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.


Rab said...

This is a great compilation of Catalanophobia by our masters and dear neighbours.

I think the one about the aborted takeover of Endesa by Gas Natural deserves a mention: "antes alemana que catalana" (better Germany than Catalan), proclaimed the Spanish press and the PP. That is the economic future of Catalonia within Spain: zero.

You should post more often!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is a good compilation of Catalanophobia, but it lacks the gems left by our other neighbours. You know, the ones who are so quick to gloat about liberty, equality and human rights.

A must add is the 2004 comment made, in the middle of a regional council session, might I point out, by its then president George Frêche: "Le catalan c'est un patois que n'interesse personne"

"Catalan is a [french (one must assume)] dialect that no one gives a **** (choose your explative) about"

There's also the declaration explaining why all official documents were to be written exclusively in french from 1700 onwards. (Because hearing catalan is unpleasant on the ears and provoques wretching and nausea) As well as the wonderfull message painted on a class-room wall of a school in Aiguatèbia which read "Soyez propres, parlez français".

"Be clean, speak french"

I'm with Rab on this one. You should post much more often

YuriBCN said...

Thank you for your contributions, both Rab and Anonymous. As to posting more often, I would very much like to, but unfortunately it's hard enough to find time to get round to posting at!

Anonymous said...

You must remind us more often of how the Enemy speaks. It's a great base to build politics on.