Saturday, December 13, 2008

The big C

I am tired, really tired of hearing people qualify Catalan nationalism as Nazi. I do not have a big issue with people calling us misguided, provincial, old-fashioned, narrow minded, selfish and things like that. but Nazis, no way.
Three weeks ago I spent the Jewish weekend in Jerusalem, one of the rare times when, while traveling for business, I could do some sightseeing. I visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum. There I could witness the horrors of Nazism, I could see pictures and videos with piles of famine-stricken bodies (pure bone ans skin) bulldozed away by Nazi officers, people forced to remove their clothes and jewelry in front of a ditch and immediately shot in their heads in front of those waiting their turn and German doctors experimenting with a crying nude10 year old girl (I do not know exactly what they were doing, since I could not watch the video for more that 5 seconds).
Not long ago, I read the comment of an alleged Catalan woman, Anna Sevillé, equating the Catalan C levels requirement to the number that the concentration camp inmates had tattooed on their arms. I feel disgusted when those comments come from non Catalans, but when they come from Catalans, I feel deeply saddened.
Even if I do not agree with some of the rules established by the Catalan government and despite my critical views on the Catalan education system, I understand that the key objectives of the Catalan government are genuinely positive:
  • Integrating everyone in Catalonia and not having a split society
  • Preserving the Catalan culture and language
That is the diametral opposite of NaZism.

I despise all those who use the N word linked to Catalonia in any form. I think that all of you who link Catalonia and Nazism are "fills de puta".

The reality is that Catalan naCionalism, with a big C, C as in Catalonia, as in Caring, as in Civilized, as in Calm, as in Charming, as in Clean, as in Clear, as in Colorful, as in Conscious, as in Correct, as in Confident, is integrating and welcoming. If we had a solid border around us, we would be called patriotic, but the lack of borders turns us into a nuisance.

At the end, I think that the person who described better Catalan nationalism, was one of the ones who despised it the most, Sabino de Arana, the father of Basque nationalism.
While trying to belittle Catalan nationalism, this is the way he described it:
"En Cataluña todo elemento procedente del resto de España lo catalanizan, y les place a sus naturales que hasta los municipales aragoneses y castellanos de Barcelona hablen en catalán; aquí padecemos muy mucho cuando vemos la firma de un Pérez al pie de unos versos eusquéricos, u oímos hablar nuestra lengua a un cochero riojano, a un liencero pasiego o a un gitano".

[In Catalonia, they"catalanize" every person coming from the rest of Spain, and the locals love the fact that even those from Aragon or Castile in Barcelona speak Catalan. Here (in the Basque country) we suffer a lot when we see some Basque verses signed by someone call Pérez or we hear a carriage driver, a Catabrian fabric merchant or a gypsy speak our language (Basque)].

  1. I also read the book "The boy in the striped pyjamas" I liked it but I would have preferred a slight different end. I would have preferred that the kids swap.
  2. Even though I admire the Jewish people and I think that catalans have a lot to learn from them, I do not agree with the way Palestinians are treated. I hope that Obama will settle the issue with a 2 state solution based, as much as possible, on the 1967 borders. It is also clear that not only Catalonia and Spain have stupid politicians, Israel and Palestine suffer from the same disease.
  3. Yesterday I attended the Boston Catalans Xmas dinner for the first time. I had a real good time.


Agus said...

Hi Ian, let me recommend you the reading of "Israel, el somni i la tragèdia" by Joan B. Culla (Edicions La Campana).

I found it very insightful of the origin and development of the Israelo-Palestinian conflict.

Johnny Tastavins said...

Ditto! Specially with your wish of a different end in the pyjama's book.

Merry christmas!!

Miquel Marzabal Galano said...

I met once a Basque girl.
Even though she did not grew up in a Basque-speaking family she learned Basque language at school. She felt 100% Basque, but when she spoke Basque the locals who had grown in a Basque-speaking family and spoke it fluently laughed at her funny Spanish accent and made her feel ridiculous and 'foreign' in her own country.
This made her not to feel confident with the Basque language and neither with her feeling about being a 'second class Basque'.
For me, anyone who does the effort to speak Catalan is more than welcome.
We should embrace everyone who does the effort.
I agree with you totally about everything you say. How can some people qualify Catalan policies as Nazi?
We are not excluding people, we are not getting rid of foreigners, we are doing the opposite! We want them to be part of our culture. We welcome them and help them to join the culture they live in, instead of letting them down, isolating them or exterminating people.
I think people who say that just don't think. These people must be just willing to hurt us, don't they? I mean, it is just insulting to compare our policies with the Nazi regime.

In Holland we have a big problem with foreigners who came to Holland and did not learn any Dutch. The Dutch thougt they just came to work and they would go back to their countries after that. Well, they did not go away, they stayed, had children and did not learn the language, and now their children are leading a split life between a Dutch society that does not understand them and their parents, who don't understand the Dutch society and don't understand them either.
We don't want that in Catalonia.
We are doing very well!

orlando said...

Hi from Canary Islands.

I apologize that my english itsnt soo good as its should,and first i would like to salute u and ask u, being economist, which method uses MADRID, to get all the incomes they get: i always thought that many enterprises and public servants from Madrid take advantage of the situation.
We canarians because of being poorest and low-evolutionated have always been by a monopolist regime forced to accept the anti-liberal way of doing bussiness from Madrid so "repsol","corte ingles" "telefonica"and many,many others made good money. Todays spanish union is based in the force of a military organization backed by castillians generals who misunderstand Teology with deals and politics.

Happy new year. Visca el barça !!!

Erik Wirdheim said...


To use the word Nazi when you comment on politics in democratic Catalonia is to disqualify yourself from any serious debate. I cannot help feeling sorry for the woman who has made such comparisons.

I do not have any plans to go to Israel and therefore appreciate that you have shared your experience from the holocaust museum. I agree with you that the Palestinians deserve better treatment, but even more - since I live in Europe where media tends to be very pro-Palestinian - do I want to stress Israel's rights to defend itself.

May what the Nazis did never be repeated, at least not in Europe, and may people learn to show respect by NEVER comparing everyday problems to what the Jews suffered before and during world war two.

//Erik in Vilanova

Agus said...

Sobre el conflicte àrabo-israelià:

... uns raonaments que els catalans també haurien de tenir en compte per al seu propi futur col·lectiu.

I recommend the reading of the above article.

boynamedsue said...

Thanks for the link Ian, as dear Oscar said "The only thing worse than being linked, is not being linked."

Or was it licked?

I have to agree that one should be very careful about throwing the label "Nazi" about.

Why do Catalan nationalists accuse Airlines who don't want to publish their in flight magazines in Catalan as being nazis?

Why do the accuse people who don't want their children to be educated in Catalan of being nazis?

The level-C in Catalan is absolutely not equivalent to having a number tatooed on your arm, and whoever says otherwise is an absolute idiot. But it wasn't the centralists who started bandying the word "Nazi" about.

ian llorens said...

You are welcome.

Your references, the usual ones (and in addition you did not even make the effort to put the HTML tags for ease of linkage), not worth while commenting.

LUIS said...

Agus you are allways so ridiculous in your coments.

When you recomend the page

"" and say:

"... uns raonaments que els catalans també haurien de tenir en compte per al seu propi futur col·lectiu."

I supose you suggest you prefer a neverending armed conflict with Spain like that instead of living in the actual pacefully situation of Spain. Congratulations I think you give a new meaning at the word "progress".

I think we never should arrive at that situation without solution but who knows probably I´m wrong and it could be better to live in that conflict than the actual situation...

I recommend the reading of the above article.

boynamedsue said...

As a less experienced blogger than yourself, I don't know how to do that http business, apologies.

Given my much broader experience with the Catalan LEFT (do you still admire our vibrant Anglo-Saxon economies BTW?), I can asure you that "Nazi" and "fatxa" are frequently bandied about to describe anyone who questions the position of Catalan in modern Catalunya.

The use of the term "Nazi" by Spanish nationalists is much more recent. Largely because untill recently, many of them really quite approved of Nazism.

In both cases the labels are offensive (though I did once see graffiti reading "Infrahumans espanyols" on a shop near Paralel, I wouldn't call it a trend).

Agus said...

" Ben-Gurion envisaged that “new Jews”, with the security of their own nation state, would erase what he saw as the shameful memory of a “submissive, lowly camp of strange creatures . . . who know only how to arouse pity”"

It's an extract of the following article:

I have to resort to the foreign press to find the Israelian point of view as the press in Barcelona is so biassed in favour of Islamists.

Rab said...


I think you have not understood the article properly.
The key theme of the article is that Jews can only rely on other Jews for protection otherwise they are doomed, as history shows. And Agus uses that point to equate it to the Catalan situation: Catalans cannot rely on anybody else to defend their rights, as history shows.
I think it is a statement of the bleeding obvious and quite common sense.

Congost said...

Hi Ian,

I really enjoy your posts about Catalonia, witty and well written, perhaps we share this trait as we were both born on 22nd Feb in Catalonia! Happy to share some more comments with you in future. I also lived abroad, in the UK, for over 20 years and have just returned to Barcelona with the family...Slowly adapting to the new environments! See you around!

Toni said...

