Queries in Catalunya

Today’s the day. 700,000 Catalans are eligible to vote in referenda organised by local municipalities on independence.
The Scotsman reports that 161 villages and towns are to follow the lead of Arenys De Munt in September where 96% of the 40% turnout voted for independence. Girona voting today – Barcelona in the New Year.
Syniadau has been following closely. He’s running a live results blog tonight. To the sentimental amongst you he referred to the story of an Englishman in Catalunya. That’s really worth a read.

Implications? – well the Spanish government managed to ban the Basque referendum propsed by Juan José Ibarretxe but is seemingly powerless in this case. The background to it all is a critical decision due from the Constitutional Court of Spain. Is the Statute of Automony legitimate comstitutionally?. Challenged by the Partido Popular the Court is due to report soon. Whatever the referenda result I humbly suggest in the current climate restricting Catalan powers wouldn’t seem the wisest approach to maintaining the Union.
Note that FC Barcelona have taken sides –About 8 paragraphs down.
Independencia… tu decideixes!!

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  • RepublicanStones

    Interesting Dewi. Good to see the perserverance of identity against the complete ‘castilinization’ of these regions.

  • RepublicanStones

    Also good to see the Falangists being drowned out.

  • Purple rain

    thanks Dewi, nice spot.

    very interesting events. Whats impressive is the strength of the organisation and how engrained it is in the Catalan society.

    Republican Stones, You may be intersted to hear that when i was in Pau, in south france, they had a fest noc, or celebration of Occitan culture there. Occitan is northern catalan.

  • Only 9% of the Catalans are taking part these demostrations, for a start. And I’d like to remind RepublicanStones the fact that Spain IS NOT Falange. That is precisely the Fascists’ motto.

  • Dewi

    Only 9% – that’s a start.

  • oneill

    “2.Also good to see the Falangists being drowned out”

    RS

    Who do you regard as the “Falangists” in this case? The large percentage of the Catalan population who are now denied the right to have their children educated in their mother-tongue?

  • RepublicanStones

    Who do you regard as the “Falangists” in this case?

    Ehh the ones making the facist salutes

    It is interesting too that the Spanish government allowed a demonstration in Arenys de Munt on referendum day by the Falangists, supporters of Franco’s dictatorship, who waved Spanish flags and made fascist salutes. There were only a handful of them and they were hopelessly outnumbered by the huge crowds who were there to support independence, but a demonstration like this would have been banned in some other European countries – not in Catalonia with a desperate Spanish government fighting against a surge of support for autonomy.

    You guys do read the links….don’t you?

  • RepublicanStones

    fascist*

  • Sam Thompson

    the Spanish establishment is crazy. Catalunya wants away, there is a popular Basque independence movement, and they ignore this, whilst trying to obtain another bunch of people (albeit much smaller) on the rock, who similarly want nothing to do with them. Totally disinterested in what the people in any of those places want, only clinging on because these regions are economically strong or strategically important…

  • Dewi

    “The large percentage of the Catalan population who are now denied the right to have their children educated in their mother-tongue?”

    2 hours a week compulsory Spanish in every primary school O’Neill – or were you referring to people with another mother tongue?

  • Guest

    “Catalunya”
    English is a beautiful language but sometimes it’s just shite.

  • Dewi

    Result:

    Yes – 94.71%
    No – 3.53%
    Blank – 1.76%

    Turnout – slightly less than 30%

    La Vanguardia via Google translate.

  • oneill

    Dewi,

    “2 hours a week compulsory Spanish in every primary school O’Neill – or were you referring to people with another mother tongue?”

    I suspect you know fine well Dewi what people I’m referring to you, but just in case:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/04/spain

    “Catalonia, Catalan is the language in all state schools, with Spanish only taught for up to three hours a week. An anti-nationalist party, Ciutadans (Citizens), was launched in 2006 to oppose ‘linguistic politics’ in Catalonia, but its leader, Albert Rivera, has received death threats. ‘Fifty per cent of the population of Catalonia are from Spanish-speaking origins, and it is impossible to study in Spanish in private schools or in state schools,’ said Carina Mejías, spokeswoman of the opposition right-wing Popular party in the Catalan parliament”

    I presume you’d argue that parents in both Northern Ireland and Wales have the right to have their children fully educated (and not just merely 2 hours *compulsory* lessons weekly) in either Irish and Welsh respectively?

    So what then is your argument denying that very same right to the sizeable minority of Spanish speakers in Catalunya?

