diumenge, 1 de novembre de 2009

Reason 20: To break with Spanish fascism: independence

I have never spoken about fascism because for me it seems something from the past, very far away from my life. Here in Holland, as well as in Catalonia, fascism merely exists in reduced groups of losers who try to find some kind of excitement in their lives by joining this kind of radical and anti-democratic ideas, but you will never find this kind of people in the power.

A year ago I was very shocked to see a documentary about German Nazis living in Fascist homes for elderly people in Madrid. I did not know that Franco welcomed Nazis in Spain after WW2, who found in Spain a fascist paradise and still today are living in their fascist paradise as if nothing had changed.

And unfortunately it seems that no so much has changed in Spain after all. During the last year I have encountered several news about people in power with either fascist ideas or a fascist past. Something you won’t find in any European country (with the exception of Austria).

They don’t say they are fascists, but act as fascist, have a fascist past and if you do a little search you discover several surprising connections with fascist organisations such as the political party of Franco himself, Falange de las JONS.

Some examples:

1. The king of Spain, Juan Carlos, was chosen by Franco himself. Still in 2005 he paid tribute to dictators Primo de Rivera and Franco in a lecture he gave. (article in Spanish: http://www.purnas.com/2009/08/13/agradeciendo-a-su-mentor-juan-carlos-i-y-el-generalisimo/)

2. The Spanish state was against the referendum for independence of Arenys the Munt (a village with only 8000 inhabitants) and wanted to prohibit it. They were not against the demonstration against the referendum organised by the fascist party of Francisco Franco himself, Falange de las J.O.N.S. So, in order to try to prohibit it they sent a lawyer from the government. This lawyer, Mr. Jorge Buxadé, has been, in the 90’s twice candidate of the fascist party Falange de las J.O.N.S.

(in Catalan: http://www.naciodigital.cat/?seccio=noticies&accio=veure&id=12003)

3. Still today Nazi Germans live in Spain in all freedom in Nazi homes. Franco welcomed them and they are still there.


4. The TSJC (Tribunal Superior Judicial de Catalunya), the highest judicial court of Catalonia, found it anti-democratic to want to prohibit a demonstration by the anti-democratic and fascist party Falange de las J.O.N.S. against the democratic referendum, organised by the people of Arenys the Munt and in which all citizens could vote yes or no (democracy). They did not find it anti-democratic that the Spanish government they represent tried to prohibit this peaceful referendum. This clearly explains the poor democratic vision of the Spanish authorities this court belongs to.

5. In Spain to burn a Spanish flag is prosecuted. To burn a Catalan flag is not prosecuted.

6. Also members of the Spanish Constitutional court (Tribunal Constitucional) appear to have important positions in the Franco regime as you can read here: (in Spanish: www.elplural.com, con el titular de "Un falangista en el Constitucional", el diario Público realizó ayer un extenso estudio sobre el pasado y el presente de uno de los jueces que conforman el Tribunal Constitucional. El magistrado Roberto García-Calvo destaca por su conservadurismo y su protagonismo en la provincia de Almería en la recta final de la Dictadura. De los duros Ultraconservador y reticente a la apertura del Régimen, García-Calvo se mantuvo en el cargo de Gobernador Civil entre abril de 1976 y marzo de 1977 en Almería –como también informó hace unos meses elplural.com. No obstante, en este breve período, García-Calvo dejó una fuerte impronta: varias huelgas reprimidas sin miramientos y un asesinato sin resolver, el del joven militante de la Joven Guardia Roja Javier Verdejo, abatido por la Guardia Civil cuando realizaba una pintada con espray. Represor Según puede leerse en el periódico dirigido por Nacho Escolar, cuando le dieron el aviso, el ahora juez del Constitucional García-Calvo estaba de cena en Cabo de Gata y se limitó a tomar otra copa. Sus reacciones posteriores se caracterizaron por la dureza de la represión contra las manifestaciones de protesta que tuvieron lugar en la provincia con motivo del asesinato del joven y su ciego apoyo a los guardias civiles implicados en el caso. "Más que negociar, amenazaba" Calificado por algunos sindicalistas de la época de "represor", el juez García-Calvo protagonizó más episodios violentos en las zonas más pobres de Almería, en una época durante la cual las huelgas se reproducían por toda España. Los tiempos comenzaban a cambiar, pero la evolución se detenía para algunos, como García-Calvo, que, "más que negociar, amenazaba". Ahora, "constitucionalista" Con un franquismo ya más que fenecido, García-Calvo se considera hoy "constitucionalista", al igual que muchos miembros del PP con un pasado ligado al régimen dictatorial. Un currículo que no levanta esperanzas de cara al futuro de las reformas progresistas emprendidas por el Ejecutivo de Zapatero, algunas de las cuales tendrán que pasar por el Tribunal Constitucional, al que el ex gobernador civil de Almería todavía pertenece.)

