Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, it just gets worse and worse for the climate change scientists. It now emerges that, despite it being a figment of someone’s imagination and having no scientific basis whatsoever, a forecast that the Himalayan glaciers would all be gone by 2035 became a key element in the 2008 alarmist ‘benchmark report’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But the head honcho has now issued an apology. So that’s OK. We can go back to worrying about other chunks of ice that may or may not be melting.

Back in the real world, you’ll all be wanting to know where I am with the two banks I wrote to on Monday. Well, I’ve yet to talk to one of them but the other one told me yesterday they’d send me some investment fund options by Friday. Or two days after our chat. As I was leaving the bank, it dawned on me just how conditioned I now am. Given that they’re standard, why hadn’t I asked her why she didn’t go into her computer and print them off immediately? Incidentally, both of the banks are now adopting the policy that, now I’m a customer, they really can’t offer what they would to people who aren’t. So I may be moving again soon.

I mentioned the other day that Spanish trains are of excellent quality but slow. Much the same can be said for all the public works that have been taking place in Pontevedra over the last several months. Most of these involve granite and, while they may take an eternity, the end results are usually quite beautiful. I’ve been wanting to take a photo of some but, after the cold snap finished 10 days ago and the wind started blowing from the south west, it’s hardly stopped raining. Some time soon. I hope.

If you’re interested to know what our in-house Jeremiah is saying now about Greece and the possible break-up of the EU, click here. And here for a follow-up from British Euro MP (and eurosceptic) Daniel Hannan.

Finally . . . My friend Alfred B Mittington is in campaigning mood and has sent me this letter. It’s probably better that José refrains from reading it but I suspect that’s too much to ask. If you’ve read our recent dialogue, you’ll know that he and I went over similar ground. But not with as much emotion and eloquence as Alfie can muster. . . .

My dear Colin,

As promised, I am hard at work to improve the Spanish & Galician school systems, but it is a considerable job and it takes some time. Will get back to you about that, old boy, in due time. We ain’t dead yet, are we? And anyway these problems will not go away overnight. So there’s time.

However, on this day of the Mega-strike against the anti-Gallego Decretazo I cannot refrain from sharing with you two little documents which Ivana and Selassie [Alfred’s godchildren – CD] brought home from school yesterday. It makes some sense to quote these; for in yesterday’s blog you said something about the pro-Gallego faction not wishing parents to chose in what language they want their kids taught. I laughed when I read that, thinking you were being your wry Liverputian self again. But when Igor [the father of Alfred’s Godchildren – CD] showed me these two xeroxes I bloody laughed no longer. Because I fear that you were right.

The first of these originates with the (quote) ‘Equipo de Normalizacion e Dinamizacion Linguistica’ which is quite a little mouthful (where is ol’ Georgy Orwell when you need him?) representing – if I am not mistaken – the group of pro-Gallego schoolteachers in each school. As manifestos go, it’s not a bad one, really, offering some serious pedagogical arguments. But I also find here the paragraph: ‘We are of the opinion that the “Administración” should not confer upon the families the decision on aspects of the curriculum which are its own responsibility.’ Now at least they are honest, of course, in their rejection of giving parents a choice. But WHO do they mean with the ‘Administracion’, pray tell? Not, of course, what you and I, burdened as we are by our knowledge of Yankee ‘English’ think at first, i.e. the Government. For if the Government were to decide, then these fine folk run into the awful trouble that the democratically elected government at this exact moment is the PP Xunta, on whom they piss! No, what they mean is that small revolutionary spear-point hard core clan of pro-Gallego ‘experts’ who have burrowed themselves deeply into the civil service and sway the invisible sceptre that nobody voted into their hands! THEY are to decide what everybody is supposed to do and want and obey!

The second manifesto is no less funny and dramatic, but in another way. It comes from the ANPA of the kids’ school (an ANPA, as you childless bachelor surely ignore, is the parents’ association of every school). It’s a bloody long piece of work (ever read through the reports of the IV. International?) but the juicy bit is here: ‘The ANPAs reject that the government delegates to the decision of fathers and mothers the protection of the Galician language which the Estatuto de Autonomia grants to the public powers’; ‘the ANPAs are of the opinion that decisions about an educative program must be taken by the government’ and not ‘in the manner of subjective decisions of the families’!!!! Now ain’t this rich? Whatever parents think is a silly subjective decision. But what the highly politicized (and self-imposed) ‘experts’ think is of course Objective! Yet it gets richer still, for this ANPA writes in the name of the ‘pais e nais das ANPAs’ – and I can assure you that Igor and his wife were a little taken aback to receive a manifesto written in their name, about which they were never consulted, but in which they publicly state that they, the parents, are of the opinion that parents should not be given a choice in the matter!

Oh dear, reading these two pamphlets really makes me think that our pro-Gallego faction is not, perhaps, as democratic as one would expect, hope or like…

The only just and correct solution to this tangle would of course be to instruct every school to set up one bloody class which will be taught in Gallego and another which will be taught in Spanish (and in both of which there will be hours dedicated to the learning of both languages), and then let parents chose in which of the two to drop their brats. It will not happen, I know. And yet I cannot understand how otherwise serious people can maintain that they are indeed democrats, or left-wing, or well-intentioned, when they deny parents to chose for themselves. After all: anyone who refuses to offer the citizens a choice, implicitly admits that the citizens reject his proposal. And anyone who next proceeds to impose his views on the citizens who do not desire it, is a dictator. Sorry boys and girls: no way around it. You are denying grown-up people the right to decide for themselves how they wish to live; and you are making the vile bastards obey you to the greater glory of your minority view! And these are of course the same boys and girls who daily denounce Zapatero for not granting referendums to the Catalans and Basques! Whenever it is convenient, we change our most sacred First Principles!

As I said often before: all human thinking starts with the conclusions, then collects the necessary arguments, and finally works its way down to first principles.

Long enough, this one. Hope you liked it. How’s Ryan? Tell him I’ve got a bone of contention in the freezer, waiting for the old bastard to set his teeth into.

Your old friend, Al.

Of course, all this helps to explain why (and others) accuse Leftist Nationalists of using fascists methods. Which tends to upset them. The truth often hurting, as they say.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, Colin, it seems to me that this friend of yours insists in knowing a lot about the ills of the educational system. As far as I am concern, there is only one ill, one from which all others stem: the lack of creativity. The main asset of kids, creativity, spontaneity, is just squashed, in the name of control and hierarchy (remember the Pink Floyd “brick on the wall”?). So I consider this language dispute as a sub-product of the real one. There was no need for such a fuss: in Galicia there are two official languages, and every citizen must be equally literate and capable on both. In order to do that you have to implement at least 50% of school time in Galician. Preferably more, since there is still a big unbalance in favour of Spanish. This is a matter of common sense, there is no need to consult parents about this, or about whether they prefer their children not to be taught geometry, as geometry is, whether you like it or not, an integral part of mathematics, just as Galician language is an integral part of the Galician identity. So, why do people have to demonstrate, yet again in the Compostela streets, about what is their unalienable right and obligation? Moreover, why do people have to write long winded letters to explain the boring details of this diverting and counter-diverting dispute? Is it just an excuse to show off their linguistic / creative writing skills? Wouldn’t we be saved of their creativity / pedantry had they had the privilege of having experienced through a truly creative school system, where monolingual children become natural bilingual, if in a bilingual country, bilingual children value equally their two tongues, so that there is no aversion or fear for cultural diversity and variety, neither for learning of languages, and where you are given the right to cherish your own identity and value others’?

So all this pointless dispute leaves me a bit dejected, though not confused. Are you confused, Colin?

José

Xoán-Wahn said...

I can't help but agree. I have come to this conclusion myself in my talks with José (which have apparently come to an end). Galician nationalists are, more often than not, guilty of using the same tactics that Franco used against them in his day. The ironic thing is that Franco was wrong in doing so because he was just plain evil but they are right in doing so because they are doing it for the right reasons: their own. I'm sure they'll win in the end, though. Eventually, it will all be too much for non-nationalists to handle and we'll all just move to other parts of Spain, at which point it will probably be us crying out for nationalist regions to be kicked out of Spain and not the other way around. This is fine for nationalists, of course, because they assume that they will just become their own little countries but remain fully integrated in the EU. I'm not as sure as they are about that part.

Midnight Golfer said...

Yeah, I keep getting 'driven' from one company to the next due to their silly rules and specials.
I may have gotten burned on my last move, though.
Despite not fulfilling their part of the bargain, Vodafone is trying to bill me for the nearly 150 buck fee for breaking the contract with them.
Despite that THEY told me that it wasn't going to work, and completely cancelling the service.
Despite that it was their fault it took over a month for them to figure out that they could not provide the service promised (and thus going beyond the one month time limit they impose as a right to rescind the contract without penalty.)
Despite that it was me that had to call them, when the little bit of serviceability they did manage to get me, stopped working completely when they shut it off. Upon which they said I had been "dado de baja" and that I didn't have to do anything else, and that perhaps they would send someone to collect the equipment they had sent out to me.
Despite that for nearly two months, I received no contact from Vodafone, whatsoever, until a collections agency, claiming to represent them, called to inform me that I was severely late on my paymentS, and that I am headed for legal trouble if I don't pay up.

So, now Vodafone says that I could not have been "dado de baja" over the phone. "Impossible" - they said. It can only be done by fax (the very type of ancient technology I am hoping to avoid, as I try to get DSL service at my home.) But, I send the fax anyways, so now it has been several months with no service, but also no payment, no bills, receipts, etc. but also, no record of having cancelled as soon as it was determined that it was not possible for them to hold up their end of the bargain.
So, now the collection agency keeps calling, despite having sent and confirmed the fax, and I call Vodafone yet again, and mention that I still have yet to see the guy that was supposed to pick up the unused equipment, and they say, "Oh! We'll send him out tomorrow." - AND HE ACTUALLY DOES SHOW UP THE VERY NEXT DAY!! - astounding...
So, three days later, the collection agency calls to let me know they have to start charging extra fees and interest, as it has taken too long for me to respond positively to their company's attempts at bleeding me - not so astounding... Vodafone says today that I must lodge "reclamaciones" and that they will get back in touch in a few days to let me know what THEY HAVE DECIDED! - and to tell the collection agency that, when they call again.