  • Dewi

    “I presume you’d argue that parents in both Northern Ireland and Wales have the right to have their children fully educated (and not just merely 2 hours *compulsory* lessons weekly) in either Irish and Welsh respectively?”

    No – I think there should be compulsory English teaching for these children also. Maybe two to three hours a week.

    I haven’t met a Catalan kid who isn’t bilingual on the basis of these lessons and inter-action via the media just like all kids from Welsh Medium schools are fluent in English.

    Couple of questions O’Neill

    1) Do you think the primary language of all primary schools in England should be English?

    2) If so what’s the difference between areas of England and Catalonia?

  • oneill

    “No – I think there should be compulsory English teaching for these children also. Maybe two to three hours a week.”

    That’s skirting round the question. Everything being equal, do parents have the right to have their children educated in their mother tongue, be it English, Irish, Welsh or Spanish? Your answer seems to be “Depends”…

    “I haven’t met a Catalan kid who isn’t bilingual on the basis of these lessons and inter-action via the media just like all kids from Welsh Medium schools are fluent in English.”

    I’ll take your word for it. But again, you’re avoiding my main point which is the moral one; does the UK state have the right to dictate to parents in NI or Wales which language their children should be taught in? If not ,then the comparatively much larger % of Spanish speakers in Catalunya should have the right to have their children educated in their mother tongue.

    “1) Do you think the primary language of all primary schools in England should be English?”

    I think children should be expected to reach a high enough standard of English to enable them to not only cope, but also prosper in the post-education world.

    Does that necessarily mean then their education should be conducted 100% or even 95% in the English language? No.

    Do Spanish mother-tongue students and pupils in Catunluya need their education to be 85% + in the Catalan language in order to prosper in the post-education world? No.

    “2) If so what’s the difference between areas of England and Catalonia?”

    My answer to your first question was “no”, but anyway, the obvious difference is that Catalunya is a semi-autonomous region of a larger state, where the vast majority of the population speak either the regional or the national language as mother tongue.

  • cymrp

    Oneil:

    The Catalans have the same right to defend and promote their language as the Spanish and English. So-called ‘bilingual education’ where the minority language is taught as an extra doesn’t work. In communities like Catalonia where Spanish is still the dominant language, the only effective way that kids come out of school fluent in two languages is that the minority language (and the indiginous language in this case) is the main language of education with the stronger and more prestigious language (Spanish in this case) introduced later.

    It’s not just a matter of individual choice it’s the choice of the community as a language is a community thing. Your view will lead to language shift (or death) for the indiginous language – that’s what’s happened around the world, and in Catalonia until recently.

    Your view is the thin end of the wedge which would then see these kids who would speak Spanish and crap Catalan then complain that they can’t get jobs ‘cos they can’t speak Catalan. And then of course, there’s the argument that you shouldn’t have to speak Catalan because people (who’ve refused the opportunity to learn it!) can’t speak it.

    It’s simple, all the kids in Catalonia come out of school fluent in two languages – that’s when they go to the work-place. If their parents don’t like the idea that they aren’t educated in Spanish then there are some 20 states where Spanish is the sole language of education as well as most of the rest of Spain. Why chose to live in 60,000 square km if they don’t wish to integrate?

    Will you tell the Portuguese to educate your kids in Spanish? No, but then Portugal was lucky and became independent whilst Catalonia lost the war in 1714 and against Franco which is the reason they’re a part of the Spainsh state. And of course, the reason they’re a ‘semi-autonymous state’ in Spain is because people like the mainstream Spanish parties under the god-given constitution won’t allow them to become independent! Couldn’t make it up. Catch-22!

    Ciutadans (Citizens) aren’t ‘anti-nationalists’ they’re Spanish nationalists. Two competing national narratives are set against one another. It’s like saying only black people are ‘coloured’ cos, you know, white is the normal colour isn’t it.

    This prejudice against smaller languages will lead to a world of a few languages; English, Spanish and Chinese and Arabaic. And then, it will lead to one – and it won’t be Spanish.

    The indiginous language of Catalonia is Catalan. Spanish is spoken there through the might of the sword and deliberate policies of the Spanish state.

    If people who move to Catalania or who persist in refusing to integrage, then maybe they should chose a country which doesn’t affront their ears so much.

  • oneill

    cymrp

    A distinctly ethno- as opposed to civic-nationalist (you’re not Adam Price in disquise or you?!) argument which ultimately does the language it seeks to protect more harm than good.