7. Partido Popular, the biggest right wing party of Spain, is either the first or the second biggest party in Spain. This party holds several pro-Franco members and it’s ideas are in line with fascism as a study shows here:

in Spanish: http://bgta.hollosite.com/blog/?p=685, explaining that the 14 main characteristics of fascism appear to be 14 main characteristics of the PP: http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

Another example: Franco was made as a symbolic gesture the Mayor of Salamanca for ever. And PP has decided not to abolish this Franco this honour, a clear gesture of pro-fascism and let Franco remain the Mayor of Salamanca for ever:

PP was the only party not to condemn the fascist attacks made in Basque country agains war monuments that honour the victims of the Spanish civil war:

No doubt there will be several more articles on this matter, but I think this is enough for now of this disgusting and bitter reality of who is in power in Spain.

The only country in Western Europe that has some similarities with Spain in this matter is Austria, country where fascism neither was punished properly in its time.

There is no doubt that to clean Spain from fascism is an almost impossible task. Almost impossible to realise by Spaniards themselves, completely impossible to achieve by Catalans or Basques.

The only and most effective way to get rid of fascism for us is independence. As long as Catalonia is under Spanish power, we will daily suffer under the fascist mentality that conditions our possibilities to grow and develop. Fascism is per definition an enemy of Catalonia and a friend of Spanish supremacy in Catalonia. Perhaps this is the reason why Spaniards are not interested in getting rid of it at all.
1. Franco with the Spanish king Juan Carlos
2. Jorge Buxadé, Spanish lawyer who was candidate for Falange de las J.O.N.S.
3. Hooligans of Real Madrid express their fascist ideas singing fascist songs, shouting against black football players and making fascist gestures with their arms.

dimecres, 23 de setembre de 2009

Reason 19: Only way to have 500 magazines in Catalan

The picture you see here will be the normal situation in a Catalan magazine store in the future. Today this is fiction.

I was in the airport of Barcelona walking around and entered a magazine store. There were so many magazines. There are magazines for any aspect of human life, for each sport, for furniture, interior design, hair, fashion, crime, gossip, etc.
Seeking for magazines in my mother tongue I realized that 99,9% of the magazines in this store were all in Spanish language. I asked the cashier if she knew how many magazines there were in her shop but she did not know the answer. I only found two magazines in Catalan language. Hundreds in Spanish.
I made a picture with my mobile phone and left. I had found a new reason why Catalonia must become an independent state in Europe.
Once in Amsterdam I sat down behind my computer and made a search to find out how many Dutch magazines there are. 1859 magazines, all in Dutch language.
I have been in several countries and I know that independent states, even with less inhabitants than Catalonia, have several magazines, all in the state’s main language.
In the Netherlands (country that became independent from Spain in 1581 and as a result of that enjoyed an incredible prosperity during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) there are 1859 maganizes, all in Dutch. With a population of 16 million and a similar size to Catalonia, it is compulsory to learn the Dutch language in order to become naturalized in the Netherlands . Sweden has about 460 magazines, a population of only 9 million inhabitants. In Sweden the Swedish language is even compulsory to get a job, even without getting naturalized. Obviously Catalonia does not enjoy the power of decision to protect its culture as independent states have. But even more important than this is the automatic status a culture gets once it ha the status of an independent country.
This because most multinationals divide the world markets by the states in which they operate and do not contemplate the stateless cultures unless they have a strong federal characer, such as Belgium. An clear example of this is Apple computers, that has its headquarters in Madrid and neglects repetedly Catalan consumer needs, even though more people speak Catalan than Norwegian or Finish. Companies that develop their markets from a cultural point of view will be more succesful and will do better business because they adapt better to the cultural realities of each cultural area. Unfortunately most multinationals don’t do that. They see us as part of the Spanish market. And as long as we purchase their magazines in Spanish language we are being our own enemy. Catalan people should not purchase maganizes or papers in Spanish language in order to protect and stimulate the development of magazines in Catalan language. As long as we act as part of the Spanish market we will never be able to develop a normal situation. On the other hand it is too easy to blame only the Catalans for this, after all, we want to live a normal life and enjoy life. Even though many of us might prefer a Catalan magazine or Catalan Wii games, we do end up purchasing them in Spanish language rather than not purchasing them at all.
This unfortunate situation affects badly the development of the Catalan language.
Magazines are automatic development language tools and a language without magazines is an unhealthy language. As a result of this many Catalans have to use Spanish for words they don’t know in Catalan because they simply never appear anywhere, car parts, all kind of specialised products are only labelled in Spanish language and the magazines that talk about these products are only in Spanish. This makes Catalan language poor and dependent on Spanish language (and French in north Catalonia).
The independence of Catalonia will solve this problem in just a day! The day we have an independent state we’ll be able to develop an own market with a Catalan point of view in which the Catalan language will be able to develop itself independently from the Spanish or French languages. And this will help the economy too.
Obviously nor Norway (that got independence from Sweden in 1905) or Finland (that got independence from Russia in 1917) would have as many magazines as today in own language if they still were regions of Sweden and Russia respectively. Only independence will save the Catalan language and its normal use in society.

dimarts, 9 de juny de 2009

Reason 18: EUROPEAN SARDANA or The only way to defend our interests in the European parliament as any other European country

An independent state with 7 million inhabitants (Catalonia has 7,5 million from last week) has got approximately 17 parliamentarians.
Catalonia will have only 7 parliamentarians. This is way below what will belong to us when we are an independent state.
Not only if we compare the amount of parliamentarians with those of independent states we have a very low rate of representation in the European Chamber. Also if we compare Catalonia with other Spanish autonomous communities Catalonia has way too few.
You can check it out here (only in Catalan):


No wonder, all people who voted PSC-PSOE were actually voting for Spanish parliamentarians, not for Catalan parliamentarians, as the Spanish parliamentarians of PSC-PSOE have priority above the Catalan colleagues and so the Spanish ones are the ones who will actually move to Brussels.
Obviously this problem will only be solved the day that Catalonia becomes an independent state. 17 parliamentarians will defend our interests much better, not to mention that as an independent state we will have a voice with as much power as any other state. As for now, Catalonia is like a province and has no power what so ever in the decisions taken by the European Union, which is a union of states, and therefore Catalonia again does not exist.
Obviously this is a very important tool to defend our interests and with no doubt (unfortunately) I have to say that Spain never has and never will defend our interests, the contrary.