We'll see, I suppose.

I wonder how long it will take for my non-payment to show up in the "morosidad" statistics for Spain?

trabizonspor said...

Funny: I always thought creativity involved the freedom to make choices. And that democracy implied the people running the state rather than vice versa.

Some enterprising young Moroccans in Barcelona appear to be driving an entertaining and possibly explosive subcurrent to language-driven economic suicide in the region. Like the autochthonous fascists they agree that Spanish should be driven out of public life, but then they make the perfectly sensible point that the language still in use in Catalonia and used first is not Catalan but Arabic. So they want two equally useless official languages, and, since at some stage even the PSOE may baulk at such naked xenophobia, they view independence as the only means of achieving this goal. (They haven't said what their next goal is.)

Colin said...

Well, Jose, my only real confusion (which I admitted to long before our dialogue)is that I don't know how to reconcile the (understandable) demands of those who want Gallego to be at least equal (but preferably dominant) with the principles of democracy.

I am with X-W that the Nationalists will probably win out one day, with a lot more distraction and acrimony along the way.

As I've said many times, it would be better for Galicia to leave the Spanish 'family' and get on with its own life. For better or wors, richer or (more likely) poorer.

Until this happens, again as X-W says, we will probably reach the position (as with Scotland-England) where there are more people wanting divorce in the major partner than in the minor partner. And hundreds of thousands of kids will suffer the consequences of the interim fight. But no one really cares about them, whatever they claim. They have higher 'long term' priorities. Creativity and culture (equals language) in your case. The unity of the Spanish state, at the other extreme. The future of the kids is expendable, to be sacrificed on one or both of these altars. No wonder the parents are angry. Even angrier than the striking teachers, I'd wager.

So, all in all, I'm extremely happy that I don't have kids in education here and so it's all rather academic to me. Which is a shame for Cade because, if I did, I would leave.

Incidentally, it stuck me when driving in Portugal that you had said that the Galician language was the spring of Galcian culture. Or words to that effect. If so, how can Galicia have a Celtic soul if there are no Celtic words in Gallego? And if the Celtic soul can be unaffected by the passage from Celtic to one Romance languae (Gallego), why can't it survive the passage to another (Castellano)? Not that I am proposing this. Just raising a query about the logic.

Cheers.

Colin said...

MG,

If it continues, start a complaint agains Vodaphone with the Consumo. All calls with then stop.

Colin said...

Tradizonspor,

Well, you can't fault the logic. Though someone will.

Do I fancy I recognise this hand?

Well, obviously I think I do. But may not be correct.

Anonymous said...

Bit of copy stick methinks:
bar(cima, elevado)...................bár (cima)
banastra
(carretón)..................bara (carretón)
boroa (pan)............................aran (pan)
bea (montaña).......................beinn (colina)
beluzo (montaña beanntach (montañoso)
beanntaire (montañero)
bran (usado en nombres de ríos, montes y lugares).........................bran (nombre usado para personas y lugares)
bruilo( bramido, ruido del río, del air etc.)........................................braghsdn (ruido, explosión)
braigh (explosión, ruido del fuego)
bruire (zumbar, hacer ruido).......................................................... braim (ventosear)
camba (forma curva de las ruedas del carro)..................................carnadh (formas curvas, de distintos objetos, curva)
cea, cedor (muralla).....................................................................callaid (pared, seto vallado)
ceé (tierra)............................cé (la tierra)
con......................................cuigeal
dumbria (elevación)........................ dúmhail (voluminoso, grueso)
dún (fortificación)
godallo( macho cabrío en celo)...........godhar (macho cabrío)
gabar (macho cabrío en irlandés antiguo)
saa, sar (antiguo, primitivo)..................arsachd (antigüedad)
sean, seann (antiguo, primitivo)

Estás coincidencias, para mí son muy soprendentes, como para dudar que no se hablara en galicia una lengua muy similar al irlandés...

Pericles said...

Colin,

The UK Parliament (sorry, that should be EU provincial government) has decided to investigate the HADCRU scandal.

Where will it go, I wonder?

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/science_technology/s_t_cru_inquiry.cfm

Regards,

Perry

Colin said...

Well, no one claims a Celtic language wasn't spoken here in Galicia (as in much of Sapin). The point is that it didn't survive. So can't be the well-spring of a culture which has a Celtic soul.

You seem to be arguing a case for Gallego going forward (fair enough) which doesn't stand for the Celtic tongue going bacwards.

Either, as you say for Gallego, alanguage is essential for a culture to survive or it's not. It can't be both.

I think you should drop the Celtic bit. It doesn't help your case. There is a disticnt Galician culture. It doesn't have to be labelled Celtic, unless you want to market it.

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

trabizonspor,

why exert with such ingenuity your imagination to construct this sub-real “Moroccan conspiracy”, when reality easily beats fiction, at least in this case? Your “exotic” Moroccans are in fact not that exotic for you: they speak Spanish, they agree that Catalan should be driven out of public life, or at least put on a second plane, and “they make the perfectly sensible point that the language still in use in Catalonia and used first is not Catalan but Spanish.”

So there you have them, trying their best to achieve the independence that as “Spanish first” citizens, have not yet fully achieved. Unfortunately for them, given the fact that most Catalans are mainly highly indoctrinated self-indulging petty nationalists, and that Catalan is widely barked not only by the folk up in the hills, but also by those down on the plain, they will have to ask for help from Madrid.

José

Anonymous said...

Colin,

you keep on falling on a very “silly” trap. There is no need to polarize the two opposing nationalisms in terms of envisaging the breaking down of Spain. Galician nationalists want hegemony of the Galician language and autonomy of affairs (in Galicia, not out of it). This doesn’t necessarily mean they want independence or the banning of the Castilian Spanish language. These two are the slanders banged about by the Spanish nationalists who, seeing their secular privileges in real jeopardy, do their best to demonise the other nationalist band. The unity of the Spanish state needs not the Spanish nationalism creed, which in fact is causing it to break down, as the example of Yugoslavia teaches us with the Serbian hegemony. Spanish nationalism, to which you subscribe, postulates the hegemony of Spanish language all over the territory, at the expense of other language and cultural manifestations. This is a very harmful ideology that still rules the reasoning of many Spaniards, as well as yours and your readers’.

A model in which Spanish is the “Lingua franca” in all the territory, but with Catalan, Basque and Galician (the other remaining alive and active Iberian languages) hegemonic in their respective territories, could guarantee a more viable Spanish state.

If you are lazy enough to learn the language of the country that hosts you, well, you should stay home. All Arabs, Romenians, Nigerians, etc, etc, in Madrid have to learn Spanish and live in Spanish, so there is no reason for Madrileños not to learn the language of the countries that host them, be it England, France or Catalonia. But Spanish nationalists, as yourself, Colin, expect it the other way around. It is a rest of the colonial ideology still circulating in education and society at large, and one that will cause serious problems in this country (Spain). When an English speaker (or Slavic or Arabic) comes to live to Galicia, you can “make allowances” and give them priority to either one of the two languages they choose to “prioritise” (Galician or Spanish), to make it “easier” for them, but a Spanish speaker (or even a French, Italian or Portuguese) has no excuse to not learn Galician if living there.

Another “silly” mistake of yours, Colin: let’s be no doubt that the ones playing with Galician children’s future are those who want to create a two tiered generation of bilingual and monolingual (only Spanish) future citizens, the perfect recipe for a divided society, for disaster. Whoever Galician or Galicia resident who refuses their children the education in Galician is not only depriving them of a cultural heritage at which they (their children) are entitled to, but also sowing the seeds of future discord.

José

Anonymous said...

Colin,

about the Celtic soul, again you are very intent in denying the evidence: there are in Galician many words of Celtic origin. If it wasn’t so, then Galician would be, with Romanian, a romance language apart. But not only is the lexicon that counts, as there are other linguistic and cultural structures of a clear Celtic root. However, as it is widely known, Castilian has more of a Basque influence.

But denying the “Celtic connexion” serves very well the Spanish nationalist creed, that you so relentlessly seem to support ... whatever makes of Galician different to Spanish is a highly dangerous concept, especially if it links it with whatever lies beyond the boundaries of the sacrosanct kingdom of Spain ... be it the Celtic world or the “Lusofonía”.

If you research without prejudice on both “outer” links, you will come to the conclusion that they are not inventions. Even if some folk just “overblow” these connections ...

Midnight Golfer said...

Thanks, it hadn't occurred to me.

Colin said...

José

I really don’t understand your obsession with labelling me a Spanish nationalist.

Do I really care whether Galicia is part of Spain? – No, I don’t and have suggested it would be for the best if it weren’t

Do I really care whether Gallego drives out Spanish in Galicia? – No, I don’t. But I would certainly see it as a factor in my future plans

Do I really care whether Galicia is more Celtic than anywhere else in Spain or Europe – No, I don’t and I will probably go and enjoy the Ortigueira festival one of these days.

Do I really care what happens in the education sphere in Galicia? – No, I don’t. I don’t have kids here

José, to state what I believe is obvious - I am not a believer in either creed. I am a mere resident observer who makes - oddly enough - observations. The fact that some of these don’t appeal to you does not mean you are right to attribute some political creed to me.

You, on the other hand, are like a religious fanatic who regards everyone (of any nationality) who doesn’t share his beliefs as the spawn of the devil. And possibly worthy of execution if they are Galician. I exaggerate, of course, for dramatic effect.

But you write very well. And I enjoy your messages.

Let’s hypothesise a bit . . .

