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On Catalan-baiting


Several months ago the Catalan parliament sent a proposal for a new Statute of Autonomy to the government in Madrid. As a result, a high-ranking military officer threatened Catalonia with armed intervention, Catalan goods were boycotted, and the Partido Popular launched a flagrantly disingenuous anti-Statute campaign, backed to the hilt by the Catholic-owned COPE radio station (whose passionate slandering of all things Catalan has proven a bit much even for the Vatican).
It needs to be said that none of this would have been possible had not important sectors of the population in Spain (outside Catalonia) already been suffering from a deeply ingrained anti-Catalan prejudice. I, for one, have come across numerous examples of this over the years, but none quite as unpleasant as two recent incidents, described by listeners calling into Xavier Bosch's morning radio programme on RAC1.
The first caller was a Barcelona taxi driver who had taken his (instantly recognisable) Barcelona taxi to Zaragoza. Once there, he was insulted by other drivers, nearly had his car vandalised, and finally decided to leave the Aragonese capital when accosted by a gang of youths screaming 'polaco de mierda!'. The second caller was a woman from Sabadell whose teenage daughter had gone on a trip to Madrid with some schoolfriends; in the metro, they were ordered to speak in Spanish (instead of Catalan) to each other, on the grounds that they were now 'in Spain'; when they refused, they were insulted and eventually threatened with violence by a patriotic young man who had to be held back by another passenger.
The curious thing is that the people responsible for this increasingly frequent Catalan-baiting are usually the first to insist that Catalonia does not have a national identity and is merely a region of Spain like any other. By their actions, however, they've managed to make Catalans travelling outside their native territory feel more at home in London or Lisbon, say, than any Spanish city you care to name.
Where is all this going to lead, I wonder?

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