dijous, 14 de maig de 2009

Reason 17: Only way to ensure normal distribution of all Catalan TV channels

When I was little (around 25 years ago) people already said how nice it would be to be able to see all TV channels in Catalan language; not only our TV but also the TV from Valencia and the Balearic islands.
In the Netherlands, around 30 or 40 years ago they already could see the TV of their southern Flemish neighbours, who also speak the same language. To have the same mother tongue creates an emotional bond and it facilitates collaboration between both territories. Singers, writers, students and workers go back and forth and work in both territories and feel perfectly integrated without any effort. There are even possibilities to go to a Flemish hospital when Dutch hospitals have long waiting lists. All of this because we speak the same language. We all know how that in the Catalan countries (Països Catalans) singers from Mallorca or Valencia can become stars in Catalonia and that students come to Barcelona and can study in Catalan and feel perfectly ‘at home’ among the Catalans.
So, what’s wrong? Why, after 30 years of ‘democracy’ in Spain it is still not possible to arrange something as easy as to allow all Catalan speaking territories to see the TV channels of their neighbours? Well, this is Spain, and Spain is still different. Yes, we are in the European Union, yes we do have a kind of ‘democracy’. But in Spain, just like in Russia, the media are controlled by politicians. And they are Spanish nationalists who are at the power and whose interest is to ensure that the Catalan countries remain as separated as possible. They do this in different ways. One of them is by redirecting all possibilities of transport to Madrid and impoverishing the trans-Catalan connections (as they have been doing the last 15 years with all ways of transportation, train, highways and flight routes).
Another is by impeding that the Catalan territories talk or listen to each other by avoiding the development of a Pan Catalan confederation of communications (TV, radio). The last steps in this direction were to ban Catalan TV from Valencia (until last year Valencians could watch Catalan TV) and also to ban Catalan TV from North Catalonia (France).
But now the Spanish nationalists have a new tool to ensure that we don’t mingle much with our Catalan speaking neighbours: TDT.
TDT is the new digital TV, which soon will substitute the old analog system. It seems that this will give the Spanish nationalists even more power to avoid us watch the TV channels of our Catalan speaking neighbours.
The territories in which Catalan is being spoken is quite big. Most of them with own TV channels. Valencia, Catalonia, Balearic Islands, North Catalonia (France), Andorra and even Alghero in Italy has an own TV channel in Catalan language. With more than 9 million inhabitants who speak it, it is not the smallest language in Europe.
I am afraid that, here again I will be right: only the independence of Catalonia will give us the power to realise this.
Can you imagine how many TV channels we will have the day we are an independent country? We will have the tools to get all TV channels in Catalan language in the world without the interference of any anti Catalan politician.
For now we will have to go on the activist way, which is a lot of work and unfortunately it does not work very often. But this is the only tool we have.
If you agree with having as many as possible TV channels in Catalan here is a link in which you can send a letter to the Spanish minister of industry asking him to make it possible (only in Catalan).
To be honest, I don’t expect anything, but I just can’t sit and see how they keep applying all sorts of limitations to us and do nothing about it. I think it is important to let them know what we want, and that we are not happy with what they are doing. We also give them a chance to do something about it, to take away another reason to wish independence.
They don’t seem to be aware of the fact that by giving us the freedom to develop ourselves we would not see any benefits in becoming independent. Their wish to transform us into Spaniards is what feeds our wish to become independent.
Articles on this theme (in Catalan):

dijous, 5 de març de 2009


According to Xarxanet.com, in 2007 Catalans paid 40 million euros of IRPF-tax for social purposes (for ONG’s). Only 13 came back to Catalonia.
According to Cercle d’Estudis Sobiranistes, in 2008 we paid 47 million euros and only 17 came back. The rest was given to Spanish ONG’s.

But this is not enough: The Spanish government is preparing a new law that will exclude any ONG that is not operating in the whole Spanish territory from this subsidies. If this law goes through SPANISH ONG’s WILL GET ALL THE MONEY, CATALAN ONG'S WILL GET NOTHING.
The Catalan government hasn’t got any power of decision to stop this and can only complain to the Spanish one, who has all power of decision. The Spanish government might not go on with it. Whether this new law goes on or not Catalan ONG’s are and will be in disadvantage.

Spain has impeded our development ever since they took our sovereignty from us in 1714. Nothing makes me think this attitude will ever change. They are constantly seeking for ways to unify Spain, to break us into smaller parts, so that we can be more easily assimilated, to weaken us, so that we don’t speak, and Catalan ONG’s obviously are another way of doing this. I can imagine if Catalan ONG’s have no money they can do very little. And I can imagine this is a very easy way to exclude any ONG that fights for Catalonia without having to mention a word about it. Spanish nationalists are getting smarter by the day.