This year, I will be entitled to take out Spanish nationality. Let’s imagine Galicia was really a nation and that I could take out Galician nationality too.
So, if I took out Spanish nationality, would this make me a Spanish Nationalist?
And if I took out Galician nationality, would this make me a Galician Nationalist?
And if I could and did take out dual nationality, would this make me half a Spanish Nationalist and half a Galician Nationalist?

Only in your simple black and white world would any of the answers to the above be Yes.

Cheers.

Colin said...

José,

Why don't you register a name, rather than keep writing under Anonymous and then signing your name? I mean, for all we know, someone else could be doing this and pretending to be you.

Colin said...

Jose,

"A model in which Spanish is the “Lingua franca” in all the territory, but with Catalan, Basque and Galician (the other remaining alive and active Iberian languages) hegemonic in their respective territories, could guarantee a more viable Spanish state."

Well, I certainly agree with this. But, as I keep saying, it's the methodology used for arriving at this nirvana that I have difficulty with. And have trouble differentiating it from that of right wing dictatorships.

It is a feature of some extremists on the Left that, because they know they have the moral high grounds, no one has the right to challenge their methods. I think the Jesuits used to fall into this category. And my still do so. The religious aspect again . . . .

Oh, and Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, etc.

Cheers.

mike the trike said...

There is a lot of talk about being Celtic in these comments and being Irish I see from the history books that I too am Celtic. Does that mean I should feel different from a Galego because I may be more Celtic? Does it give me more privileges I don't think so. I am married to a Galega does that give me any more privileges? Not that I can see. I am just another foreigner living here. If an Irishman can't speak Irish does that then take away his celtic spirit? And what is a Celtic spirit so I can see if I have one or not?

Anonymous said...

Colin,

again, I’m sorry to say that I’m very dissapointed with your response :

You wrote:

“You, on the other hand, are like a religious fanatic who regards everyone (of any nationality) who doesn’t share his beliefs as the spawn of the devil. And possibly worthy of execution if they are Galician. I exaggerate, of course, for dramatic effect.”

Well, for someone who labels me a “religious fanatic”, for just denouncing the systematic abuse of human rights in several parts of Spain (Galicia, Euskadi and Catalonia, mainly), being a human right the right to preserve your own culture, no matter how much they tell you that yours is another one, and make you learn it and live by it, I think you are a bit “over the top”, don’t you reckon? Even allowing for the dramatic effect.



“Do I really care what happens in the education sphere in Galicia? – No, I don’t. I don’t have kids here”

Well, it seems to me that you have gone to great lenghts to justify your views and demonize your antagonists. Perhaps you feel as if you have to excuse yourself for something you’ve written ...



“José, to state what I believe is obvious - I am not a believer in either creed. I am a mere resident observer who makes - oddly enough - observations. The fact that some of these don’t appeal to you does not mean you are right to attribute some political creed to me.”

Well, I think you tick all the boxes. What’s the point of denying it? I think you, and myself, have written at length as to leave any doubt about it. Let the intelligent reader decide then.




“But you write very well. And I enjoy your messages.”

Thank you. Me too, Colin.



About your “Galician independence hypothesis” I can’t see any reason to even think about it. We are talking about multiculturalism, about multinational states, where all cultures and all diversity should be cherished, not suppressed or demonised, not about the disintegration of the state. Unless you are looking for an excuse to find those who are for that destructive purpose. It would justify your views about the petty nationalists, wouldn’t it? As I said before, you tick in all the boxes of the Spanish nationalism creed, no matter how much you deny yourself. All you can see, rather than a reason for celebration of diversity, is a threat to some obscure rigths to monolingual ignorance of your own heritage, a threat to political unity, unity that, in your right-wing outmoded views, can only come from a centralised Spanish nationalist state ... very old-fashioned ideas, since the “Reyes Católicos” introduced them ... and very dangerous too ... in fact, the cancer of Spain.

Anonymous said...

Forgot signing:

José

Especially since I have become assiduous to your blog, more than any other of late, perhaps I shoud follow your advise and open an account ... just in case ...

Anonymous said...

Colin,


You wrote that you agree with my idea of “"A model in which Spanish is the “Lingua franca” in all the territory, but with Catalan, Basque and Galician (the other remaining alive and active Iberian languages) hegemonic in their respective territories, could guarantee a more viable Spanish state."

But you don't agree with its methodology. Do you have any proposal? Don’t you reckon that when most citizens are still illiterate (at least partially) in their own language, they should go through a school system on which 50%, if not more, of the time would be delivered in their own language, rather than the lingua franca? Which is exactly what last Thursday demonstrators were asking for ...

Perhaps you have a more interesting idea.

So, again, your allusions to Trosky, Lenin, etc, could be applied to the actual governments that impose the lingua franca and allow the gradual marginalization of the other languages ...



For mike the trike, who asks if he has a Celtic soul ... well, when you have one you know it, it’s like being in love. So, sorry boy, no, you don’t have one. Lost it. I believe it was some half-Spanish fanatic who tried to bring it back, but the school masters didn't succeed to make you folk love (and then learn) your most Celtic (even if originated from Galicia) language. Hey, but you speak English, don’t you! The language of the future, the very one that even Spanish nationalist are very very interested in learning. In fact, you could volunteer to fill up those teaching hours in English ...

José

Colin said...

José,

I'm perfectly willing to let the readers decide whether I am

1. A conscious Spanish Nationalist, or

2. A subconscious Spanish Nationalist, or

3. Just someone who has problems with the methods proposed by Galician (and probably Basque and Catalan) Nationalists in pursuit of their secessionist or even non-secessionist goals.

Trouble is, my friend, I fear 98% of them would be too bored to vote. As you've pointed out, I'm lucky enough not to have many Galician Nationalist readers. You, in fact, probably represent 50% of them and the other one is an imbecile whose views are of no interest to anyone except himself.

Anonymous said...

Well, Colin, I think we should be fair enough to give a fourth option to your readers, even if it is only me and one imbecile (let’s hope he doesn’t find out) to judge. Since you seem to have problems with the methods of one side, but not with those of the other side, among them the new decree to lower Galician teaching time from 50% to 33%, which has just been shown to be hugely unpopular (and I remind you that among those who demonstrated in the streets or who went on strike there was no “queremos más castellano” partisans, all wanted more galego) you are just proclaiming again your Spanish nationalist sympathies. Could you specify which other methods you don’t agree with, apart from the Pontevedra council sending you letters in just Galician, but not Spanish? I am sure that if they sent you the letters just in Spanish you would be complaining too about this equally unfair monolingual practise, even if it was only to the detriment of the folk that live up in the hills, or perhaps not so, since that folk can also read Spanish, in fact, they can read it better.

You said the road signals before too, so it seems that it is a question of not labelling bilingually, isn’t it? So, what about the “other” labelling? Shop and supermarket products, books, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio programs, publicity ... all of them massively just in Spanish ... ? Public institutions, civil servants that can’t even speak Galego ...? You don’t have a problem with that? I mean, just to give your readers a fair fourth option, the one to be compared with the third one ... It is only fair, isn’t it?

So, I will write it for you:

4. Just someone who has problems with the methods proposed by Spanish Nationalists in pursuit of their hegemonic and exterminating or even non-exterminating goals.


Let your readers decide.

I rest my case.

Kind regards,

José

mike the trike said...

Part one.
Well Xosé you really do live in a dream world. I am not a Spanish nationalist and neither is Colin. We are only observers. Some get upset when they read things on here about Galicia which is not pleasing to them. Well now I have something to say so that should get people excited. I have been living here for five years now and what have I learned in that time? Well, I know the lady on the fruit counter at the local supermarket is called Loli. I have also learned to beat the system that puts every block in your way when you try to do something. Tell lies and exaggerate everything you talk about when dealing with bureaucrats. When I first arrived I went to the local town hall to register as a resident and after about half an hour of being pushed from department to department I finally arrived at a desk behind which sat a man who made sure I knew he was in charge and didn't take to foreigners arriving here and setting up home. Secondly, registering at the local Social Security centre. Before going there I made ten copies of every bit of paperwork I could get hold of just to be on the safe side. Well registering only took three tries over a period of a week ( two men were not happy with my papers) and I finally got to a desk where a young lady had an aunt who lived in London so I guess she had more sympathy for me and I managed to get registered. Thirdly, getting the health card. Another battle that had to be won. I went to my local clinic and lined up in the queue. When it was my turn I handed my letter from the Social Security office and a temporary health card to a man who was very aburupt. NO you can't do that here I was told. You have to go to the town hall for that. Well according to the letter I had it stated that I was to find my local health clinic and register for a doctor. I left the clinic and went to a local language school where they taught English and asked if the lady at the desk could read my letter from the Social Security and confirm what I had understood to be correct. Yes she said and translated the letter from Spanish into English to confirm it. I waited for three hours and then went back to the clinic and lined up in the queue and sure enough the same person was still on duty so I told him I had been to the town hall and that I must now present my temporary health card and be given a doctor and a permanent health card would be issued. He set about entering all the information into his computer. Another victory using lies. Do you want to hear about the electric and water company? No, I didn't think you could take any more of this nonsense. In the meantime while applying for all the necessary things one needs to live here I was also accompanied by my Galega wife who was in her fifth year suffering from Alzheimer's at the time and couldn't remember more than two words at a time. ( Being married to a Galega doesn't give you any privileges here.) So she couldn't do anything and it was all in my hands to register her for everything as well. We have a joint account at a well know caixa here and have had it for over 40 years. Of course it was a non-resident account so I never had any problems when on holiday withdrawing money.

mike the trike said...

