Salvador Oliva i Llinàs (Banyoles, December 6, 1942) is a retired translator, poet and university professor. He has a degree in Romance Philology and a PhD in Catalan Philology from the University of Barcelona. He was a professor at the University of Girona for almost forty years, until in 2013, being a professor of Catalan Philology, he retired.  In addition to all of William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, he has translated works by W.H. Auden, Lewis Carroll, Dylan Thomas, Oscar Wilde, R.L. Stevenson, Washington Irving and Jean-Claude Grumberg.
When I lived in England, a country I admire a lot, I stayed in a student residence. One evening, on my way back to my room, I saw that a sign with a rather savage insult had been pasted on my door. The call: “Greasy fucking dago”. Dago is the derogatory name that English racists apply to any Spaniard, and the two initial adjectives can be translated as “greasy” and “bad.” Since this could only come from a sick nationalist (and forgive the redundancy), it didn’t affect me at all and I didn’t even rip the paper off the door. Someone else did, because it wasn’t there the next day. But I did find out by chance who had hooked me. Looking from the courtyard to the window of his room, he saw an immense English flag covering an entire wall lock. We didn’t know each other at all. One day we crossed paths and I gave him a sly smile of indifference.
People who are not patriots and uncomfortable with national flags and anthems can only consider the pro-independence politicians here to be as sick as that English boy was. They have the virus of nationalism. They are carriers of it and propagate it. The essence of nationalists is to consider themselves better than those born on the other side of a border, whatever they may be. And that, in the short or long run, means conflict.
Human nature, what Josep Pla called “evil of the beast itself”, has invented insults of this kind everywhere: in addition to dago, we have metic, black feet, Catalan dogs, xarnego (of foreign mixed origin), gabacho, greaser, etc. Nationalism, like patriotism (which, as Samuel Johnson said, is the last refuge of scoundrels), is also a disease of the ignorant who are not scoundrels. But what shows me most that the human condition has no solution is that, among nationalists everywhere, there are so many cultivated obtuse, people who have had the opportunity to access culture and, instead of receiving its values, falls into this pathetic refuge. This makes me sure that when it comes to eradicating the virus of nationalism, there is no hope.
Meanwhile, Torra is raising his retirement (after raising his salary twice and earning more than Pedro Sánchez). The pro-independence activists who have power here, in addition to being sick, are thieves; they have learned Pujol’s lessons well. But these deserve something more drastic than a sly smile of indifference.