When I was a student at the Institute of North American Studies in Barcelona, our teacher, an interesting guy called Donald from Cocoa Beach Florida, spent a couple of lessons talking about things which sound similar in English and Spanish, but have different meanings. The most vivid example I remember is the word molest. As many of you well know, “molestar” means to disturb in Spanish. Some Spanish speaking people, however, have the tendency to say, “may I molest you?”, instead of “may I disturb you?”, what in some instances can bring them some trouble, since the connotation of molest in English is mainly related to making indecent sexual advances. The other word I remember is the word resign. The correct translation for resign is dimitir in Spanish (and also in Catalan. I know that in Catalan you can also say resignar, but let’s forget about it for the purpose of this post). Donald explained with multiple examples that when someone resigned, he or she was giving up an office or position and that we should not confuse the word resign with resign oneself to something.
After 30 years I have realized that Donald was wrong, that the word “dimitir”(resign) has been eliminated from the Spanish and Catalan dictionaries and that the only words left are “resignarse/resignar-se (resign oneself to something, to submit (oneself) passively; accept as inevitable).
Yesterday was Thanksgiving day and I was able to spend a couple of hours reading all the Spanish and Catalan internet press and I felt like crying. The situation in Catalonia is deteriorating so dramatically, but no one is taking any responsibility. I already mentioned in my previous posts the situation of the infrastructures and that the incumbent ministress Magdalena Alvarez (the spell checker wants me to change the word ministress by mistress, I am impressed by Microsoft!) is holding on to her post. Emulating John Stark’s famous sentence “Live free or die”, she said “antes partía que doblá” an Andalusian phrase that could be translated as “rather dead, than kneeling” And here we are, the infrastructures suck and she is a happy woman. Today she opened a new tunnel that connects France and Spain. It is ahead of time, as it was fully financed by the private sector. Unfortunately it connects nothing with nothing, because neither the Spanish side of the High Speed train, nor the French one, will be ready in many many years, but there she was, on the border, smiling and cutting ribbons, while tens of thousands of Catalans suffer every day from the ailing infrastructures. The Catalan disaster will position her very very well in the next elections when she is said to be a candidate for Malaga. Problems created in Catalonia are great credentials in the rest of Spain to become a public official.
But is she guilty of all this? No, not fully. The only group of people responsible for the debacle is the Catalan politicians, especially those in the “tripartite” (Montilla, Carod and company) who did not have any master plan for infrastructures in Catalonia. How can you measure progress if you have no plan. I heard Carod saying exactly that, “we have to admit that we had no long term plan in infrastructures” Quins collons! (translated as beep). And they are all still there, getting richer and richer and sending the kids to private schools.
That leads me to the last point I want to discuss today: the last report of the Jaume Bofill Foundation shows that Catalonia is trailing the rest of the countries in the European Union and even the majority of Spanish regions in terms of education. The only two countries which are worse than Catalonia are the two super powers Portugal and Malta. The biggest fiasco is in the secondary education where the percentage of drop-outs is extremely high. In a normal country the secretary of education would have resigned. Education is a fully transferred competence, so we cannot blame Madrid for this. However the guy responsible, Ernest Maragall, brother of the one who is even more responsible Pasqual Maragall, has said he has no intention to resign, that they were aware of it and they will take urgent measures. Urgent measures!!!. Once again, those living in Catalonia will have to resign themselves while our politicians pocket as much money as they can in a nation that collapses.