Part two.
However, as soon as we registered as residents I had to change the account to a resident account. Quite simple really and when we needed money my wife could show her carnet de identidad and we got our money. Now she can't walk or talk so I have to do the things myself. For example, now my local bank won't give me my money at the counter when I ask for a withdrawal because in my passport it doesn't have my local address so the person at the counter has no real proof that I live here. Rules are rules and she has to be careful naturally so as not to hand out my money to some stranger. For those who don't know locals here have an identity card which has a photo and all the necessary information but I don't have one. So for proof that would mean getting three copies of each utility bill I pay by direct debit because they show my address and proof I have a bank account and coming back and going through another hoop and carrying copies every time I wanted to withdraw any cash. So I said to the young lady could I have a debit card to use in the cash machine. Yes the young lady said and it will only cost you ten Euros a year. But what about proof of my address? No problem because we have your address and will post the card to you. See if you are giving away your dosh you can get some service. Wonderful I replied and signed all the necessary paper work and got a card through the post. Now I don't have to go to the bank for anything I just use the cash machine. Oh, before I finish I must add I have a telephone line and Internet service from Telefónica. No trouble at all as I was able register from a neighbour's telephone to get the service. I have the service and it only costs me 69 Euros a month compared to the service my daughter has in England where she has cable TV, telephone and high speed Internet service for 22 Pounds a month. Maybe one day I will write about the crook who sold me my apartment and phoned me on several occasions with threats of what would happen to me if I didn't co-operate. So you see Xosé not having a Celtic soul hasn't stopped me bringing my Galega wife back to her beloved La Coruña to die as she requested. This isn't my first time to live in another country as an immigrant so I know all the feelings that one has when moving into a strange and new environment. Xosé, you are just a walking encyclopaedia full of facts which you can quote and use in debate. Your views posted here do not show the feelings of someone who has a great love for his country. Your mission is to just push the idea of Galicia and Galego like some sort of commodity. Using this platform for pushing your ideas on people here will not accomplish anything. And if you are preaching to Galegos then the spirit has to come from within that person. There has to be an overwhelming desire which I am afraid is not present at the moment. Since the death of Franco there is a new Spain. He tried but couldn't kill that Galego spirit and only made the people more patriotic to Galicia. Most of those people have passed on. Today there are stronger influences from outside which are drawing the people of Galicia away from the dream that you have and it is not mainly Spanish nationalism that you keep on about. Mr nasty has gone now so no one has to defend that Galego spirit. We are now living in a new world of one Europe and that has a greater influence on Galegos and their future. I would love to see an independent Galicia and all the Spanish nationalists have gone to Madrid on the last train that has left La Coruña. It will be very quiet and the railway lines will rust over. The national grid will be disconnected and all one will be able to hear is the whir of the blades of the turbines on the wind farms as they churn out their electricity and you have to make that decision to return home.

Colin said...

José,

I guess this will have to go in 2 or 3 parts.

PART 1

Can I first deal with the phrase ‘folk in the hills”. As I’ve already explained to reader David, this was in no way intended to be a disparaging statement or to imply that I regarded these Gallego speakers as rustic hillbillies. It was an unfortunate phrase, in the context, but only meant to convey that I only meet Gallego when I’m travelling up in the mountains. Whether in the cities of Lugo or Ourense or in the campo. Others have said that Gallego is spoken more in nearby Marín than in Pontevedra. In other words, along this coast. I have no reason to doubt this but was talking about my personal experience.

Secondly, there’s a major difference about what I say are my petty irritations (documents, road signs and tourist brochures) and what is going on in the educational world in Galicia. The first arise from my personal experience and here my comments relate to how I feel my rights (and those of visitors) are ignored by “petty nationalism”. I think you have shown some sympathy with this viewpoint. The second area – education – is where I merely observe what is happening and discuss developments with Galicians who are much more affected by them than me. I do try to get at the facts but these often seem hard to come by. [For example, is it true that – under the PSOE-BNG regime – only the marías came to be taught in Castellano? And, if so, in what percentage of school? Are things different between state schools and private or concertada schools?]

It is an irony that I am only an observer to the more important of these two spheres, especially as it has and will have much more bearing on the future of Galicia, whether or not it remains part of an (increasingly pluralist) Spanish state. But this does not disqualify me from having an opinion, both on the WHAT is being done and on the HOW it is being done.

Specifically, I felt it was wrong that the PSOE-BNG coalition government should be effectively driven by the agenda of a minority partner which (as the elections showed) was actually losing its share of the vote. Very specifically, I did not think the language policies of the Xunta should be driven by the BNG, who do not represent 85% of the electorate. The recent election results appeared to show that this opinion was quite widely shared by the Galician voters. It didn’t shock me but clearly traumatised the BNG.

Colin said...

PART 2

You ask –very fairly – what my proposals would be for reconciling the differences between (using your term) Spanish Nationalists and Galician Nationalists. I am on record as saying I really don’t know. But, like Alfred, I do know I find it non-democratic to ride roughshod over the opinions of parents, whether they be Gallego speakers or Castellano speakers. Some way of accommodating different opinions needs to be found. Your starting point is that the development of the Gallego language and the (Celtic?)culture must be the super-ordinate goals of the Xunta and all else – including parental views and opinions on what is best for the economic development of Galicia must be subordinate to these. Fair enough, but you cannot force all Galicians to agree with you and the ballot box is where the choices are displayed. The PP party thinks it has a mandate for changing the way things were approached by the PSOE-BNG coalition and, of course, there is some justification for this. However, their proposal to have 33% of lessons taught in English is a foolish non-starter. Whether it was tabled because they genuinely thought it would be good for Galician pupils or as an indirect way to reduce the use of Gallego is a matter of opinion. I haven’t the faintest idea but I’m pretty sure that you subscribe to the conspiracy theory.

One of my Galician friends (a socialist and a teacher of Gallego) said a year or two ago that the system was producing kids who were fluent in neither Castellano nor Gallego. And that, therefore, they were doomed to only being able to find jobs in Galicia, where the resultant castrapo was OK. If the PP has their way, I guess this would have to be amended to say the system is now producing kids who aren’t fluent in Gallego, Castellano or English. And along the way are having their ability to learn the subjects in which they’re taught impaired. In other words, they end up even less well educated than they are now. This, to me, seems to be the (huge) price for this linguistic battle. And it is this which seems to me to be detrimental to the future of Galicia.

Finally, I don’t frankly place much importance on the demonstrations in Santiago this week. Passionate believers like you are always more prone to these. It doesn’t actually prove anything that they can be mobilised to go on to the streets. Especially when exhorted to by unions and teachers who expressly say that the content of the teaching curriculum has nothing to do with parents, whose worries are of no relevanc/concern to them and must be ignored if they clash with the goal of Galician/Gallego development. Towards hegemony, rather than mere equality in at least some cases.

Maybe the way forward is to have a referendum specifically on the subject of education. If Galicians can have a say on whether or not they want Spain to be in the EU, they can surely be allowed a say on this rather more important matter.

At least after a referendum I would not be able to say that policies in line with the outcome were un-democratic.

But herein lies the rub – the Galician Nationalists (and you, I guess) are pretty sure any such referendum would not go their way. There’s too much entrenched Castilian language and ways of thinking. So they are never going to support it, are they? They are just going to resist whatever measures the PP thinks it has a mandate for and hope for the return of a PSOE-BNG coalition.

Colin said...

PART 3

My hope for Galicia? That both of the major parties sets out a clear vision of what they intend to do before the next election and that one of them gets a clear, absolute majority.

But, as I keep saying, it’s all rather academic to me. I’m just a concerned – and sometimes amused – observer.

And, since you live in Madrid and may never have kids growing up here, I guess you are too.

Cheers.

PS Of course the imbecile will find out. He reads everything. And still writes to me. He apparently can’t get it into his thick head that I am never going to publish on my blog any of his bile. He has his own blog for that. Where his mother is his only Follower.

PPS “4. Just someone who has problems with the methods proposed by Spanish Nationalists in pursuit of their hegemonic and exterminating or even non-exterminating goals.”. You seem to equate a natural human preference for the status quo (however rightly or wrongly arrived at) with a conscious pursuit of (Spanish) hegemony. Are you familiar with the early Irish government attempts to introduce/impose Gaelic? If so, do you put its failure down to the conscious aim of the Irish citizenry to further the English hegemony? Which would surely be a rather strange desire so shortly after gaining independence from the English. Whom they had rather more reason to hate that the Galicians do vis-à-vis the Spanish/Castilians. It seems to me

PPPS. I don’t suppose you are unaware of the Irish situation but I imagine your interpretation fits your a priori view of what should have happened. And of what is right for Galiza.

Colin said...

PPPPS. I can, of course, understand you not wanting Galicia to reach the point where (as in Ireland) there is no realistic possibility of retrieving the lost Celtic/non-Celtic language. A fine aim. But, José, you have to take the people with you. Not dismiss them as ignorant traitors to The Cause. The risk, of course, is that you and the activists on the ground here will/have already alienated many of them (see the election results) and so DECREASED the chances of a referendum that might provide some democratic legitimacy and take some heat out of the situation. So the fight will drag on, and on, and on. And the kids will continue to suffer.

Not that I think you want this. You surely don't agree with me that it will happen. And you are entitled to your view.

But so are their parents. Some would say even more entitled than you.

Cheers again.

mike the trike said...

Xosé regarding that half Spanish fanatic, you forgot that there are two Irelands and you chose the wrong one. However, we won't be discussing what went on in the second Ireland except to say that I am in my 70s and in my mother's day the Irish language was forbidden and being caught with any books written in Irish was a serious offence.

Colin said...

José,

I just got this from Alfred. Before you answer him, should you decide to do so, I should warn you that he is a bit of a linguist (British understatement) and really knows his stuff. You might find him tougher meat than me . . .

