Friday, 5 November 2010

A History of Spanish anti-Catalan Opinions

There is a long history of leading representatives of Spanish political opinion that have constantly dished out anti-Catalan sentiment. Is it such a surprise that many Catalans feel very hard done by? And this is how Catalonia is meant to integrate quietly?
  • 1625 – Conde Duque de Olivares, PM to King Philip IV: “Now we have assimilated you and you won't have to spend your money on fighting us, it seems reasonable you pay us in taxes.”
    (“Ahora que os hemos asimilado y no tendréis de gastaros dinero en lucha contra nosotros, parece razonable que nos paguéis con impuestos.”)
  • 1725 – José Patiño, governor in charge of administration after the invasion of Catalonia by Spanish and French troops: “... the obstinacy and barbarity of this criminal people (Catalonia) is quite notorious...”
    (“… es bien notoria la obstinación y barbaridad de este pueblo criminal…”)
  • 1906 – Revista “Ejercito y Armada” (“Army & Navy” magazine): “Catalonia must be made Castilian ... Think Spanish, speak Spanish and behave as a Spaniard, be it willingly or by force.”
    (“Hay que castellanizar a Cataluña … Hay que pensar en español, hablar en español y conducirse como español, y esto de grado o por fuerza.”)
  • 1907 – La revista militar (The Military Review): “The Catalan problem will thus not be solved with freedom, but with restriction; not by palliatives and pacts, but by iron and fire.”
    (“El problema catalán no se resuelve, pues, por la libertad, sino con la restricción; no con paliativos y pactos, sino por el hierro y por el fuego.”)
  • 1927 – La revista militar (The Military Review): “Think Spanish, speak Spanish and behave as a Spaniard, be it willingly or by force.”
    (“Hay que pensar en español, hablar en español y conducirse como español, y esto de grado o por fuerza.”)
  • 1927 – Writer Juan Llarch: Imposing the use of Spanish in Catalonia is doing them a paternal favour, like making a short-sighted, rebellious child wear glasses”
    (“Obligar a usar el castellano en Cataluña es hacerles un favor paternal, como lo es obligar a un niño corto de vista y revoltoso, a ponerse unas gafas.”)
  • 1934 – Spanish PM Manuel Azaña: “someone I know assures me that, as a rule of the history of Spain, Barcelona should be shelled once every fifty years”
    (“una persona de mi conocimiento asegura que es una ley de la historia de España, la necesidad de bombardear Barcelona cada cinquenta años.”)
  • 1938 – Spanish army general Queipo de Llano: “We will transform Madrid into a garden, Bilbao into a large factory and Barcelona into one huge plot of land”
    (“Transformaremos Madrid en un vergel, Bilbao en una gran fábrica y Barcelona en un inmenso solar.”)
  • 1939 – Military Governor Aymat: “Catalan dogs! You are not worthy of the sun that shines on you!”
    (“¡Perros catalanes! ¡No sois dignos del sol que os alumbra!”)
  • 1968 – La Vanguardia editor Luis de Galinsonga imposed by the Franco dictatorship authorities: “All Catalans are shit.”
    (“Todos los catalanes son una mierda.”)
  • 1968 – Spanish minister for Information and Tourism under the Franco dictatorship, Manuel Fraga Iribarne: “Catalonia was occupied by Philip IV, it was occupied by Philip V, who vanquished it, it was shelled by General Espartero, who was a revolutionary general, and we occupied it in 1939 and we are ready to bear our rifles again. So, you know what to expect, and here is my musket ready to be used again”
    (“Cataluña fué ocupada por Felipe IV, fué ocupada por Felipe V, que la venció, fué bombardeada por el general Espartero, que era un general revolucionario, y la ocupamos en 1939 y estamos dispuestos a coger de nuevo el fusil. Por consiguiente, ya saben ustedes a que atenerse, y aquí tengo el mosquete para volverlo a utilizar.”)
  • 1977 – Lawyer Jorge Carreras Llansana: “There is nothing other than Spaniards who live and work in Catalonia. A Spaniard who comes here, comes to a Spanish region and cannot ever be considered an immigrant.”
    (“En Cataluña no hay más que españoles que viven y trabajan. Un español que viene aquí, viene a una región española y jamás puede ser considerado como inmigrante.”)
  • 1981 – Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabéu: “I like Catalonia, despite the Catalans”
    (“Me gusta Cataluña a pesar de los catalanes.”)
  • 1984 – Spanish PM Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo: “Emigration of Spanish-speaking people to Catalonia and Valencia is to be encouraged, so as to ensure the implicit feeling of Spanish sentiment is maintained.”
    (“Hay que fomentar la emigración de gentes de habla castellana a Cataluña y Valencia para así asegurar el mantenimiento del sentimiento español que comporta.”)
  • 1984 – Spanish lawyer and politician José Prat: “Catalans are only important when they write in Spanish”
    (“Los catalanes sólo son importantes cuando escriben en castellano”.
  • 1984 – Spanish PM Felipe González: “Terrorism in the Basque Country is an issue of law and order, but the real threat is the distinctiveness of the Catalans.”
    (“El terrorismo en el País Vasco es una cuestión de orden público, pero el verdadero peligro es el hecho diferencial catalán.”)
  • 1986 – Spanish lawyer and politician José Rodríguez de la Borbolla: “Andalusians are intelligent enough not to trust the Catalans.”
    (“Los andaluces son bastante inteligentes para no confiar en los catalanes.”)
  • 1992 – Spanish politician Alejo Vidal Quadras: “Only an infirm mind can conceive of the segregation of Catalonia”
    (“Només una ment malaltissa pot concebre la segregació de Catalunya.”)
  • 1993 – Jerez mayor Pedro Pacheco: “Basques and Catalans are vultures ready to pick on the carrion.”
    (“Vascos y catalanes son buitres prestos a recoger la carroña.”)
  • 1994 – Spanish politician Mercedes de la Merced: “I am worried about the Guardia Civil (Spanish Gendarmes) coming under Jordi Pujol, today the President of the Generalitat (Catalan government), and tomorrow under any lunatic that might preside.”
    (“Me preocupa que la Guardia Civil pueda llegar a depender de Jordi Pujol, hoy Presidente de la Generalitat, y mañana de cualquier loco que la pueda presidir.”)
  • 2001 – Spanish politician Txiki Benegas: “For me, being a nationalist and being cultured and intelligent is incompatible.”
    (“Para mi, ser nacionalista y ser culto e inteligente, es incompatible.”)
  • 2001 – King of Spain, Juan Carlos I: “... nobody has ever been forced to speak Spanish; it was the several peoples who, of their own free will, made Cervantes' language theirs.”
    (“… a nadie se le obligó nunca a hablar en castellano; fueron los pueblos más diversos quienes hicieron suyo por voluntad libérrima, el idioma de Cervantes.”)
  • 2005 – Spanish politician J. C. Rodríguez Ibarra: “Don't you feel any shame? Can you be such cretins? (…) Not enough money for health? Well, you shouldn't have spent it on having an autonomous police force, on three television channels. Everyone spends on what they want, but then don't come wailing, my friends. (…) I don't know of any budget assignation that says: transfer from one region to this one. And if it does exist, please exclude me. They can stick their money where the sun doesn't shine.”
    (“No les da vergüenza? ¿Se puede ser tan cretino? (…) ¿Falta dinero para la sanidad? Pues no se lo hubieran gastado ustedes en tener una policía autonómica, no se lo hubieran gastado ustedes en tener tres televisiones. Cada uno se lo gasta en lo que quiere, pero después no vengan ustedes llorando, amigos. (…) No conozco ninguna partida presupuestaria que diga: transferencia de renta de esta región a ésta. Y si existiera, que por favor me borren. Que se metan los cuartos donde les quepan”.)
  • 2006 – Spanish radio host César Vidal: “A Valencian who considers himself Catalan is like a Jew who admires Hitler.”
    (“Un valenciano que se considere catalán es como un judio que admirara a Hitler.”)
  • 2006 – Spanish politician Alfonso Guerra: “We have scrubbed down the [Catalan] Statute”
    (“Nos hemos cepillado el Estatut.”)
  • 2008 – The mayor of the village of Agón in the neighbouring autonomous community of Aragon: “Let the Catalans die of thirst, the youth are sick of Catalan oppression”, “The village is likely to take justice in its own hands and destroy the transfer pipes and other facilities if they don't get proper compensation for the bother the Generalitat (Catalan government) has caused them”
    (“¡Que los catalanes se mueran de sed, los jóvenes estan hartos de la opresión catalana”, ”Es muy probable que el pueblo se tome la justicia por su mano y destruyan las tuberías del trasvase y otras instalaciones, si no reciben justa recompensa por las molestias que la Generalitat ha causado.”)
  • 2009 – Spanish lawyer and politician Alicia Sánchez-Camacho: “We cannot allow Catalan to be the vehicular language in [Catalan] schools”
    (“No podem permetre que el català sigui la llengua vehicular a les escoles.”)
From historian Joaquim Ullan's Cathalonia blog.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Spain: Fascism's last refuge in Europe

