THE EXIT SIGN(02/03/2007)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On how much bullshit the Catalans seem to be prepared to take
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FORTY-FIVE
By the time Franco finally expired, the Catalans were pretty much disliked and distrusted in the rest of Spain (I remember one army officer suggesting on the radio circa 1978 that most of them should be put in concentration camps) but they assumed that with time, once Spaniards had learnt that Catalonia had a different culture, history and social structure, all inherited from an independent past, they would also understand that she needed enough leeway to find her own solutions to her problems – both linguistic and economic - many of which had been caused, indeed, by Franco's pathologically centralist and uniformist regime.
Thirty years on, it is obvious to all but the wilfully cloistered that most Castilianist Spaniards not only have learnt nothing about Catalonia, but that their dislike, in many cases, has morphed into a kind of simmering loathing. For instance, speaking Catalan in monolingual Spain is now something of a high-risk sport, unless you happen to be as quick-witted as satirical writer Empar Moliner, who, on being bawled at by her Madrid taxi driver that she should stop speaking Catalan on her mobile, promptly lied that she was talking in Italian; 'Entonces,' he said, in all seriousness, 'no pasa nada'.
Such prejudice means that any pro-Catalan policy is a natural vote-loser, which is probably why the Constitutional Tribunal was recently rigged to block the new Catalan Statute of Autonomy, at the same time as an almost identical Andalusian Statute is being passed with barely a hiccup.
Personally, if I find myself in a room full of people who I know don't like me, I walk out. The Catalans, for reasons that I am unable to fathom, are dithering by the door, wondering what they can still do to get in everyone's good graces. Pathetic, or what?