My dear Colin,

Interesting exchange you're having there with Anonymous Joe on the Celticness of Gallego. Could you possibly ask him to elaborate a little on the 'other linguistic (..) structures of a clear Celtic root' he mentions Gallego as having? For I wasn't aware of any such, and naturally it makes all the difference. The presence of lend-words (or what we might call residu-vocabulary from a previous language) does not of course a family-relationship make. The maritime vocabulary of English is full of words absorbed from Dutch; yet nobody would be so silly as to propose, on that lean basis, that English is a Lower Dutch derivative. In Ferrol, they tell me, the household word for the hairy thing on a stick used for sweeping is 'Broosh' - an obvious derivative from Brush, imported in British boats; yet that does not qualify Ferrolese as an Anglo-Saxon lingo. Unless, therefore, one can point out 'Celtic' mechanisms at work in the grammar, Gallego really must count as just one more straight off-shoot of Vulgar Latin, just like Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and Rumanian, to name but a few. But I'd be happy to be instructed! Never too late to learn, quoi?

Yours, Al.

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

sorry I haven’t been able to come earlier. I see a flurry of answers to my “rested case”, which I will try to answer now.

But first of all, to mike the trike, very sorry for your personal circumstances, but I can’t see what they have to do with this issue. I don’t think that restoring the cultural distinctiveness of Galicia /Galiza can have any positive effect on your plight, unfortunately. Not even in the bureaucratic culture, which can be even worse here in Madrid. About the Celtic soul, this is a “romantic” kind of idea, so you can have one if you want, nobody can take that away from you. So I take away what I said you didn’t have one. About the facts and the agenda, well, I think Galician culture is still alive, except in the big cities, especially in Corunna, so you shouldn’t take your “(Corunna) world" as the only real one. I think most Galicians still want to preserve these culture and language. And the only way is through social restauration of it.

And about wishing the independence for Galicia, that’s not my wish, nor it is most of Galicians’. We (many of us, or some of us) want Galician culture restored as the hegemonic one and not substituted by Castilian/Spanish. That doesn’t mean independence, but just respect for more variety.

Anyway, all the best with your wife’s problem, I have family with the same problem, and know how sad and hard it is.

All the best.

José

Anonymous said...

Ok, Colin, even though I “rested my case”, now I will start commenting your last comments, quoting you to go one thing at a time. Starting with “part one”:

“... here my comments relate to how I feel my rights (and those of visitors) are ignored by “petty nationalism”. I think you have shown some sympathy with this viewpoint.”

I have very little sympathy for your viewpoint, Colin. I have loads of sympathies for the victims of “big nationalism”, those who have been compelled to abandon their culture and language, since primary school age. I have loads of sympathies for the Galician elder who have experienced disparaging for being unable to speak or conduct themselves in the language of the state, and who ended up thinking that they were worth less. And who didn’t want that to happen to their children.




“But this does not disqualify me from having an opinion, both on the WHAT is being done and on the HOW it is being done.”

But it does disqualify you, Colin, from having an INPARTIAL opinion. You read only one side of the story, since you are unable to read Galician. There is another story told, in Galician, but you know nothing about it. I will show you some samples later on, but again, if you can’t understand Galician, you won’t be able to hear both sides ... Your arguments are flawed precisely because of this.




“I did not think the language policies of the Xunta should be driven by the BNG, who do not represent 85% of the electorate. The recent election results appeared to show that this opinion was quite widely shared by the Galician voters.”

Wrong again. You are victim of the pro-Spanish media campaign launched before the elections. Reading only the Spanish press won’t give you a balanced view, as this is controlled by the dominating ideology. In simple terms, to make it short: the PP raked in votes from the far right to win the election. The total votes of PSOE + BNG were actually more than the PP’s. Anyway, they won thanks to listening to those far right Spanish nationalists, intent in keeping the Spanish language / culture hegemony, and who stirred this linguistic conflict, which was practically non-existent: the education law allowed for a lot of “flexibility”, which was well exploited by the Spanish speaking teachers (not necessarily Nationalists) unversed in Galician. Hence the reaction of the Galician nationalist in some places, which was largely publicised by the media, to portrait them as kind of fascists. But even if in fact Galician was far from being hegemonic over Castilian in education (even if in some localities it was), their challenge at the stats quo was something that Spanish nationalist wouldn’t put up with. And they exploited it well, allowing for a few votes enough to secure the PP government to push Galician from that threatening (for them) position. The reaction of the society to this new decreto, despite of all the main media being in Spanish nationalist hands, is self-evident.

José

Anonymous said...

Now, “part two”:

“I do know I find it non-democratic to ride roughshod over the opinions of parents, whether they be Gallego speakers or Castellano speakers.”

Wrong again. In what country are parents asked in what language do they want their children educated? The fact is that Galician is official language of the Galician nation (as admitted in the Spanish constitution), and the Spanish Constitution guarantees its survival and fostering. What parents can do, as citizens, is to ask Galician not to be official anymore, but in the legal framework we had at the moment they have no right of saying in this issue. If they allow their children to be ignorant of one of the two official languages, they will be imposing their ignorance as future citizens, unable to speak it, thus infringing the rights of Galician speakers. With the same idea, those parents who don’t want their children to learn in Spanish, will be making of their children ignorants who would impose their ignorance on the others, demanding to be addressed exclusively in Galician. Result: a divided society.



“The PP party thinks it has a mandate for changing the way things were approached by the PSOE-BNG coalition and, of course, there is some justification for this.”

Wrong again. Colin, there was a linguistic education consensus agreed by the PP when in the opposition. Now they decided to change it, because Galician nationalist / sympathisers are using this law to implement their rights. Now, come next election, and we have again PSOE-BNG ... another change of law?
The question here is, why changing this previous agreement? Could it be that the PP thought they could get away with that law they had agreed in the times of Fraga, and now they saw they counldn’t get away through the loopholes anymore? So they decide to change the law ...



“However, their proposal to have 33% of lessons taught in English is a foolish non-starter. Whether it was tabled because they genuinely thought it would be good for Galician pupils or as an indirect way to reduce the use of Gallego is a matter of opinion. I haven’t the faintest idea but I’m pretty sure that you subscribe to the conspiracy theory.”

Of course it was a foolish non-starter. But it served them well: from 50% to 33% of time in Galician, wouldn’t the most Spanish nationalist extremist have signed? It is not a matter of conspiracy, but a long grinding “war”, and this law was a good win for them.




“One of my Galician friends (a socialist and a teacher of Gallego) said a year or two ago that the system was producing kids who were fluent in neither Castellano nor Gallego.”

Then there is something wrong with the educational system, not with the languages itself. Anyone can be a bilingual in both. Many monolingual European countries also fail to provide those standards. Furthermore, bilingual countries and children develop a number of skills that monolingual lack.

Anonymous said...

Colin, still responding to your part three:

“Finally, I don’t frankly place much importance on the demonstrations in Santiago this week. Passionate believers like you are always more prone to these. It doesn’t actually prove anything that they can be mobilised to go on to the streets.”

Teachers massively on strike, the first time they do it for a non-money related matter. Demonstrations on Santiago again succesful ... scores of civil associations demanding galego ... But you know nothing about this, do you, Colin? Have a look at "chuza.org" now and again (but if you don't understand Galician, how can you know ...?) I do think Galicians still want more protagonism for their language in the school curriculum. In fact, I think this Spanish nationalist offensive is causing a more united response from pro-Galician.



“Maybe the way forward is to have a referendum specifically on the subject of education”

I think the referendum should be for Galician (co)official language, yes or not. Once it is official, you can’t keep it hidden or let it die, it is not fair. Even more if it is a sign of national identity, you can not segregate the society between those who know it, and thos who don't. Galicians should ask themselves if they want the language, or just the “accent” and the bagpipes, and be fully Spaniards.

Anonymous said...

Colin, answer to your part three:

“You seem to equate a natural human preference for the status quo (however rightly or wrongly arrived at) with a conscious pursuit of (Spanish) hegemony.”

Shouldn’t I equate it? Since when those in power neglect their hegemony? Isn’t this the core of history, the struggle for power and control? Are Spanish nationalist to (very courteously) cede their hold on power to those who question and challenge it? You live in the delusion, like many, that those who challenge the status quo are a just danger to society, but this is only the perceptions of those who (feel) have something to loose. Those who (feel) have something to win, will draw the opposite lecture. Which is mine.


“Are you familiar with the early Irish government attempts to introduce/impose Gaelic? If so, do you put its failure down to the conscious aim of the Irish citizenry to further the English hegemony?”


Well, on this one I think you responded to yourself quite well:

“ Which would surely be a rather strange desire so shortly after gaining independence from the English.”

The Irish are sovereign, but lost a lot of their culture, including their language. What a shame. There are many languages lost every year all over the world. Like any lost of biodiversity, this is sad and makes for a poorer world. Pity some haven’t yet understood the meaning of this.




“I can, of course, understand you not wanting Galicia to reach the point where (as in Ireland) there is no realistic possibility of retrieving the lost Celtic/non-Celtic language. A fine aim. But, José, you have to take the people with you. Not dismiss them as ignorant traitors to The Cause.”

Galicians will be responsible themselves if they get to the point of the Irish, where they forget one the most important signs of identity. Losing part of your cultural heritage makes you poorer, unless you replace it with another. So replacing a rich culture / language, Galician, for another equally rich, Spanish, wouldn’t be loss. But keeping them both, will be a net gain. But perhaps most Galicians think, like yourself, that they can’t keep them both, that bilingualism is a hindrance, rather than an extra advantage and wealth. This is a prejudiced based on ignorance, Colin, which is lack of understanding. To think that the Irish couldn’t have kept both languages, if they had faced the issue earlier, when Irish was still as widely spoken as Galician is now, and with a better educational approach, is too demeaning on them, don't you reckon? I think they deserve all the credit.

José

Anonymous said...

Finally, I have to agree, for once, with your friend “Al”. Galician is a romance language. However, the Celtic influence is well documented as more relevant than it is in Castilian, although that doesn’t make of it a Celtic language. But beyond the language, you can’t deny the “Celtishness” of other cultural and ethnographic facts, like the music and ancient rural customs. I rather call that tract “Atlanticism”, but it seems that “Celtic” is more appealing.