    To take but one example:

    “It’s not just a matter of individual choice it’s the choice of the community as a language is a community thing.”

    Who gets to define what comprises “the community” in question, the state (or quasi-state in terms of Catalunya)? And if there is a substantial part outside that defined community who “persist” in demanding that their children should be taught in their mother-tongue, do you really think it is the correct solution in a EU country in 2009 they should be told, as you suggest in the last paragraph, to “maybe” “choose” to get out of the region where they have been born or their family has lived in for generations?

    D

  • Dewi

    That’s skirting round the question. Everything being equal, do parents have the right to have their children educated in their mother tongue, be it English, Irish, Welsh or Spanish? Your answer seems to be “Depends”..

    I think it does depend. For instance close to you I think every school in the Western Isles should be Gaelic medium or the langauge dies. What do you think?

  • oneill

    “I think it does depend”

    On what?
    Solely on which group of parents is doing the asking? Do you not agree that it should be at least a theoretical universal human right?

    The Western Isles, I have got no idea aboutin terms of mother-tongue speakers, parental demand etc. If the demand is there (and “without prejudice to the teaching of the language of the state” as the European Charter defines it) then sure. But only if the parents want it, not as an act of cultural compulsion as you seem to be implying.

  • Dewi

    OK – there’s about thirty Welsh speaking communities in the world where over 80% of the village speak Welsh – I wouldn’t allow in-migrants from Poland, Brazil or Manchester to change the language of the local school. Fair?

  • Rory Carr

    I see that Catalunya already has its own international soccer team and is playing in friendlies against other (mainly Latin American) nations. Fot its next friendly against Argentina, Catalunya manager, Johann Cruyff has called up six Barca players and also Ces Fabregas of Arsenal. In the latter case however Wenger is determined that Fabregas will not be released but this refusal is based on the fixture being a friendly rather than on any stance over Catalunya’s claim to national status.

  • john barnes

    can you really say that any Catalonians care for independence if such a small number turn out to vote?

  • Dewi

    Smaller turnout than hoped for admittedly – but it was a voluntary effort without the state effort and funding that would usually go into such referenda.

    Jill Evans MEP from Plaid was there as an observer. Here’s her take:

    A message from Catalunya

  • Dewi

    Freedom
    From today’s Western Mail

  • Reader

    Dewi: OK – there’s about thirty Welsh speaking communities in the world where over 80% of the village speak Welsh – I wouldn’t allow in-migrants from Poland, Brazil or Manchester to change the language of the local school.
    Not clear whether you are describing territorial rights for languages, or language rights for people. To decide this – what would your position be on separate provision for those outsiders in other schools in the community, or in other classrooms in the existing schools?

  • Doctor Who

    Shocking at the amount of ignorance being shown towards this subject.

    Catalunya does not want out, not once has the Catalan govt. proposed a proper reforendum. Why? Well because they know they would be comfortably defeated.

    Doing it underhand and only selecting known catalan nationalists, while a prpaganda ploy, is actually making them a laughing stock. Even those catalans that want to have a sensible debate on autonomy will not par-take in this charade.

    The problem with the extremists in Catalonia is that they have forced things to far, refusal to speak Castellano and demanding it is not taught in schools is just one of many things that many are embarassed about.

    Given that 40% of people in Barcelona are not of Catalan descent will ensure that the semi autonomous region of Catalunya will never be independent.

    repulicanstones

    ” Good to see the perserverance of identity against the complete ‘castilinization’ of these regions. ”

    Shocking ignorance from rs. Other autonomous regions in Spain have their own language Galicia and my own home of Valencia for example. Valenciano is the spoken language on the street where I live, it is the first language in schools but it is also given equal status with castellano. Language is not used as a devisive tool here in Valencia, the way republicans use Gaelic in Ireland. There is no desire for an independent Valencia and little desire for an independent Galicia.

    rory carr

    The Spanish regions have always played these friendly internationals, which are not recognised by FIFA. The reason so many Barca players have been released to play is La Liga matches are suspended for the Christmas period. Fabregas will of course be turning out for his employers, The Arsenal.

  • Dewi

    “Not clear whether you are describing territorial rights for languages, or language rights for people. To decide this – what would your position be on separate provision for those outsiders in other schools in the community, or in other classrooms in the existing schools?”

    As is done I’d provide special assimilation facilities for accelerated learning of Welsh so that the child can integrate quickly.