Whether this new law goes on or not, the independence of Catalonia is the only way to guarantee Catalan ONG’s to get financial support for the present and the future.
Source (in Catalan only): http://www.xarxanet.org/xarxanet/novetatsDetall.xarxanet?nov_novetatId=187307

dijous, 5 de febrer de 2009

Reason 15: Independence, the only way to ever hear 'bon dia' out of the mouth of an Egyptian tourist guide: the only way to exist abroad

Today reading a blog of a Catalan citizen who lives in Egypt I read:
“in Sharm al-Sheikh and in Cairo you can find some touristic guides who studied Spanish (Castillian is not used by anyone outside of our territory [the Catalan countries]). They say that for them, to learn the Catalan ‘dialect’ is of no use because it would not bring them any benefit”.*

Even though the Catalan language is ‘only’ spoken by 9 million inhabitants, the fact is that never anyone would say such a thing of the Swedish, Dutch or Danish language (other languages with more or less the same amount of speakers as Catalan).

I am positive that many Egyptian tourist guides have even learned some words of Dutch to impress the Dutch tourists. So why do they make an effort to impress Dutch citizens and don’t bother making any efforts for Catalan tourists?

As you can imagine, the answer to this question is very easy: Catalonia is not an independent state, the language of the state Catalans belong to is Spanish. This is the way foreigners all over the world see it. And this is the way most Spaniards see it too. This is also the way Spanish embassies function. There is no trace of any other language than the Spanish one.
The Catalan language, no matter what it is, outside of Catalonia has the status of a dialect (in Catalonia just a little bit more than that). Thousands of Dutch citizens go to Barcelona to learn ‘the language’, and when they say this they mean the Spanish language.
So, in Catalonia the state language is Spanish.
Without a state the Catalan language will always be very difficult to protect. It will always be a struggle.
The entire world sees the Catalan language (if they have any idea of it at all) as something useless that bothers them.

The day that Catalonia becomes an independent state, this day no one in the world will have any doubt about the importance of learning Catalan when coming to live in Catalonia or to learn some Catalan words to impress Catalan tourists. Being the language of an independent state, The Catalan language will enhance its status all over the world automatically. It will also increase its presence enormously. Catalan embassies with Catalan ambassadors will be located in capital cities around the world with its Catalan staff that will make them run. The international communication with Catalonia will be partially in Catalan language and no multinational will even think of not offering their products in the language of the Catalan people. They will speak and study the ‘Catalan market’, instead of neglecting us including us into the Spanish (=Castilian) market. Translators all around the world will be needed, to translate thousands of texts or to translate simultaneously conversations with citizens of the Catalan state. The Catalan literature, the film industry and other arts will get a lot more of attention, in Catalonia and abroad. Today Catalans are paying taxes to promote abroad the Spanish (=Castilian) culture. Catalan books, Catalan movies will participate to the constellation of movies and books of all other states and will be much more likely to win international prices.
The day we are independent the entire world will know that we exist. They will know that Barcelona is not the second city of Spain, but the capital of Catalonia. They will learn that the language of Catalonia is Catalan. Only this fact will change dramatically the efficiency of our (nowadays almost useless) struggle to survive.
Thousands of foreigners will come to Barcelona to study ‘the language’ (the Catalan language, of course!).
This day, when we go to Egypt on vacation they will not say to us “amygo” , “bienos dias”, “por fabor” to try to please us. They will say “amic”, “bon dia”, “si us plau” to make us feel welcome.

Today to hear an Egyptian tourist guide say something in Catalan to us sounds to us like science fiction. Tomorrow it will be a reality.

*Source is in Catalan: http://blogs.ccrtvi.com/catalanspelmon.php?itemid=17063#nucleus_cf