Well, and that’s all for tonight. It’s already very late. Sorry for my long responses, Colin, but I felt I had to address these issues because I still think you have a very biased view on this. Tomorrow or Saturday I will try to check here again to see if there is any counter-argument ...

Kind regards,

José


(PS: I think that mike the trike, with the story of his mother, has left very clear why the Irish language has practically disappeared. And it had nothing to do with the Irish people deciding to be more “modern” or “universal”, forward looking, or less “petty nationalistic”. It wasn’t even desired by themselves. Very sad story indeed)

Colin said...

José

Many thanks for all your responses. And for taking the time to make them.

I know you don’t really mean to insult (at least I hope not) but you clearly think that I’m not only ignorant but also prejudiced and, because I don’t speak fluent Gallego, dis-entitled to a view on this subject. So I think it’s pretty pointless to proceed. Especially as neither of us is going to change the view of the other. At least not mine on what is democratic in the area of language. I look at the developments taking place in Catalunia right now and see you arguing the same case for Gallego in 10 or 20 years’ time.

Basically, you have a strong faith and believe every Gallego living in Galicia (and perhaps some of those living outside it) should share this faith. Indeed, must be made to share it, whether they want to or not. And you twist every bit of information you can get your hands on to justify/support this faith, while scorning the Galician unfaithful. This is fair enough. You are perfectly entitled to your views and you express them extremely well. And with great civility, which I respect. But, as I keep saying, you can’t force people to accept your faith and you will get a severe reaction when you try.

I will just say two things in signing off:-

1. I’m astonished you think (it seems) that the Irish consciously chose to further English hegemony, and

2. If you have to be fluent in Gallego to have a view on the issue of what or what not is democratic in Galicia, then the logical extension would be to not only deprive parents of any say in the education of their children but also all Galicians who are not fluent in Gallego.

Why not go even further and remove the vote from everyone who doesn’t share your own views? You would achieve your Nirvana much quicker this way.

These less-than-fluent Gallegos would certainly include the five women teachers of English to whom I aired your case last week. They were amused to hear they were both ignorant dupes of Castillians and de facto Spanish nationalists. I explained there were no neutrals in your faith. Only Believers and Heretics. Galician Nationalists and Spanish Nationalists. A Manichean world.

Incidentally, It's odd that the two Galicians who written so much to me on this live outside Galicia. I'm reminded of a comment I heard when I was just 18 - "There are 1 million people living in Glasgow and 3 million around the world singing sad songs about the fucking place!" That old mourrinha, I guess.

Best wishes,

Colin

PS It would be interesting to know the exposition of your views had changed those of any readers but I fear it’s too much to expect them to write in. Especially as most of them won’t have seen this dialogue.


PPS. Maybe you don’t read the (Spanish Nationalist?) Voz de Galicia in Madrid. So you won’t have seen this letter this week.

En cuanto a que la oposición rechace el borroado del decreto . . . Es normal. Su trabajo consiste en contradecir todo lo que haga el Gobierno. Pero no deja de ser paradóxico que el BNG proteste por cuestión de imposición linguistica cuando ellos intentaron implantar 'manu militari' una única lengua, lo costó seguir gobernar

Colin said...

. . .la que los costó . . .

Colin said...

Damn. " . . les costó . . ."

Too much haste.

Anonymous said...

Colin, I don’t really know what you are playing at. You are just distorting the debate in a very unfair manner. I quote you:

“you clearly think that I’m not only ignorant but also prejudiced and, because I don’t speak fluent Gallego, dis-entitled to a view on this subject.”

Colin, what I am saying is that if you don’t read Galician, then you are getting only one side of the story. How can you claim credibility when you can’t bother (or can’t understand) to read / hear the other side version? Have you ever asked the folk in the hills about it?



“And you twist every bit of information you can get your hands on to justify/support this faith, while scorning the Galician unfaithful”

Can you be more specific, please? What bit of information do I twist? And what do you mean by the Galician unfaithful? The one that is ignorant of their own heritage and feels no embarrassment about this ignorance? I don’t call them “unfaithful”, but ignorant. And about scorning ....



“But, as I keep saying, you can’t force people to accept your faith and you will get a severe reaction when you try.”

What faith are you talking about, Colin? Who am I forcing to believe whatever? Do you call faith the recognition and valuing of different cultures, being Galician, Catalan, Irish, Basque, etc? This is about human rights, basically. And I am not trying to convince you, but only exposing your biased ideas. I’m not converted to the “Basque” faith, or the “Catalan faith”, as if they were superior to others. Are you converted to the “Spanish faith”, the one that claims that Castilian Spanish should be the hegemonic language in areas where people have other languages / cultures?


“I’m astonished you think (it seems) that the Irish consciously chose to further English hegemony”

Where did I say that?! i think that mike the trike mother’s case illustrates perfectly well what happened. Which is the opposite of what you say I said!



“If you have to be fluent in Gallego to have a view on the issue of what or what not is democratic in Galicia, then the logical extension would be to not only deprive parents of any say in the education of their children but also all Galicians who are not fluent in Gallego.”

Again, you are just distorting my arguments. I never say you have to be fluent in Galician to have an opinion, what I say is that YOU HAVE TO READ / HEAR BOTH SIDES of the debate, if you want to give a credible opinion. Is this so difficult to understand?



“Why not go even further and remove the vote from everyone who doesn’t share your own views? You would achieve your Nirvana much quicker this way.”

As I said, the vote should be to choose the official language/s. Once one language is official, you have to bear with the law.

Anonymous said...

“These less-than-fluent Gallegos would certainly include the five women teachers of English to whom I aired your case last week. They were amused to hear they were both ignorant dupes of Castillians and de facto Spanish nationalists. I explained there were no neutrals in your faith. Only Believers and Heretics. Galician Nationalists and Spanish Nationalists. A Manichean world.”

Colin, you are free to make up your mind about you want to think about me, even to look for like-minded people that support your view, but what you can’t do is to refuse to listen / read both sides of the debate and then claim you have a saying in the issue. The same goes for those ladies. This is only basic, a 5 years old boy knows it. You keep on going about “my faith”, but this only asserts your own: pro-Spanish nationalist: the “nationalists” (Galician, Basque and Catalan) are fanatics, they want the destruction / degrading of Spain. I find your view pretty Manichean indeed, and also pathetically puerile. Is this an insult? I don’t even speak Catalan or Basque, my Galician is not even fluent ... what is there fanatic about me?



“Incidentally, It's odd that the two Galicians who written so much to me on this live outside Galicia. I'm reminded of a comment I heard when I was just 18 - "There are 1 million people living in Glasgow and 3 million around the world singing sad songs about the fucking place!" That old mourrinha, I guess.”

Well, I’ve been living outside Galicia for many years, but I keep returning very regularly, mainly for holidays and sporadic visits to family and friends. What’s wrong about this? I’m not a Galician anymore? Can’t I retire to my hometown, in a few decades time, god willing? Can’t I support those who want a truly multicultural Spain, and not a monolingual supremacist divided sectarian where there are resentment caused by the believe in one “universal Spanish” language and culture, the others being just dispensable?



“Maybe you don’t read the (Spanish Nationalist?) Voz de Galicia in Madrid. So you won’t have seen this letter this week.”

Yes, I read it on line regularly. And yes, it is pro-Spanish nationalist, pro-PP. Lots of intoxication, which you may consume unaware.



Just to finish, Colin, I agree that this debate doesn’t interest anyone, but apart from that you are disqualifying yourself for it, since you can’t be bother /are unable to read the other side of the story, have your mind already made up, have a lot of prejudices about the “Galician nationalist”, distort my comments to give the impression I am a fanatic, equate the struggle for human rights / cultural diversity with "petty nationalsm" ... shall I continue?


Kind regards,

José

Colin said...

Jaime,

You've said it clearly again.

I can't have a considered view because I don't hear both sides of the argument because I'm not fluent in Gallego.

Therefore, I can only be biased and a de facto Spanish Nationalist.

This is not how I see myself and I rather doubt others would too.

But since I can't have any balanced, considered views (other than by totally accepting yours) and since my comments are now pathetically puerile, I will sign off for the final time wishing you well with your aspirations.

As I've said several times, it makes no difference to me whether you achieve them or not.

I'll just bear in mind that, if I don't learn Welsh and move to North Wales, I will be an English Nationalist. Whereas, if I retire to south Wales, I won't be.

Likewise if I move to Ireland, and don't learn Gaelic, I will be an English Nationalist. And deserve my fate.

Cheers. And Adios.

mike the trike said...

Xosé my comment was to show that the people of Galicia are not all as patriotic as you are. They just take it for granted. I expected more help for my wife a returning immigrant and not for me a foreigner because all the Galegos I met in England were such a close knit community I assumed it would be the same here. If you were to take yourself to England and met up with the Galegos living there you would suddenly realize how "Galego" they have become. Why, because they have left their home and entered a foreign land and suddenly they realize they are different. An immigrant can become very patriotic because it is forced on him or because he feels he has lost something. How can it be forced on a person? Well, the people of the host country will remind you all the time by criticism of your country or hold you personally responsible for the history of your country and you end up defending your homeland. When I arrived here I had forty years of Galego dreams that Galegos in England had been telling me about. As I said before coming on holiday for a couple of weeks and spending most of the time on the beach doesn't give one much insight about Galicia but living here is a totally different story. I hear Galego every day here around me. And in the apartment building at "reuniónes" everyone breaks into Galego as soon as they get excited about some subject. And yet on this blog I hear that it is hardly heard in Coruña. Galego is never going to be lost but if people are not careful they can introduce a resistance to the language because of imposition. Not being able to speak Galego doesn't mean you are not a Galego. As Colin pointed out only two people have come on here to express their views about Galicia and both are not living here. A case of being patriotic because one has left his homeland? It was said on this blog that this is Galicia so one should learn to live in Galicia. Sorry this is Spain and Galicia at the moment just happens to be a region in Spain. The people have more now than they did at the time of Franco and yet they are not satisfied. And there are groups who are causing more trouble than there needs to be and finding any excuse to make a fuss. This is having a bad effect on Galicia and its people and if it gets out of hand could cause a split. As regards to the lack of Galego culture here in La Coruña I think you are mistaken. It is alive and kicking and there are many groups who keep it alive with festivals of traditional dance and music. La Coruña is now my home and I don't have any wish to leave here. It's a pity we don't have a fast train service to Madrid because I could go there for lunch and be back here in La Coruña in time for la cena.