    Doctor Who – I hadn’t been to Catalunya for about 20 years till recently and was astounded at the change. I think it’s slipping away slowly but surely. One thing I;m certain of is that the Catalans would dearly love their international team to be recognised by FIFA (applied many times) – what’s Spain’s problem with that?

  • Doctor Who

    Dewi

    “I hadn’t been to Catalunya for about 20 years till recently and was astounded at the change. I think it’s slipping away slowly but surely. One thing I;m certain of is that the Catalans would dearly love their international team to be recognised by FIFA (applied many times) – what’s Spain’s problem with that?”

    Nonsense. There is no desire for Catalunta to have a seperate football association away from Spain. While many would welcome such a venture, the people that matter realise the consequences of a sporting breakaway would hit the pockets of clubs like Barcelona and Espanyol. Catalunya cannot apply to FIFA to have a national team of Catalans recognised as seperate from Spain,as they are region of Spain. They have on occasion applied to UEFA citing the British sides as examples and been unamimously rejected by UEFA members. FIFA statutes only allow them to be considered as a new national team once they have gained independence. The rules allowing the associations of NI, England, Scotland and Wales to play seperately are clearly defined in FIFA statutes.

    While you may have not been there for 20 years, I am there regularly and yes in the Pueblos there is quite a fervent catalan nationalist identidy, many still do not forgive the sins of the past. However Franco is long gone and while regional identidies are as important in Spain as they always where, when it comes down to it there is no great desire for independence.

    Many Catalans, like their other fellow Spanish are more concerned about the current economic climate which is hurting Spain more than most of it´s European neighbours, unfortunately regional nationalists use this to drum nationalist feelings, similar to their Scottish counterparts.

    Personally I think when the current economic downturn recovers, the Spanish govt. should call the nationalists bluff and change the constitution to allow referendum
    on soverignty issues. This would put the case for Castalan independence to bed for quite some time. Of course it would raise other issues in Pais Vasco, where independence would be a closer call.

  • Dewi

    “There is no desire for Catalunta to hve a seperate football association away from Spain. While many would welcome such a venture”

    Had to read that a cople of times to resolve the contradiction and failed. No matter and I understand the rules perfectly although the Faroe Islands, Hong Kong, Anguilla, Cayman Islands and British Virgin islands seem to be members.

    “Personally I think when the current economic downturn recovers, the Spanish govt. should call the nationalists bluff and change the constitution to allow referendum
    on soverignty issues. This would put the case for Castalan independence to bed for quite some time. Of course it would raise other issues in Pais Vasco, where independence would be a closer call”

    I agree – I think the Spanish constitutional position is pretty unacceptable. And you might be right in the result – although I think it would be pretty close.

  • Doctor Who

    Dewi or is that Dopey 🙂 whichever one of the pantomine dwarves you are perhaps if you had´ve continued to read the whole paragraph you would see there was no contradiction.

    For instance there is a significant desire to see an all Ireland football team, however it will never happen because there is no desire among the people for whom it matters most.

    The non-secession pact of the Spanish constitution was agreed post Franco by it´s semi autonomous regions, it is also worth remembering that although Franco made Castellano the only official language, the regional languages where used openly. You have to consider why secession did not take place post Franco, in the way Slovenia, Croatia etc. seceeded from Yugoslavia post Tito. They while not identifying as cuturally Spanish, did and still do see the benefits of that collective term in other areas.

    Similarly many Welsh people identify as Welsh first but see an advantage in the term British, the same could be said for Scottish and Northern Irish.

    I believe while in the long term people may identify more closely with a regional identidy it does not necessarily mean they wish to secede. Again if you look to Wales, the number of people learning Welsh must be at a record high. But will this new Welsh ´cultural revolution` see them leaving the Union?

  • RepublicanStones

    Shocking ignorance from rs.

    Please Doctor, tell me whats ignorant about the perserverance of non-castillian regions in spain holding onto their identity? Are you inferring castilinization has never ever taken place?

  • dewi

    Dewi or is that Dopey 🙂 – Dopey at the mo – bad in bed under the Doctor.
    “it is also worth remembering that although Franco made Castellano the only official language, the regional languages where used openly”

    Might want to read
    that

  • Doctor Who

    republicanstones

    “tell me whats ignorant about the perserverance of non-castillian regions in spain holding onto their identity?”

