By Quim Torra, 19 December 2012
At my parents’, once circulated an old copy of a book that all of the sibling had to read: “Of when beasts could speak” (“De quan les bèsties parlaven”) by Manuel Folch i Torres. Father was inflexible. Much like Thackeray’s “the Rose and The Ring” and Josep Maria Folch i Torres’ “Bolavà”, father considered that one could not become an adult without having read it. It was a delightful book in which barn owls, bears, elephants, fawns, and bumble bees, could speak, in an educational compilation of fables for children.
Now, you look at your country and your will see again the beasts speaking. Although of another kind. Scavengers, vipers, hyenas. Beast of human shape that spit hatred. A disturbed, nauseating hatred, as of verdigris fake teeth, against all that (Catalan) language stands for.
They are here amongst us. Any expression of Catalanism is repulsive for them. It is a sickening phobia. There is something Freudian in these beasts. Or a small defect in their DNA chain. Poor individuals! They live in a country of which they know nothing about: its culture, its traditions, its history. They stroll impermeable to any event representing the Catalan essence. It gives them a rash. They get annoyed at anything that isn’t Spanish and in Spanish.
They have names and last names, the beasts. We all know some. They are many, the beasts. They live, die, and multiply. One of them, a few days ago, was involved in an event that has not reached Catalonia and that deserves to be presented as an extraordinary account of the brutality of these beings. Poor beasts, they are not capable of anything better.
One of the very few airlines that accept the use of Catalan with normality is Swiss. If you have ever been on one of their flights to the old Confederation, you will have notice how our language is used normally at the time of take-off and landing of the plane. An exception since, unfortunately, with the other airlines we are treated exactly for what we are, the last colony in European soil.
So a couple of weeks ago one these beasts was flying on a Swiss flight. On arrival to destination, the usual instructions prior to landing were announced in Catalan. The best, automatically, secreted its enraged saliva. A thick smell of sewer emanating from its seat. It moved unsettled, disturbed, desperate, horrified for having to listen to a few Catalan words. It had no escape. A mucous-like sweat, as of a toad with a cold, flowed down its armpits. One should picture it, the beast, after so long!, they who can live in their Spanish world without trouble, listening to a few words in a language it hates. Infuriated, (the beast) decided to wrote a letter to a German newspaper in Zurich, protesting on how it was treated since its “rights were being violated” since Castilian (note: also known as Spanish) is the “first” official language of Spanish. Its complain was published full page.
Thank God, our good friends of the Casal Català (Catalan association) of Zurich, have responded and have made things clear (so many embassies and, see, it has been a small Casal Català who mobilized thanks to the decency and dignity of its members).
But, why should we demonstrate each time? When will the attacks by the beasts cease? How can we cope in 2008 with so much vexation, so much humiliation and so much despise?