Anonymous said...

Colin, you keep at playing at I don’t really know what. I just quote you:


“You've said it clearly again.

I can't have a considered view because I don't hear both sides of the argument because I'm not fluent in Gallego.”

You don’t have to be fluent in Galician to hear/read the Galician side of the debate. There must be another reason for your reluctance at going through that task of reading / hearing the non-Spanish nationalist side, expressed most of times (but not always) in Galician language. I am not fluent in many languages, but still manage to read them / listen to them. You can’t bother to do that when you are giving a (strong) opinion on the debate. And you expect to be taken seriously. You must be kidding me. Now I will go to Israel, read / hear the Israeli version of the issue, but not the Palestinian (or the other way around) and claim to be credible ... do you really reckon I am that idiot?



“Therefore, I can only be biased and a de facto Spanish Nationalist.”

You just keep dodging the real debate. I think I gave very precise arguments as to when and where and why you are showing a pro-Spanish nationalist bias. But you think you are above judgement. Well, as it happens, you are not. You will have to counterargument, rather than implying at my “religious fanatical ideas”. You are not above judgement. There is not a conspiracy against you. You say something, but then can’t back it up. And you blame it on my “religious fanaticism”. You can’t be serious, Colin.




“I'll just bear in mind that, if I don't learn Welsh and move to North Wales, I will be an English Nationalist. Whereas, if I retire to south Wales, I won't be.

Likewise if I move to Ireland, and don't learn Gaelic, I will be an English Nationalist. And deserve my fate.”

If you or me move to Wales and don’t learn Wales, we are just ignorant of an essential part of the human heritage of that country. But I don’t see why we should learn it, if we can get by in English. That doesn’t make of us English nationalists. It would make us so if we complained about letters of the council sent to us in Welsh, and not in English. Or perhaps not even so: we would only be two lazy, inconsiderate individuals that can’t be bother to make an effort to understand the language of the country that hosts us, without having nothing against it, but expecting them to adjust to us, rather than the other way. Sad way to travel the world. Very English / American, by the way.
On the other hand, you can’t compare South Wales or Ireland with Galicia, since in the former the autochthonous language are all but gone (except up in the hills) and in the latter is still very much alive, and not only in the hills. Moreover, while learning a Celtic language for an English speaker is a very long journey and daunting task, learning Galician for a Spanish speaker is just a picnic, as Galician and Spanish are closely related and you can pass from one to the other quite easily.

But anyway, I see you are not interested in a real debate. You came in with your own fixed ideas and prejudices and always have an excuse to keep them, even if challenged or exposed as pure fallacy and deceit.

Bye

José (not Jaime)

Colin said...

José,

Firstly, my apologies for calling you Jaime. I had just written to someone of this name and, as I admitted, I was rushing rather.

Secondly, the key isuue here is and has always been what is democratic and what isn't, as the Galicians try to resolve their linguistic differences.

You say it is a war. Well, there are no innocent bystanders in total wars these days. But innocent or not, I am a just a bystander. To my mind, neither a Spanish Nationalist nor a Galician Nationalist. Except by your definition - One who isn't the latter must be the former. So let's agree that I am a Spanish Nationalist.

To return to the key issue of what is democratic and what isn't -

These are the things I feel I do NOT need to have to take a view on what was undemocratic under Franco, what is undemocratic now and what will be undemocratic n the future
1. A detailed knowledge of Galician mythology
2. A Celtic soul
3. A full list of all the wrongs committed by Castellano speakers on Gallego speakers since the 12th century
4. Fluency in Gallego
5. A complete knowledge of the history of the linguistic skirmishings that have now turned into a war.
6. A complete knowledge of the detailed position of both sides.

So, Spanish nationalist or not, I can still ake an objective view of what is democratic. And I have suggested that a proper referendum might be the best way to test the views of Galicians. Not perfect perhaps but a lot better that relying on the number of street demonstrations managed and associations formed by the rspective factions.

I believe you have not responded to this. Nor to my suggestion that this is a disfavoured route because you know there is a serious risk it will go against you.

So I am forced to believe that, in the furtherance of what I have always said are perfectly valid objectives, you are prepared to go whatever way improves your chances of winning the war.But not down any route which risks you losing.

In other words, the end justifies the means.

Which is always a huge temptation for people with very srong beliefs and a conviction that they are right.

Best wishes. I still wish you luck with the (democratic) achievment of your aspirations. And I know it must be hard to know that many (if not most) Galicians don't share them.


Over and out.

Anonymous said...

mike the trike,

first of all, I am not that patriotic as you make me to be. I don’t live in Galicia anymore, even though I return regularly. My sympathies go also with the Catalan and Basque who want their language restored to where it belong, as the first language of their people, or at least on equal terms with the Castilian language. I am sympathetic too with Madrid people, my own people too, with many of their social demands, and if they had Catalan imposed on them, then I would support them against the Catalan nationalists.

Of course Galician is still spoken in the cities, but it is marginal, and the trend would have ended up in its complete demise were it not for what you and others call “imposition” of Galician. Unfortunately, when two identities / languages co-exist, there is a tension, and one tends to suppress the other and gains spaces at the expense of the other. You can ignore this fact occurring in Galicia for the last centuries, and its results are more visible in the cities and big towns. We can leave people decide which language they really want when they are given the opportunity of choosing between two, and as things stand now, the big majority of Corunna people have no choice, as they know only Spanish, or if they know Galician it is in a very partial and imperfect manner. You have o make people equally able in both languages, so they can use them indistinctly and don’t see any of them as an imposition. At the moment, you and many Galicians see Galician language as an imposition, because for you / them it is something not familiar / equally valuable. If you knew it as well as Spanish, then you would not feel “imposition”. And other Galicians, like the tens of thousands that went on the streets and the teachers that massively went on strike, perceive an imposition of Spanish. You have a real issue here, and you can’t pretend to sweep it under the carpet and keep on blaming the “nationalists” (= those who are not Spanish nationalists) fanaticism. You have to make all citizens equally literate on both languages.

“Sorry this is Spain and Galicia at the moment just happens to be a region in Spain. The people have more now than they did at the time of Franco and yet they are not satisfied. And there are groups who are causing more trouble than there needs to be and finding any excuse to make a fuss.”

Well, mike, sorry but who kicked up this fuss was the Spanish nationalists with their reaction against the “Galician reaction”. The Galician “extremists”, shall I call them, are a reaction to centuries of discrimination and systematic imposition.


“As regards to the lack of Galego culture here in La Coruña I think you are mistaken. It is alive and kicking and there are many groups who keep it alive with festivals of traditional dance and music.”

Mike, in Ireland there is also people who speak Irish and play Irish music, as you must know well. But we are not talking of making a ghetto with those who speak it and “play the music”, are we? The culture in most of Ireland is mainly English, and in Corunna, Spanish, you can’t deny these facts. I am talking of a cultural and linguistic restoration, not of museums and hand-outs. I am talking of making people real bilingual. And there is only one way to do it: both languages equally treated in all walks of live, or if you preferred, “equally imposed”.



“It's a pity we don't have a fast train service to Madrid because I could go there for lunch and be back here in La Coruña in time for la cena.”

I don’t think that kind of leisure should be the priority of a rational transport policy. There are other more important factors that should determine the transport policy of any country.

José

Anonymous said...

Colin, I am not really sure if it is worthy to continue this “debate” with you any longer. Someone who has a strong opinion on a particular issue but can’t be bother to listen to / read both sides of it can’t expect to deserve any credit. You now claim to be a “victim” of this “war”. An innocent bystander. Not a tall claim for someone who makes a regular part of his blogging disparaging Galician nationalists and painting the Spanish nationalist as victims. And who, unable to back his implications, stigmatises whoever challenges them as “fanatic”.

About you being labelled as a Spanish nationalist, I think that what I just wrote in the paragraph above, for which there is enough evidence in your blog for anyone to see, justifies it without need for further explanations. And it is not me who dictates your choices.

Then you draw 6 perfectly correct points on what you need not to know to have an opinion. Nothing wrong with it. However, there are four points you can’t do without, let’s call it 7, 8, 9 and 10, but which you fail to meet:

7. A BASIC knowledge of the BASIC positions of BOTH sides, gathered directly and not from the OPPOSING / BIASED SOURCES.

8. A BASIC understanding of the value of cultural diversity and of the implications that its furthering necessitates.

9. An UNDERSTANDING of the positive values of bilingualism in any individual / society, as opposed to the negative burden and dangers that a divided society, divided between those individuals bilingual and those monolingual, carries in itself.

10. A conscious understanding of the prejudices of Spanish nationalism, ideology that takes as unquestionable the tenet of the Castilian language being the universal language of communication in Spain, therefore more worthy than the others, and whose supremacy can be endangered by a resurgence of other Spanish linguistic / cultural manifestations. And the belief that perfectly equal bilingualism in some regions / nations is detrimental for the society /economy, as well as for the unity of the state.


All these failures, which you share with many Galicians, Spaniards and citizens of the world, are just too heavy a burden for you to draw the right conclusions. Before joining the debate, you should address them, because by taking them with you to the debate, you are contributing to a further poisoning and entrenching of it.


José

Anonymous said...

“And I have suggested that a proper referendum might be the best way to test the views of Galicians. Not perfect perhaps but a lot better that relying on the number of street demonstrations managed and associations formed by the rspective factions.

I believe you have not responded to this. Nor to my suggestion that this is a disfavoured route because you know there is a serious risk it will go against you.”

