On the BBC's misrepresentation of the Catalans


On the 4th of this month, one Marian Hens broadcast a programme about immigration in Catalonia on the BBC's Radio Four which – conditioned by the breathtakingly superficial research that tends to characterise English media reports on the area - presented the Catalans as 'fiercely nationalist' ethnocentric xenophobes hell-bent on forcing their 'local language' (sic) down the throats of helpless foreign residents.
I am not suggesting that English journalists have to assume – as died-in-the-wool zealots like myself do – that Catalonia is no more Spain than Scotland is England and that political independence would be a blessing for everyone both inside and outside Catalonia, but it would be nice not to have everything remotely pro-Catalan branded as selfish and racist, a priori. Ms Hens could easily have counterbalanced her one-sided portrait of this complicated corner of Europe by mentioning, say, the Linguistic Volunteer programmes for recently arrived adults, a pioneering and highly successful initiative that plenty of nations would surely copy, if only someone - a BBC reporter, for example - took the trouble to tell them about it. Had she bothered to visit any of the adult education centres around the country she would have found surprisingly large numbers of Catalonia's million or so newcomers taking a considerable personal interest in the 'local language', which many of them, like I myself, didn't know existed before they arrived. Perhaps because they have cottoned on to the fact that many (sadly not all) Catalans consider this language to be a kind of natural, easily accessible passport to their country, far more important than 'blood', a meaningless race-based concept which most European states nonetheless still use as a key factor when granting nationality. Britain included. Please, Ms Hens, Ms Hens, please: kindly remove that beam from your eye.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -