Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Nation With Neither Country Nor Suicide Bombers

There are six million speakers of Catalan. The majority of them are in the north of Spain. The capitol of Catalan country is Barcelona. Catalonia has been under Spanish occupation since 1714. Its language is distinct from Spanish and French. It is however like both Spanish and French in being a member of the Romance family of languages.

During the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, the Catalonians supported the Republican side. When Francisco Franco came to power as the winner of the Spanish Civil War, it was payback time. Under Franco, any publishing or public use of Catalan was banned. It was granted no official recognition whatsoever.

Franco groomed Juan Carlos to be both the King and his ideological successor. Upon Franco's death in 1975, Juan Carlos assumed power. He quickly restored democracy to Spain, even permitting exiled communists to return. Catalonian was legalised as was Basque. Permission was granted to teach and conduct government business in Catalan. A regional parliament was formed that was known as the Generalitat. It conducts its business in Catalan.

Despite this, Catalonia still is not an independent country, a fact resented by many in Catalonia. It is both linguistically distinct and economically viable. The Catalonians are sufficiently concentrated as to make the drawing of borders aviable proposition. The Catalonian people have been both peaceful and patient as they endure decade after decade of foreign rule from Madrid. Should they become an independent country? Perhaps they should be permitted to vote on the matter. Spanish speakers have many countries, as do Arabic speakers. Catalonia is a language and a culture without its own country. Is this fair?

****************************************************************************With this posting are three videos. One is an introduction to the Catalan language. The second presents the case for Catalonian independence. The third video is a song by a group called Els Pets with a song titled "Jo Soc El Teu Amic" (I Am Your Friend)

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