish nationalist will be ever have a chance of damaging our culture and our language from day 1 of our independence. No Spanish dictators will make a chance of forcing us to live in their language. And believe me, they won’t ever stop. They haven’t ever stopped since 1714 and they never will.
Independence is our only salvation.
Read here his article (in Catalan):
http://in.directe.cat/matthew-tree/bloc/viva-macspana

diumenge, 3 d’agost de 2008

Reason 11: CATALANS: THE DONKEYS OF SPAIN? DOUBLE ROBBERY: NOT ONLY OUR TAXES, ALSO OUR SOCIAL SERVICES



Over the last decades Spain has justified the robbery of 18 billion euros a year from Catalonia ‘to equally distribute social wealth in Spain’.
There is a Spanish refrain that says: the one who distributes is the ones who gets the biggest part. And indeed, the Spaniards are the ones who distribute the tax money in Spain (with the exception of Basque country) and what they didn’t tell us the past decades is that the purely Spanish speaking regions of Spain were getting indeed the biggest part.

Not at all equally distributed!
As a result of the robbery they are forcing us into, which they call ‘solidarity’, Spanish communities in Spain enjoy:
More doctors per inhabitant than Catalonia
Patients can count on more free treatments than Catalan patients (through the social health system), for example free dentists for children
Doctors in Spanish regions have a higher salaries than in doctors in Catalonia,
Smaller waiting lists for operations,
More schools
More computers per student
More freeways,
Cheaper railroad tickets (for the same distances) than in Catalonia,
More underground,
More scholarships for students,
---
The fact is that Catalonia has the lowest rate of civil servants per employee, just 9,8% of the Catalan employees are civil servants, while in Extremadura 28,7% of workers are civil servants.
This explains why in Catalonia doctors are working to their limits, while they earn less than doctors elsewhere in Spain.

On top of this, the last years many matters are now competence of the autonomous governments. But this hasn’t lead to a reduction of civil servants in Madrid. So, what do these civil servants do nowadays? Well, golf, tennis, having lunch all day I suppose. Because basically they have nothing to do!

Do you recognize here the stereotypes of the ‘lazy Spaniard’ and the ‘Catalan workoholic’? I am sorry to say so but I do. I wish it wasn’t like this.

In Catalonia we are given the left overs, while we pay more than anybody else.
This situation is resulting in a poorer Catalonia. Catalonia is loosing wealth. It is becomming poorer, while Spain is getting richer (purely by stealing our money and taking political action clearly against the development of Catalonia, such as with the Catalan airports, harbour of Barcelona or the industrial railroad from the harbour of Barcelona to Europe that never came).

My partner always says to me: why don’t the Catalan politicians go to the European Union and complain? Could the Catalan politicians complain at the European Parliament or somewhere else about this discrimination?

I just would like to ask all Catalans to be well informed about what Spain is doing to us.
I would like to make clear to all Catalans that as long as Catalonia is part of Spain we will be in a dificult situation, we will be daily attacked in this subtle way, we will loose wealth, loose the ability to grow and develop, we will loose culture and language.
Spain is killing us, and we are allowing this to happen!
Catalans wake up!
Catalans: let’s not be the donkeys of Spain!
Independence is the only way out.

Related articles (only in Catalan):
Catalunya és la comunitat que paga pitjors salaris als metges
http://www.elperiodico.com/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAT&idnoticia_PK=424580&idseccio_PK=1021
Catalunya és la comunitat amb menys professionals sanitaris per cada malalt
http://www.lamalla.net/societat/salut/article?id=194947
ESPANA LADRONA, SEGONS LOPEZ TENA
http://www.radiocatalunya.ca/noticia/8722/
http://www.cercleestudissobiranistes.cat/enten/xifres

diumenge, 15 de juny de 2008

Reason 10: INDEPENDENCE, the only way to get rid of foreign anti-Catalanism


Foreigners react to the Catalan reality in different ways. It is funny to read that a Danish citizen, interested by the Catalan language, came to Catalonia to study the language. He struggled in Catalonia, over and over again, to defend his language choice. Catalans and Spaniards asked him several times why he chose for Catalan and not for Spanish. In an article he wrote to Catalan people: Haven’t you got any sense of self-esteem?
Obviously very little: a Catalan friend of mine started to laugh out loud when he heard that my partner (who doesn’t speak a word of Spanish) was learning Catalan.

Thank God not all Catalans are like that: a French man married a Catalan woman (from the Spanish side of Catalonia) and went to live together with him in France. He once commented to her how handy it would be that their children would be raised in French and Spanish. The woman, shocked, answered: No way I’ll speak Spanish to my own children, they will be raised in French and Catalan!