Colin, I already wrote above that those who oppose the Galician “imposition” should call for a referendum, to question the status of Galician as an co-official language. Once it is co-official, you can not make of it a “second division” language, because many will feel affronted. So you have to ask yourself why those who would benefit of the withdrawing of the co-official status aren’t asking for it. And I think you have already given the answer, only if to the wrong question.

Even with the absolute control of the media they have, in a state where all main parties subscribe to the Spanish nationalistic creed, they don’t dare to put that proposal on the table. So that’s why you receive your council letters in that incomprehensible language of the folk in the hills.





“... you are prepared to go whatever way improves your chances of winning the war.But not down any route which risks you losing.

In other words, the end justifies the means.

Which is always a huge temptation for people with very srong beliefs and a conviction that they are right.

Best wishes. I still wish you luck with the (democratic) achievment of your aspirations. And I know it must be hard to know that many (if not most) Galicians don't share them.”

Colin, this is just very poor and patronizing hypocrisy. My “aspirations” are that people are free to choose, whatever, not conditioned and ideologized, as they are now. Furthermore, I never spoke of Galician independence. I know it suits you very well, to paint that picture of a fanatic who nobody listens to. But I am only debating and arguing. You seem more worried about what the majority think, and take that as good just because it is majority, denying the power of individual intelligence to address the reasoning beyond the beliefs of the community. Colin, do you really consider yourself an intelligent person?


José

Colin said...

José,

You write “All these failures, which you share with many Galicians, Spaniards and citizens of the world, are just too heavy a burden for you to draw the right conclusions. Before joining the debate, you should address them ..”

Wonderful. At the end of a long exchange, you (again) tell me that I never had the basic qualifications for participating in it in the first place. So, if I weren’t withdrawing myself, I guess you would expel me from the debate because of an ignorance I share with so many.

And then you ask me whether I think I am intelligent. Before you dedicated so much of your time to penning so many thousands of words, did it not occur to you that – on your terms - I was disqualified from debating the issues with you? If not, why not? If you did, what was the point?

You say my blog demonstrates my Spanish nationalism. If so, I ask again, why did you bother to debate issues with someone so woefully lacking in the wherewithal that would allow me to effectively contribute? Did you think you would convert me?

You remind me of my very religious sister, who once told me that, if I took the trouble to learn all she knew about Catholicism, I would surely agree with her on everything.

She, like you, has no doubt at all that she is absolutely right about her faith.

Which, in its own way, is quite impressive. And I admire your consistency. “You have to make people equally able in both languages”, you write to Mike. No, Jose. In a democracy, you don’t (and probably can’t) force people to become fluent in a language they don’t want to be fluent in. You give them the choice.

But, of course, if you know that they will probably take the “wrong” choice, you come at the challenge through their children. In total disregard of their wishes as parents. Leaving me wondering if you are a father,

Adieu. Again.

mike the trike said...

Xosé talking of imposing Galician is something that you and Colin discussed and I am repeating what is happening today in Galicia regarding this impostion. I believe it is something new and in my wife's childhood she learned from her parents to speak Galician as did everyone else. I am not at all familiar how Spanish was forced on the people here but from what I have seen in my time everyone who spoke Galician in the 60s did so because they wanted to. All this imposing of one or the other language I have only come to hear about since Mr Cade got on here but knew during one period Franco had banned the language. Being bilingual is in fact partially working because all government papers coming from the centre are written in Galego and Spanish so those who live here can understand at least one side of the paper they have received. It will take time for everyone to be fluent in both but it would seem some are not too happy. Once people become accustomed to the two languages there will be no problem. However there is one drawback to this and it does come down to people who think they are going to lose their identity in the process. I don't believe in imposing either language on the people here. I believe Colin is trying to say that both languages should be receiving equality which in some cases it is not. I went to see the neurologist with my wife at the local hospital and naturally he spoke to me in Spanish. I then went to the reception to make a further appointment for my wife. At the desk the lady knew when I opened my mouth that I am not a local so of course the conversation took place in Spanish. She explaind that they will have to write to confirm the next appointment which could take 18 months. No problem for me to understand this. She then says she will type out a letter of confirmation for me and does so on her computer. She hands me the printout from the computer and as I leave the desk and look down at the letter it is all written in Galego. No problem for me because I can make sense of it and there is always someone here who can tell me what it says should I have a problem. I think this is what Colin is getting at. For me I couldn't care either way. Regarding culture it would be better not to mention Irish culture being English because you are getting out of your depth and to many Irish people that is the greatest insult you can make. However, I am not one of those who would take it as so. The train service I mentioned was a cryptic clue as to how easy it would be to meet you face to face if we had that service. To finish, you started off in your first comment on this blog a long time ago indicating how strong you felt about what was being written here. I can assure you that most people who read this blog have no interest at all in the languages spoken here and so won't be influenced by anything that Colin reports. If you think Galicia has a problem I can tell you that in Canada where I grew up French and English is a real big headache and it has become completely out of control. I would not like to see that here.

Anonymous said...

“Wonderful. At the end of a long exchange, you (again) tell me that I never had the basic qualifications for participating in it in the first place. So, if I weren’t withdrawing myself, I guess you would expel me from the debate because of an ignorance I share with so many.”

No, Colin, I rather you addressed your shortcomings which I numbered as 7, 8, 9 and 10. Do you agree they are yours? Do you agree they are even “shortcomings”? What about dropping your recurrent boring assumptions and start a serious debate? Are you even interested, or are you going to remind me how “alone” I am? Even when there are thousands of Galicians, catalans, Basques, even Madrileños, that agree with me on these points? No response, for you it is easier and very simple to blame others of fanaticism. But it shows nothing in your favour. The “charges” have been made, and you haven’t even bothered to answer to them. There must be a conspiracy against you and those who share your views.



“You remind me of my very religious sister, who once told me that, if I took the trouble to learn all she knew about Catholicism, I would surely agree with her on everything.”

Here you go again. Rather that addressing the points I am raising, you just throw again the “religious” zealot thing. Well, so far the only zealot is you, because you are not addressing your “articles of faith”, or “tenets”, which I equate to your “Spanish nationalistic shared creed”. You just make vague allusions, which you can’t back up, whereas I point at specific points that you are misguided about or lack. Any challenge at that? Nope. “It must be the others that are Fanatics, I am just normal”.



“She, like you, has no doubt at all that she is absolutely right about her faith.”

Which faith is mine? The one that establish that there is a hegemonic language for the whole of Spain that can’t be challenged? The one that equates the challenging of this situation with “imposition” or religious / fanatic faith, but doesn’t considers the defending of this status quo as equally imposition or religious / fanatic?





““You have to make people equally able in both languages”, you write to Mike. No, Jose. In a democracy, you don’t (and probably can’t) force people to become fluent in a language they don’t want to be fluent in. You give them the choice.”

Colin, if you give Galician people the option of opting out of Galician language, which is their own cultural heritage, even if they wanted to renounce to it, then you are opening the door for those who want just the opposite: the opting out of the Castilian language. So, shall we have a dual society, blacks and whites? Shall we have council letters exclusively in Galician where (the majority of) people vote for Galician, and exclusively in Castilian where they vote for Castilian? Is that your idea of democracy, of a modern society? Is bilingualism that bad? Is Castilian Spanish a “superior” language that must be universally spoken in all of Spain, and the others, Galician, Catalan and Basque, just second rate, optional ones? Is there the choice, which you so much advocate, for opting out of Castilian Spanish? Or is there no choice on this one?

Anonymous said...

“But, of course, if you know that they will probably take the “wrong” choice, you come at the challenge through their children. In total disregard of their wishes as parents. Leaving me wondering if you are a father,”

I don’t think ignorance is the right choice. But I have no problem with ignorance if that’s your choice. What I have a problem with is when you impose your ignorance on me. If you complain of not understanding the language I speak, being that the one (or one of the two) of our country, then you are infringing my rights. If you speak to me in Castilian and I complain, then I am infringing yours. The difference is that I, Galician bilingual (in this hypothesis), can switch to your code of choice, but you (Galician monolingual in Castilian Spanish) can’t / won’t. That is the first step towards resentment and “fanatical nationalism”. That is the reason of the resentment of many a Galician speaker, who are the ones who have the switch language, and never the other way around. But you see that as normal. No doubt, Franco would agree with you, and like him, you would make a great statesman. Just sweep any injustice under the carpet, and blame it on “petty nationalism”. What makes you think that old-fashioned, undemocratic, prejudiced stance will go on for ever? Do you think that people were going to fall for this “bilingüismo cordial” per secula seculorum? Or would you just be biding for time, till the ones who choose not to speak Galician were a huge majority, to write “the others” off? And then, of course, mourn their demise, as a good “Galicianist” ...


If some parents want to ideologize their children and deprive them of what they are entitled to, the Galician culture and language, I am not going to step in their way. But what I wouldn’t like is that their children’s ignorance was used in detriment of my own children, who would have to abandon the language of their choice, if that was Galician, to adjust at ignorant ones who couldn’t be bothered to learn it, or were indoctrinated to not do it, as if it was an “inferior” thing.

I am sure that in England nobody is entitled to opt out of the official language, even if their parents wanted. The case of Wales is different, because that language is nearly gone, and most Welsh people don’t speak it or show the strong will to do it as Galicians, as far as I know, while Galician is still very much alive, and showing signs of recovery.

By the way, I have two sons in scholar age. They are madrileños, as I am too (beside Galician), so I don’t “teach” them Galician, nor I consider it fundamental, since we don’t live in Galicia. You are very misled thinking that Galician is for left wing idealists. But then, how could you know, if you only read the other version of the story?

It is very easy to pass judgement and make assumptions, but that doesn’t help the debate. Anyway, I doubt it very much you are interested (nor your readers) since you’ve already drawn your own conclusions and have made up your mind about what to think.

I am out. You can have the last word.

José

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