What is (and what is not) about Canet de Mar, by Joan Cañete Bayle

Apparently, Catalonia is Mississippi. And Tennessee. And Alabama. Also, at times, it is Weimar Germany and the Warsaw ghetto. In Catalonia the Rosa Park and Ruby Bridges appear, and in Catalonia the entire population (the one that feels Catalan, the one that feels Spanish and, poor devils, the equidistant) live like Jews under the Nazi yoke. Catalonia, it seems, is today the epicenter of apartheid and oppression, a ‘melting pot’ of dark matter, a melting pot of the worst: South Africa, Belfast, Palestine and Israel at the same time, the Francoism that was never revived. Object of amazement and worldwide amazement, in Catalonia Rosa Parks can be black and white at the same time, speak Spanish and Catalan, love and hate the ‘ñ’ and the ‘ç’, because in Catalonia the definitive battle between good and evil is fought, a clash in which, yes, everyone is good, morally faultless. From their trenches with barbed wire, wrapped in their flags, all claim to fight against fascism for freedom, democracy and fundamental rights. In Catalonia, the Godwin law, the reductio ad Hitlerum and the banalization of very serious issues (racism, segregation, Nazism, the Holocaust, the systematic violation of human rights by a state machinery …) are mere rhetorical resources. In Catalonia we are the host. Or the wafer.

It is very easy to charge against Pablo Casado for being hyperbolic and for trivialize the struggle for civil rights in the United States by affirming that this is what Canet de Mar is about. Also incoherent: a Spanish nationalist politician to the core affirms that nationalism (that of others, it is understood) is an intolerable scourge. It’s what nationalists have, in general: that beyond his navel all is barren land. That’s the difference, let’s say, between a civil rights movement like that of American blacks and a nationalist movement. Married, and so many nationalists, would do well to take a look at the vision of the United States that Martin Luther King draws in his ‘I have a dream’ to intuit the difference between the rights and freedoms of the individuals that form a collective and the construction of the nation as the sole subject of rights. Come on, the speech is not such a long text and there are good translations into Spanish. And to Catalan.

Social elevator

Just as Canet de Mar is not about civil rights, neither is it about sociolinguistics or social cohesion. At first, language immersion in schools was about this, as the Catalan left knows well. It is a model of success in the sense that it has avoided a segregated society in terms of language and has ensured that the (lack) of a language does not hinder the social elevator (if it has stalled it is for other reasons). It is more doubtful that it is a model of success in sociolinguistic terms (Catalan’s health does not improve and their social reputation degrades depending on where) and in educational terms it is as good or bad as the Catalan school is overall.

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What Canet de Mar is about is nationalism. Spanish nationalism has never been well related to diversity and plurality, which is why it has always been choked by the other languages ​​spoken in Spain. Catalan, for its part, in addition to being a minority language, is an indisputable pillar of Catalan identity (there are not many more) and, therefore, of Catalan nationalism. Not to go back too far, if in the times of ‘Pujol, Spanish of the year’, Catalan was already a battlefield (see the origin of Ciutadans), at a historical moment in which Catalan nationalism has become mainly pro-independence and more exclusive, no one should be surprised that the language is ‘casus belli’ of the highest order. This is what Canet de Mar is about, beyond a child that few seem to think about: the clash of nationalisms that grips Catalan politics and threatens to suffocate Catalonia for so much, they say, loving it. We against them. We against them.

Everything else, the Godwin law, the reductio ad Hitlerum, the trivialization wrapped in red and yellow and ‘stelades’, is nothing more than sign of the times: propaganda, ignorance, bad faith, indecency and intellectual destitution, the irrational withdrawal to the darkest part of the tribe. Respond those involved, interested and responsible to these two questions: Do you think you can be Spanish by speaking Catalan? What can you be Catalan speaking in Spanish? Canet de Mar is about this.


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