It is true that Catalans ought to get more self esteem towards their own language and their own culture. 9 million Catalan speakers is not nothing. I also remember a Ukrainian woman telling me she couldn’t understand why Ukrainians were doing everything in Ukrainian language instead of Russian. Her argument was that the Russian language is much bigger and many more people understand it.
Then I asked her how many inhabitants Ukraine has, thinking that she was going to say something like several hundreds of thousands. The answer was nearly 50 million inhabitants.
This woman was treating Ukrainian language as if it was some kind of forgotten dialect spoken by very few people.
Catalans do the same all the time. They compare the smaller number of speakers of their own language to the bigger numbers of speakers of the imposed language. According to this argument we should all forget Spanish and all speak English, language many more people around the globe will understand.

I understand that in France, the Catalan speaking area is very small. There aren’t enough inhabitants to fill in Catalan speaking universities. But in Spain, with 9 million inhabitants that speak Catalan the territory has got more than enough citizens to have a fully in Catalan operating society.

The fact is that the Catalan language is quite unknown among Europeans. Many see it as a dialect of Spanish. Still today you can find articles in which they speak of Catalan-Spanish, as if it were a dialect. Other people just don’t even know Catalan exists at all. Many foreigners who come to Catalonia neglect it and even hate it. They come to Catalonia or to Catalan universities thinking they come to a Spanish speaking country and are disappointed when they realize it isn’t. Most Italian and French neglect Catalan completely. (As a matter of fact many Italian and French citizens who live in The Netherlands don’t speak a word of Dutch even after living here for several years). Lately we are seeing also reactions of disgust from German citizens who long to the situation Franco imposed upon us, in which Spanish was the only language allowed. Imagine going to Switzerland (Italian side) to learn German. It would be quite frustrating to go out to the street and find everything in Italian. I think that’s how they feel. The fact is that Switzerland does not sell itself as a German speaking country. Spain, as well as Switzerland, is a state with 4 different languages, with different cultures. 'A' Spanish culture does not exist. Neither thus a Spanish language. In fact, to say ‘I speak Spanish’ should sound as weird as to say ‘I speak Swiss’.

The problem here is that nobody is saying to the world that Catalonia is a Catalan speaking land. Spain counts all its citizens as Spanish speakers and sells this false idea to the world. Catalonia doesn’t have the political power to change this.

This situation leads to several conflicts. The latest conflict was an article at Air Berlin magazine, in which a director of Air Berlin in Spain showed his anti-Catalan attitude.

As long as Catalonia is not an independent country, we Catalans will have to be wasting our time defending ourselves with the tools we’ve got, blogs, complaint letters, etc.
It is a big personal effort of many citizens like me to ask for respect and claim our rights. Respect and rights any independent state gets by default. This is why I am positive we should be independent. Also to resolve these constant disappointments foreigners have. Disappointments the ones who only want to learn Catalan have as well as the ones who only want to speak and understand Spanish. If Catalonia were independent everybody would come to Catalonia understanding and accepting to become part of the Catalan culture, to learn the Catalan language. It would be so clear, so easy. No disappointments any more. The situation we have today is chaotic, unclear and unhandy.

Here follows my letter to Joachim Humbold’s article:

LETTER TO JOACHIM HUMBOLD
Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG
Saatwinkler Damm 42-43
D-13627 Berlin
Duitsland

Amsterdam, 14 June 2008

Subject: Answer to article published by Joachim Humbold in Air Berlin Magazin on the Catalan language.

Hi,
I would like to answer the questions Joachim Humbold made in an article in Air Berlin Magazine:

J. Humbold: 1 Do I have to teach Catalan to my staff?

My answer: YES. The ground stewards should speak Catalan in Catalonia, Balearic Islands and Valencia to communicate and connect with 9 million Catalan speakers.

J. Humbold: 2 And the ones who fly to Galicia of Basque country will want that we speak Galician of Basque language to them?

It is logic that one cannot learn all the languages of the world. The ground staff should speak at least the local languages + English. You cannot ask that to Flying staff.
What Air Berlin could do is to use tapes. KLM does it.
If you fly to Basque country you switch a tape on with Basque spoken instructions. If you fly to Galicia you use the Galician tape. If you fly to Catalan speaking areas you use the Catalan tape. We are in the XXI century. This is very easy to do.

J. Humbold: 3 Don’t they speak Spanish any more?

General Francisco Franco, with the help of Hitler and Mussolini won the civil war. He was the last dictator who prohibited Catalan language, who rejected it and forced us even to adopt Spanish names. He did everything in Spanish and forced us to do so.
Joachim Humbold is in the same line of General Francisco Franco with his anti-Catalan position. He should understand that. So, is Air Berlin on the Fascist side of participating to destroy and neglect Catalan language and culture? Or is Air Berlin on the side of democracy, making friends and showing respect and love towards everybody in the planet?
(I remind you that 9 million inhabitants speak the Catalan language, it is not a small dialect).
Thus, my answer is No. I stopped speaking Spanish 2 years ago. Spanish has been imposed since 1714. It has been imposed by military oppression and that’s why I hate it.
It is a very beautiful language, but because all the oppression, pain and humiliation we have to see from the Spaniards I do not wish to speak it.

