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On a controversial speech


Yet another good Festa de la Mercè has gone by, with its fireworks and processions and whatnot. Unfortunately, this year it included two events that left a nasty taste in many Barcelonans' mouths, mine included. The first was the inaugural speech read by the Madrid-based children's author Elvira Lindo. Not because it was in Spanish. Not because Lindo has as much to do with Barcelona as I do with, say, Ulaanbaatar. Not because she couldn't pronounce the great Catalan poet Joan Brossa's name, while claiming to be a close friend of his. Nor because her speech was a rambling, excruciatingly vacuous, cringe-makingly egocentric piece of hogwash. No, what got my goat was the fact that she was only giving this speech in the first place because Joan Clos, Mayor of Barcelona at the time, offered her the job on the off chance when he ran into her at a party in New York last summer. That the traditional start to a festival involving nearly two million people should be spoilt by such an arbitrary, autocratic, and ill-considered choice of speaker was perceived as a right royal insult by plenty of us citizens.
The second event was the 'Festa del Cel', which I took my kids along to, not realising that it consisted of watching Spanish fighter-bombers buzzing the beaches. I tried to make the best of the situation by explaining to the kids that if and when the Catalans unilaterally declare independence, these planes will be back sharpish to nip them in the bud. It struck me that should some form of reprisal be in order afterwards, the Spanish government could do worse than have Elvira Lindo open every single Festa de la Mercè, year after year after year, until the Catalans, chastised beyond endurance, abandon all resistance.

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