Hi, Ian ...I posted a comment at this address:

and after I got his reply I now
really understand the episode at the Ajuntament! Did you also get this kind of
reply: per a toni
mostra els detalls 22:50 (fa 10 hores)


Er mate, half of the shite you've written here is not even true - get your
facts right yourself you dim witted little cluck. If you don't like
you stupid little tart why live there. And I don't believe for one minute
you had the Queen's English rammed down your throat. What are you? Some
little Catalan loser who leaves snide remarks like Tom and Rab over
people's blogs because you can't face the truth.

You've spent too much time out of your region of Cataluña you Catalan
charnego schmuck. Why don't you and your little mates just piss off as
you're a silly cunt. Really you are.

Saluts dickhead

On Thu, 29 Jan 2009 13:52:01 -0600, Toni
> New comment on your post #98 "Catalan kids don't know their Spanish
> geography!"

> Comment:
> Mate, if you don't like it here why don't you go somewhere else? I've
> lived in England for many years and there too I had the local language
> rammed down my throat. And I also needed a good command of the language
> I wanted to get a half way decent job.
> By the way, try and ask an English kid about UK rivers or other
> geographical stuff and see what answers you get. My wife is German and
> taught German at English schools and she was even asked once if she took
> the plane every morning to come to school. Not to mention the vast
> of xenophobic remarks she came across while living in the UK.
> As for one of your comments about Tom sticking to his Catalan wife,
> perhaps you do the same thing regarding your Spanish wife?
> As I said, if you don't like it here and prefer better countries with
> useful languages, why don't you go to China, South America or India.
> do, this way there will be one less Catalan hater around us. De fora
> vindran que de casa ens treuran!
> Salutacions
> Toni.

The Little Hitler even deleted my comment. I know it wasn´t a friendly comment but I
never insulted anyone. In a way his reaction makes me happy, as i really
got him wound up!!! I must have touched a weak point here somewhere!


08017 Barcelona

ian llorens said...

It's good to hear that there are other 2/22 Catalans with similar experiences to mine. I became nationalistic when I left, before, I did not really have a defined feeling.
Anyway, you know, February 22nd, George Washington, Ian Llorens and Congost. Not bad.
By the way, I do not think I will go back to Catalonia till my kids are in college, many years from now. Let me know how the phasing-in works out.

Life in Catalonia is an anticatalan forum, created by immigrants (self-proclaimed expats) who would love to take over Catalonia with all its goodies, but without the nuisance of this thing called Catalan people. I do not mind people writing things against Catalonia, but if its really true that they censor the comments, I should re-think whether or not I should provide a link to their Fox-News-like website.

Rab said...

Yep, I agree with Toni.

The people behind that blog are Anglo-Saxon supremacists with Catalonophobe views. I can vouch for the deleted comment -it is no longer there.

As for the guy's reply, it says all. A fascist scumbag life the user Jeff H who replied to your comment proclaiming the virtues of fascist General Franco, Hitler's ally.
Enough said.

Rab said...

Toni if you leave a comment in my blog, I will share something with you...

Mathew said...

The administrator's comments in LifeinCatalonia are wild...really far out Enoch Powell weird stuff...I have replied to a couple of entries there with irony...because the coments are so ridiculous that I want to believe that they are ironic. But who knows?? Do people really believe the sort of nonsense that the Administrator there writes?? I guess the frightening truth is that possibly some do.
Anyway, Ian, well done for this's spot on.
I run, if you fancy popping by. Adéuuuuu

Drac said...

Unfortunately many people have similar beliefs as his. The administrator of LifeinCatalonia obviously listens to certain ultra-nationalist Spanish radio stations on a regular basis.
Sometimes it's difficult to figure out if challenging him on his mis-information or just ignoring him are the better approach, especially when his comments are so blatantly biased and hurtful.

Toni said...

In answer to your comment, Drac, I think it's best to leave him alone and ignore him ... The guy cannot articulate any reasoned answer when challenged, he just barks and insults everyone, where's the point then?

Tom said...

The life in Catalonia blog seems to be little more than a link farm designed to improve the pagerank of its owner's other web properties.

The page you linked to (which I also wrote about) contains several comments 'from me', at least two of which are utter fabrications. I guess the admin thought that rather than argue the point, he'd try to make me look like an idiot. Hint: my in-laws do not live in Banyoles!

This combination of (a) not really being a proper website, (b) sending offensive emails to commentators and (c) fraudulently posting comments under other people's names, while deleting genuine comments - all make Life In Catalonia a website not worth visiting.

I mean he's not even funny like Iberian Notes was!

Rab said...

Could not agree more with Tom.

The guy behind LiC is a total arsehole, as some friends who apparently have heard about him have told me.

I got hold of his address...someone post it on his own website so before he deletes it, here it goes:

Stephen Tizzard
Avda Sant Jeroni 14-16, 2-3
Sant Fost de Campsentelles
Barcelona, Catalunya 08150

I just wonder why he doesn't move somewhere else if he hates anything Catalan so much?