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Franco’s cultural genocide against Catalonia

“We are like we are because Franco’s dictatorship has made us so”.

(An article written by Quim Torra and published at El Singular Digital on October 8th 2012).
If in the past centuries, the Spanish used to bomb Barcelona every 50 years, now they sign Manifiestos(1) every five days: Catalan people have already started the process for obtaining self-determination and this process has awakened the decaying Spanish beast.  Like in those decrepit village funfairs, the Spanish have installed in Catalonia a horror tunnel, when from time to time, Mr. Francesc de Carreras (2) or Mr. De Azúa (3) come out dressed like evil witches just to kick us with their broomsticks. We Catalans are tired of this and we hope we can come out of the horror tunnel soon and that those evil witches go to scare somebody else…

Nevertheless, once I finished reading the manifest written by “300 scholars of the left-wing and supporters of federalism”, the latest present to Catalans from the Spanish scholars, I was suddenly possessed by the irresistible desire of taking a look at the book of Josep Benet(4), and I dare to borrow the title for this article. On the Manifiesto I read a paragraph that caught my attention: “The statement that Spain perpetrated aggressions against Catalonia is an unfortunate manipulation of the past facts”.

Actually, the first thing that surprises me from the book of Benet is that he does not talk about repression and persecution, but qualifies the actions perpetrated by Franco’s dictatorship with a more definitive concept: cultural genocide. So to say, the will of extermination of the Catalan culture, carried out with all possible means. Further on, Benet provides testimonies, hundreds of data and documents all grouped together, which are an clear proof of the repression and dictatorship: it was not “aggression” but “horror”.

The truth is that I could only contrast a small part of this study with one that I did myself about the Spanish censorship of all Catalan books. On 1939 they started the process of destroying the Catalan audience in the country, as confirmed by Mr. Maria Josepa Gallofré(5). We had to wait until 1977 to equal the 865 books that had been published in 1936. This cultural genocide lasted 40 years and it meant an absolute catastrophe for the Catalan literature. Our writers could not write in Catalan and they were silenced. Only a few of them could write in Catalan from the exile, but their books did not reach the audience in Catalonia as they were forbidden. Editors, collapsed and lost in the labyrinth of censorship and they could only grab the left-overs; while readers fluctuated between fear and resistance, as they could see how the pleasure of reading had become a heroic act of confrontation against dictatorship.

“An unfortunate manipulation of the past facts”, so declared by those who signed in this manifest and who dare to rewrite history so easily at their convenience: “left-wing federalists” they call themselves; all of them have joined Mr. Navarro from PSC (6) and have made the horror tunnel an unforgettable experience for the Catalan people. That is so pitiful.
It seems now that we are this way just because nature has made us so. I mean, they are suggesting that the cultural destruction of our country and the intention of annihilation of our language are now facts that were produced without any cause, it just had to be this way: so yesterday it rained and today only 50% of the population speaks Catalan? We may be then the only country in the world without history?

Let’s speak clear: Franco’s dictatorship was a crime to Catalan people and to our culture, and we are still recovering from it. It took our country almost 150 years to recover from the defeat of 1714. But we have only lived 30 years of democracy since Franco’s dictatorship finished. We are like we are today because Franco’s dictatorship made us so, that is the cause. This is precisely why we speak about recovering and normalizing our language for the past 35 years, because a huge intent of genocide happened and damaged the culture of our country.
But we are still here. And we have the strength of the sacrifice of our parents and grandparents: they kept our language and culture alive during the horror of 40 years of dictatorship. And we are still alive, we have survived! We are Catalans and we want to keep being Catalans. For that reason, there is only one way: INDEPENDENCE!

(1)    Manifiesto: Manifest or memorandum written by a specific organization, political party or group of experts declaring their opinion and perspective in regards a specific matter.

(2)    Francesc  de Carreres, Constitutional Law Professor of Barcelona university supporting  the radical pro-Spanish conservative party Agrupació Ciudadana Progresista, who declares Catalonia’s independence would be catastrophic for both Spain and Catalonia.

(3)    Félix de Azúa, from the party Ciutadans de Catalunya who openly opposes the Catalan nationalism.

(4)    Josep Benet, writer and politician born in Cervera, Catalonia in 1920 who was a republican during the civil war but has been through different parties. He wrote “ L’intent franquista de genocidi cultural de Catalunya” ( Franco’s intention to do cultural genocide of Catalonia) in 1995.

(5)    Maria Josepa Gallofré, Professor of Catalan culture and Franco’s dictatorship of the University of Barcelona.