J. Humbold: 4 The division of Spain into regional nationalisms brings us back to the medieval states

No. The division of Spain into regional nationalisms is the future. It is an organic, natural and democratic step, initiated by the society itself towards feeling respected, and loving and taking care of each other instead of the oppression and absolutistic regimes Spain has had since 1714. Catalans want to feel loved and respected. Catalans want to live fully in Catalan as you can live fully in German in your own country.
I want to go to the supermarket and I want to be able to buy everything without having to switch to Spanish.
The Spanish language is the biggest threat to my own language and therefore I don’t want to use it any longer.

J. Humbold: 5. I thought we lived in a Europe without frontiers.

You are wrong. We live in a Europe without commercial borders. You can sell your goods in any country within the EU. But you must obey the local laws, decided because there are borders. That’s why when you sell your products in Belgium you are not allowed to neglect the Flemish language, even though the Flemish understand perfectly the French language that it is imposed upon them. The Flemish have a local law (so there is a border) that protects their language.

J. Humbold: 6. If the Catalans came to Bavaria they would have to speak Bavarian!

Stop treating the Catalan language as if it were a dialect of Spanish.
Catalan is a Latin language, such as Italian or French, spoken by 9 million inhabitants.
It is spoken in Spain: Valencia, Catalonia, Balearic Islands; in France (Roussillon) and in the island of Sardinia, Italy (in the village of Alghero).

I can tell you one thing: go to Bavaria and try to find a Catalan citizen who lives there and doesn’t speak Bavarian and I’ll invite you to eat Sauerbraten with Allioli in my house.

Thank you for your time,
Yours Truly,
Miquel Marzabal i Galano

dimecres, 5 de març de 2008

Reason 9: Even with Zapatero we are in permanent danger of loosing our language





There are many Spanish politicians (and not only from PP) that fight for Spanish education in Catalonia. With which hundreds of thousand children would only speak Spanish and not Catalan. Spanish speakers tend to speak Spanish even if they have learned Catalan because they can express themselves better. Only total education in Catalan language improves the situation of Catalan language in Catalonia.
For the first time in my life I hear young second generation immigrants speaking to me in Catalan when they notice I am Catalan. If they had gone to a Spanish speaking school they would never do that. The so called ‘inversió lingüística’ has helped improve the situation of the Catalan language among young people.
Several times I have had encounters with Spanish speakers who deny that the Catalan language is in danger. We know that unfortunately the numbers don’t lie: the percentage of Catalan speakers in Catalonia has decreased, the territory where Catalan language is spoken has decreased, etc.
Many Spaniards say our language protection laws are fascist laws. Well, I can assure you that in civilized countries such as Switzerland, Belgium or Canada this kind of laws are accepted by everyone and nobody is making associations with a fascist regime. First of all because they have been chosen democratically.

In Belgium and Switzerland the territory is divided by linguistic zones. Each zone has only one official language: its own!
In Belgium, as well as in Catalonia, it is allowed to fund private schools in any language you like. But the state schools must give lessons only in the local official language. And nobody tells them they are fascists.

The situation of the Flemish language is very different than ours. They don’t have the necessity to protect by Law the labels of products, shops or restaurant menus. They don’t have 30% of French speakers in their territory. And where there is a mix of French speakers and Flemish they have a bizarre volunteer apartheid. Flemish costumers never go to French speaking shops. And you won’t find any French speakers in a Flemish shop either. Can you imagine if this was the situation in Catalonia? What would then happen?

In Quebec the situation is much more similar to ours. The Québécois had to take more measures to protect their language. Quebec does have a big minority of foreigners who only speak English. The Québécois are like the Catalans, if they go to a shop where they only speak English they think: “It’s OK, I understand them and I speak their language”. This is very noble, but very bad if you want your language to survive from extinction.
And without any protective laws companies would do as they do in Catalonia: forget the French language and label only in English.
And that’s why in Quebec there is a law that says that it is compulsory to label in French language all products, shops, restaurants, etc.

It is now clear that a majority of Spanish politicians think that it should be possible to live anywhere in Spain by using the Spanish language. That’s why they see our linguistic policy as a threat. They don’t understand (and will never do) that this would be like to force the Flemish to accept French schools in the Flemish territory, or to force the Swiss to all learn and use the German language. Well, this sounds as fascist to me!

At the moment we are obliged at school to learn a language that is not ours. A language that does not belong to this land. They see this as normal. And I think many Catalans see this as normal too.
But this is not normal. This is just the result of an absolutist regime, imposed by absolutist kings and dictators.
If ‘democratic’ politicians as today’s PP and PSOE politicians still have this mentality, the only way to avoid for ever this kind of attacks and be sure we can protect and develop our culture and our economy without obstacles is total independence from Spain.


information in Dutch language source:
http://www2.vlaanderen.be/taalwetgeving/taalgrens_en_taalgebieden.html
information in Catalan language source:
http://www.directe.cat