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On the nasty things that happened here after the Spanish squad's European victory.


It's a bit late in the day to talk about the Catalan aftermath of the Spanish squad's skilful winning of the European Championship at the end of June. Only now, however, have certain post-match incidents come to light, all of them involving that minority of Catalans still under the posthumous, yet lingering spell of Francisco Franco Bahamonde. When Spain won the semi-finals, some of these youths were already cruising round Barcelona's well-heeled Sant Gervasi district in Mummy's car screaming 'Catalanes, hijos de puta!'. But that was nothing compared to what happened after the victory itself, as related by Vicent Partal (founder of Vilaweb, the first online newspaper in Spain): in Vic, a journalist from the local paper was collared by Spain fans and forced at fist-point to shout 'Viva España'; in Barcelona, a Moroccan was beaten up on the Rambla for being 'unworthy' of waving a Spanish flag; in Reus, Catalan flags were burnt wholesale by Spain fans giving the Roman salute; all over the country, interactive Catalan-language websites were flooded with hate messages and death threats. On a grander scale, the usual Catalan-taunting in certain Spanish media was immediately jacked up to a fever pitch in part thanks to a much-boosted manifesto signed by a baker's dozen and a half of pro-Castilian intellectuals that reads like an incitement to linguistic – if not ethnic - cleansing. And Spain won, for heaven's sake! Can anyone imagine what would have happened if they'd lost? Or – heaven help us - if the winner had been a finally legalised Catalan squad? Ever since 1976, politicians and sportspeople both Spanish and Catalan have frequently and prissily pontificated that sports should not be mixed with politics, apparently oblivious to the obvious: in the half-baked state currently called the Kingdom of Spain, sport is politics.

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