(6)    Pere Navarro, leader of the socialist political party defending federalism in Catalonia (PSC, Partit Socialista de Catalunya).

11th September 2012 Demonstration for Catalonia’s independence

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The Secret conflict of Spain: Investigation

Joan Crexells, a visionary in the XXth century

Joan Crexells was born at the end of the XIX century and studied language, philosophy and other humanities in several universities in Barcelona province. At a very young age he joined Catalan republican intellectual associations, and further on, their political parties. He believed and defended the viability of a Catalan independent state. He worked in Barcelona city hall before Primo de Ribera took the Spanish government around 1923, when the dictator annihilated the Mancomunitat Catalana (somehow a Catalan Commonwealth system created on 1914 to unify Girona, Barcelona, Lleida and Tarragona provinces). Among his written works, there are many relevant political essays and articles worth to mention, but today I will quote an extract of “L’endemà de les festes” (The day after the festivals) that he wrote during this travels to London and Berlin to go deeper in his studies.

When I started this group of articles, we intended to write one only article that would correct the present idea in Catalonia that our independence is impossible due to the disparity between the cities and the country side. Later, though, we could not help but to comment on other aspects of the complex set of circumstances surrounding the independence of Catalonia. The data we have collected until now, no matter if few or many, proofs that there is absolutely no reason to condemn to death the independence of Catalonia, when all the probabilities are in favor of its perfect viability.

Map of Europe during World War I

When you see that after the war almost all of the nationalism problems have been solved and you try to analyze why ours has not been solved yet, it is easy to realize that there are some moments when the Catalan leaders have not followed an adequate policy towards the (I World Wide) War. They could not foresee from the very first moment what part was going to win it: they sympathized with Germany against the feeling of the people, which directly avoided that efficient international actions would be carried out properly; they missed clear opportunities, specially taking into account the difficult moment Spain was experiencing. (..) These moments of hesitation of our politicians, as described above, made it impossible for Catalans to take absolutely any profit at all of the circumstances, in a historical moment when the whole world was in full transformation. The key of this hesitation, and the key to all the causes that lead to a negative result of our policy during the war was that it existed indeed real horror towards the independence of Catalonia in the hearts of our politicians, and this fear got worse in decisive moments. Thus it is absolutely necessary that a new fearless generation of politicians arises. Without that fear, all problems simplify, all attitudes can be seen clearly and logically. Not only it gets closer to the fulfillment of the most radicals ideals, but facilitates the securing of more moderate concepts as well. Like the case of Czechoslovakia , it is a good example for this. When Prussia saw that Czechoslovakia claimed for independence and did not hesitate to join the enemy in order to obtain it, Prussia supported them and asked Austria to grant them self-determination. The institution of the Bohemian estate was then agreed so. And the desires of those who had more moderate ideas were satisfied due to the attitude of the intransigent ones”.

Extract of “L’endemà de les festes: IV” (The day after the festivals: IV), La Publicitat, 1-III-1923, from the book Obra completa, vol.II: Cròniques europees. Berlin-Londres, 1920-1926 (Complete works, vol.II: European chronicles. Berlin-London 1920-1926), published by Edicions de la Magrana, at Barcelona,  1997, page 407-409).

You can find the original quote in Catalan published permanently online at http://www.escriptors.cat/autors/crexellsj/pagina.php?id_sec=2438

Indeed, it seems we are still dealing with the same issue after more than a century after Mr. Crexells wrote these words. Unfortunately for Catalonia, our politicians are still fearful to declare independence. A good example of it is CIU (Convergència i Unió), whose politicians now try to justify their abstention towards the declaration of independence by saying the way independence is being considered is not the correct one… There is only way to convince those frightened politicians and along with them, most of the people living in Catalan territory, that they would be better living in an independent Catalonia: show them a viability plan for a Catalan independent government, certified by key international organizations, economists, banks, masters in law and other qualified experts and scholars. We should do what our ancestors at the beginning of the XX century were trying: develop a new social, institutional and economic system that works and fulfills the most basic needs of the Catalan people and the Catalan economy both in the domestic and the international levels.