    Absolutely nothing but that´s not what you said. You wrote,

    ” Good to see the perserverance of identity against the complete ‘castilinization’ of these regions. “

    Which is bollocks. If anything in Catalonia there is a practice of complete `de-castillinization´ with schools, funded by the state outlawing the use of Castellano in the classroom.

    It may have escaped you but Franco died in 1975, Spain is no longer a dictatorship. Indeed how can you possibly equate your nonsnse with the fact that the regions of Spain are semi-autonomous. Irrespective what a Basque extremist might say to you in the pub rs you should remind him that even your bunch of murdering `heroes´ have called it a day.

  • Dewi

    “If anything in Catalonia there is a practice of complete `de-castillinization´ with schools, funded by the state outlawing the use of Castellano in the classroom.”

    Two hours of Castellano per week is compulsory. Two hours more than Franco allowed of Catalan, I think Catalunya has got things about right.

  • RepublicanStones

    Which is bollocks.

    I fail to see whats bollocks. Please good Doctor tell me whats bollox about being happy to see regional identities not being subsumed into some larger identity?

    Spain is Castilian centered is it not?

    And thankyou for admitting that there were attempts to castellinize all of spain. Its quite strange how you take annoyance at others liking the survival of smaller regional identities.

  • RepublicanStones

    Dewi that last link doesn’t work.

  • Dewi

    Sorry – it’s the link I put in the post:

    Again

  • Dewi

    And it doesn’t work again…I give up

  • Dewi

    “Again if you look to Wales, the number of people learning Welsh must be at a record high. But will this new Welsh ´cultural revolution` see them leaving the Union? ”

    Dunno – can’t be other than helpful though

  • Doctor Who

    republicanstones

    Please accept youir original post was bollix and move on.

    As I have already said my regions first language is not Castellano, my son´s first language is Valenciano. It does not make him any less Spanish. The regional identidies in Spain are fully respected.

    rs

    “Spain is Castilian centered is it not?”

    That´s like complaining UK is English centred. A common language, that´s all. A utility RS not a divisive tool.

    “And thankyou for admitting that there were attempts to castellinize all of spain.”

    Franco again, when did I deny that Franco did that. Again you better tell yer ETA mates on Youtube that Franco died in 1975, things have moved on.

    Dewi

    Your link doesn´t work, besides if it pertains to Franco, get with it. My folks suffered under Franco, we don´t continue to mope about though.

  • RepublicanStones

    Please accept youir original post was bollix and move on.

    Sorry Doctor but you accused me of gross ignorance for saying….

    ” Good to see the perserverance of identity against the complete ‘castilinization’ of these regions. “

    I fail to see what is grossly ignorant in that statement. Have you a problem with the smaller idientites? Would you prefer to see just the castilian one?
    If not, Im at a loss as to what your problem was with my initial comment.

    Now as regards your childish bullshit about my ‘ETA mates’, that was a bit embarrassing for you.

  • Doctor Who

    rs

    “Now as regards your childish bullshit about my ‘ETA mates’, that was a bit embarrassing for you.”

    Really rs have you removed all those IRA/ETA comrades in arms videos from your youtube account.

    ” Good to see the perserverance of identity against the complete ‘castilinization’ of these regions. “

    Bollix, as I have explained the regions have their own language alonside Castellano, they have their own cultural identidy and regional traits without any interference from Madrid, what makes you think Madrid wishes to impose a policy of ‘castilinization’ on it´s people. Spain does not seek to impose a collective identidy on the regions, Spain is the regions and vice versa. Again rs you don´t seem to have heard that Franco is dead.

  • RepublicanStones

    Doctor, Id really like you to show me any ETA videos i’ve ever shown.

    Now, I ask again, why do you take annoyance at anyone who takes pleasure in the survival of regional identites? You seem pissed off that somebody in Ireland likes to see Catalan culture thriving.

    A very strange mindset indeed, one wonders where you get it. Perhaps off the TV from some Dalek.

  • DoctorWho

    As i have stated over and over the survival of regional identidies have never neen threatened in Spain, your ill informed ignorance that Spain wishes to kill these identidies is nonsense of the highest order.

    What you get pleasure from does not interest me. If you have a hard on for Catalunya, fine. To be honest I prefer Galicia to Catalunya. It may surprise you that you can actually celebrate a culture without thinking that it is something to beat others over the head with.

    “A very strange mindest”

    Rich coming from the man who believes IRA atrocities where actually carried out by undercover British soldiers.