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dissabte, 3 de setembre de 2011

Help Catalonia

This in an article from Help Catalonia's Blog.

Spain seeks to destroy Catalan educational system

In 2006, Catalans approved in a referendum a new Statute of Autonomy—the general law that regulates its self-government within the Kingdom of Spain—that stated that Catalonia is a nation and that Catalan is the language of Catalonia. Catalan had been the vehicular language of the educational system in the country for thirty years, but the new Statute of Autonomy reaffirmed and protected this essential characteristic that had been repeatedly praised by all reports and studies on the matter, whether they came from experts in the field of linguistics, sociology, pedagogy or from the institutions of the European Union. This educational system guarantees a good knowledge of both Catalan and Spanish. As official and academic reports alike reveal, Catalans complete obligatory education with skills in Spanish similar to those of their Spanish colleagues.

Catalan, a Romance language spoken by about 12 million people, is a matter of identity for the Catalans—a thousand-year-old people that had the first parliament and whose government, despite the many years of abolition of any self-government, now has its 129th President. After almost 300 years of persecution of the Catalan language, customs and culture and the imposition of the Spanish language, after massive migrations both from Spain (in 1970, 53% of the population of Barcelona wasn’t born in Catalonia) and more recently from around the world (with 1 million newcomers in the span of 10 years, in a country of 6.5 million people), the Catalans are very conscious that education is the key for the survival of Catalan as the main and national language of Catalonia, and so are very proud of the factor of integration and social peace and consensus that the immersive educational system has created in its thirty years of application after the Spanish nationalist and fascist dictatorship.

In July 2010, after 4 years of deliberation, the Spanish Constitutional Court —an anomalous Court with deceased members still to be replaced, members whose mandates had (and still have) long expired, members that have presented their resignation which have not been accepted and who have publicly said that the Court has been hijacked by the Spanish political parties— ruled against the new Statute and against the will of the Catalan government, the Catalan parliament and the Catalan people. The sentence removed or modified 41 articles of the new Catalan Statute, including the definition of Catalonia as a nation, the protection of Catalan self-government, of its language and culture, a fair funding and a new judicial system for Catalonia, rendering the new Statute even worse than the previous one in many of its key features. As a response to this sentence, 1.5 million Catalans rallied in Barcelona in one of the biggest marches in the history of Europe, under the mottoes of “We Are a Nation, We Decide” and “Independence”. Supporters included cultural, political and civil organizations, trades unions, renowned individuals, all Catalan political parties, the Catalan government, its President, the Parliament… in short, the whole Catalan society joined the demonstration, a demonstration that the Spanish news services reported as of just “thousands” of participants or even never mentioned the march, saying, instead, that Catalans had gone to the beach in expectation for the next day’s final match of the Soccer World Cup that Spain won.

Yesterday, on the 2nd of September 2011, the Spanish judicial system gave an ultimatum to the Catalan government: Spanish is to be made a vehicular language in the Catalan educational system within two months. The response of the majoritary worker uninons, associations of professors and the Federation of Parents is that they will never obey this ruling, and that demonstrations will be prepared for the National Day of Catalonia, on September 11th.
With this, Spain not only violates the human right of self-determination and prevents the Catalans from achieving independence (which would win with a 60% of favourable votes in a referendum), it still attacks the very existence of the Catalans as a people and a nation and the survival of its distinctive features of customs and language —features that should be considered as the heritage of all humanity. This has been in fact the objective of Spain since it conquered Catalonia. Hundreds of edicts and laws could be cited, passed by Spanish kings, Presidents and Ministers from 1714 till today. But a couple of them, from the first years of Spanish occupation, may suffice as examples:

“We should not choose weak and less effective means, but the most robust and likely to delete from the memory of the Catalans anything that might conform to their old and abolished constitutions, laws, rights and customs”.
–Spanish Council, 1715

“Each of them (viceroys) must observe, obey and execute, and make observe, enforce and implement timely and effectively my Royal Resolution [...] that once and for all, all the languages are to be extinguished [..] and only Spanish is to be spoken, as is commanded by repeated royal decrees and issued orders”.
–Charles III, King of Spain, 1770
The Catalan language is facing similar or worse persecution in Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Northen Catalonia (France), while it is properly protected in Andorra, a sovereign state whose only official language is Catalan.

The Occitan language of Aran—an administrative region in Catalonia that nationally belongs to Occitania— faces exactly the same situation. The Catalan Statute of Autonomy of 2006 protected the Aranese self-government and language, and recognized its distinct Occitan nationality. All sentences against the Catalan language also attack Occitan.

Please, Help Catalonia and Aran. 

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