Transition memories: in the open air

AUTHOR: VÍCTOR ALEXANDRE

Published at: http://www.victoralexandre.cat/ 17th April 2011

Title: L’Espanya dels catalanistes

We should deeply thank Patrícia Gabancho for deciding to publish some of her political life experiences as a Catalan independence activist during 1976-1978 at Catalonia, after  two years of arriving from an Argentina on the verge of chaos. Proceso de Reoganización Nacional (National Reorganization Process), so they called it the dictators of that country. The Spanish transitional process to democracy was also, somehow, a true reorganizational process. They told us Franco had died, but it was not true. The day of his funeral, Franco himself was there, in between all the people moaning him, looking at that sham called the end of Franco regime. And the real truth is that those who were moaning him had already tied all the knots with those who called themselves “opposition”, while Catalonia, defended at Madrid by Catalans with no national dignity, was getting ready to legitimize the “reorganization”. Almost 40 years have gone by since then. But the mess we find in ourselves today is the consequence of those human miseries and those political resignations, and how sad it is that the main perpetrators of those injustices, some already died and others are still alive, keep on being venerated as wise common sense respected people.

The book from Patrícia Gabancho, A la intempèrie. Una memòria cruel de la Transició catalana (1976-1978)– In the open air. A cruel memory of the Catalan transition -, focuses, as the title indicates, in the resignation process that took place at Catalonia those days and portraits with no funnels the ploys, schemes and stratagems played by the political parties, in special those in the left wing, as they granted “transition” as a natural process from the Spanish state and totally annihilated the national rights of Catalan people. Let’s review some extracts of the book here…

  •  “That restrictive constitution, the prelude of a fiction Estatut, was being generated at the parliament (…) The strategy was then to create a backdrop to disguise the agreements done behind the scene: they were calling for all the people to move and get what members of the parliament and senators were not willing to do. In fact, the same strategy was also considered for other topics and had to fatally culminate in active propaganda supporting the new Constitution”.
  •  “It is worth to remember that the majority of Basque people voted NO to the Spanish constitution. They well managed to set up two valuable exceptions: one concession was made in regards to the taxes, and another one to allow them to create, if they would be willing to do so, an autonomic Basque federation together with Navarra. Then a clause that  explicitly prohibits the federation of two or more autonomous communities was included in the Constitution in order to avoid the unification of the Catalan Countries. However, Catalan people did not open their mouths then to complain about this, and even today the cultural Catalan scope keeps being attacked and smashed continuously”.
Basques demonstration during 1978
  • “When the Basque people had closed the deal for the taxes contribution to the Spanish administration, they called the Catalan minority (represented then by Mr. Miquel Roca) and they told him: We just made it! Now it’s your turn. But Mr. Roca thought that those conditions were not convenient, as Mr.Ernest Lluch had defended so enthusiastically. The only person during those years that was spreading the idea of the fiscal deficit between Spain and Catalonia was Mr Ramon Trias Fargas.
Ernest Lluch and his PSUC colleagues at Banyoles, 1979
  • When the idea of self-determination was put to vote, an instruction that was in all the electoral programs of all the Catalan political parties, both PSC and CIU parliament members left the room. And then they went to explain themselves to the Basques: look, as for us… Meanwhile, Mr. Jordi Solé Tura voted against self-determination, loyal to those words that not long ago he had himself pronounced in the club Siglo XXI at Madrid: “The PSUC will do everything necessary for Catalonia to accept the Spanish flag and publicly defeat the aversion that still causes among  Catalan population.” O when he declared that “the Spanish state is just an euphemism, we will order was is to be said: Spain”.
  • “Therefore, the Estatut was being written aside (…) “We cannot impose Catalan to those who speak Spanish in Catalonia”, say nowadays the same people that had voted yes to support the imposition of Spanish to the Catalan native speakers, in the clause number 3 of the Spanish constitution: “Spanish is the only obligatory language; the spanish first, and all the other languages are not even mentioned””.

  •  “What the people who wrote the Estatut proved is that the Catalan political parties felt compromised with the Spanish project. They had to lift up Spain from poverty, and that meant to do an effort for consolidating democracy and be generous so that the country would normalize. In other words: they needed money, they needed to keep the transfer of economical resources. They knew very well that system would be in detrimental of Catalonia, but they thought Catalonia would be able to afford it. However, that was not the problem. The problem was that they never said anything. They did not speak clearly. It was in that precise moment of the transitional process when all the political parties, all of them, developed a kind of hidden agenda: we assume compromises that we do not confess. We embrace projects we do not publish. We build Spain and talk about Catalonia. The political Catalanism was then born within democracy”.

These small extracts from the book of Patrícia Gabancho- should be an obligatory book for every Catalan person who cries for independence – clearly shows that everything that today is missing in Catalonia is a direct consequence of everything our nation resigned to. What is most pathetic is that it was not only the Spanish fortress trying to plunder Catalonia rights, but worse, it was mainly due to those weak-willed political representatives that lacked a total sense of national dignity. Those representatives are still there earning their livings even better than before, and now they are defining  themselves as “catalanists” or “federalists”, but all of them are against the independence of Catalonia.

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