Toni Strubell, the Coordinator of the Dignity Commission, has sent the following letter to the international media condemning Spain's refusal to eradicate the remains still present in many villages and towns of the dictatorship of General Franco, Europe's last fascist government and ally of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy. He also decries Spain's obstacles to inquests into crimes committed during the dictatorship and it's opposition to any kind of official inquiry or truth commission.

Dear Sir,

I would very much like to call your attention to worrying events coming from today's Spain. Last February 4th, Spanish newspapers reported that a National Audience judge, Baltasar Garzón, is to be put on trial and possibly suspended. What was his crime? Having dared to try and open up an investigation into the mass graves and other crimes perpetrated by the Franco regime (in Valencia alone, mass graves holding over 26,300 post-war Franco victims have recently been discovered). That very day the newspapers also informed that the huge fascist monument honouring the cruiser Baleares in Palma bay (the pride of Franco's fleet sunk by the Republicans after having shelled thousands of fleeing refugees on the coastal roads of Andalusia) is not to be demolished. It is to be conserved. What must Spanish democrats and relatives of the victims make of this? Can anyone imagine the same occurring with a monument dedicated to a Fascist-manned warship in any other part of the democratic world? Furthermore, on February 5th newspapers informed that the Basque Parliament, where Spanish Constitutional parties at present hold a majority (due to the illegalization of the Basque left party) voted against instating a Truth Commission (such as the one established by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in the early nineties) to discover the truth about the crimes of Franco. What in heaven's name is happening in Spain? I think it is high time democrats all over the world be informed about the huge democratic deficit that exists today in Spain. Europe largely ridded itself of Fascism in 1945. The one place it lives on is in Spain, where 56 streets in Madrid still bear the names of Franco generals. The sooner the whole world knows the truth about Spain, the sooner we can start to put an end to so much iniquity and disgrace.

Toni Strubell i Trueta
Coordinator of the Dignity Commission


The former head of State, General Franco (left), with his successor to be, the then Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, at his side at a Fascist rally in Madrid in September 1975