dilluns, 16 de juliol de 2018

Presentation of the National Call for the Republic : ideological plurality, social transversality and unity

Carles Puigdemont, Ferran Mascarell and Gemma Geis today presented the National Call for the Republic (Crida Nacional per la República) as a new political space led by the president of Together For Catalonia, Jordi Sànchez. The objective is to make an umbrella of all the sensitivities of the independentism to draw up a unique strategy that has the achievement of the Catalan Republic as an horizon. The axes of the project are:

- Build an instrument that leaves behind "expired" tools and, without giving up any way and drinking from the spirit of 1-O, have enough strength to achieve the independence of Catalonia

- ideological plurality, social transversality and unity are, according to Puigdemont, the trident to guarantee its success.

- "Democracy, non-violence, commitment, dialogue and sum" are the basis of the new project.

You can follow the Call in:
Twitter: @CridaNacional
Facebook: facebook.com/CridaNacional

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New edition of the annual gathering of the three-branched pine

The three-branched pineis a  tree located in the countryside near the town of Berga in north-central Catalonia. It has long been regarded by Catalan people as representing the unity of the three "Catalan-speakinh Countries": Catalonia, valencian Country and Balearic Island. It has been the site of regular political-cultural gathering since 1904 but they were banned between 1924 and 1980 during the authoritarian and Fascist Spanish governments.

Yesterday around 400 people claimed for the freedom of Catalan political prisoners, the right of Catalonia to decide its own future and the brothership between catalan-speaking regions. 

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diumenge, 15 de juliol de 2018

2,000 people form a human mural in Igualada

The city if Igualada has been the scenario of a civical protest today. The human mural was joined by more than 2,000 people who formed a yellow ribbon as well as a Catalan resistance flag. The Civil Rights Catalan Association, formed by relatives of Catalan politicians and activists exiled or jailed organized the event to collect funds for the cause. The Mayor of the city, Marc Castells, was among the activists.

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Posters against the Francoist police remembering the 1978 brutal raids are slander against today’s police

Spanish police consider that posters against the Francoist police are slander against today’s police. Spanish Francoist people raided the bullfighting in Pamplona and killed a Basque people on July 8, 1978. Moreover 150 people were wounded by police beatings. The orders were clear "It doesn't matter if you kill them". These year banners in the dity remembered the criminal attack but Spanish police have announced that will prosecute those who remember the raiding of 1978. No Spanish policeman was judged.

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110,000 people rally in Barcelona for Independence and to Free Political Prisoners

Under the slogan 'No prison or exile, we want you home' 110,000 people according to the urban guard have manifested themselves today in Barcelona convened by Òmnium, the Catalan National Assembly and the Catalan Association for Civil Rights. Tens of thousands of people have filled the streets of the Catalan capital. Elisenda Paluzié, president of the ANC, said: "We have to do a constant and permanent mobilization. It's not about making records, this goes on for a long time." President Quim Torra has assured that "we will leave as many times as necessary to demand that prisoners be free and exiles return home".

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dissabte, 14 de juliol de 2018

Emeritus king of Spain Juan Carlos I accused by lover of using her to secure low-tax property deals

The former king of Spain, Juan Carlos I, used his alleged lover Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein to buy multiple overseas properties due to her tax residence in Monaco, according to claims made by the German aristocrat in a leaked audio recording.
In a 2015 conversation with a former Spanish police officer in London, Princess Corinna alleged that the king’s lawyers put her name on overseas properties without her permission, complaining that she was being drawn into “money laundering”.
The 53-year-old princess, who obtained her title from her second marriage, also claimed that Juan Carlos I held bank accounts in Switzerland in the name of his cousin, Álvaro Orleans de Borbón.
The allegations in the recording, published by the Spanish newspapers El Español and OK Diario, are the latest controversies to spring from the long-reputed relationship between the Monaco-based princess and Juan Carlos I, who has an estimated fortune of up to €2 billion.
The aristocrat, an adviser to Prince Albert of Monaco, was named in the Spanish press as the then king’s lover after she was discovered in his company when he was injured during a secret 2012 elephant hunting trip in Botswana.

The incident is widely seen as the beginning of the fall of Juan Carlos I, who abdicated in 2014 at the age of 76. That same year, his daughter, Princess Cristina, and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin were charged in the Nóos corruption case; she was later cleared, while Urdangarin is currently serving a prison sentence.
The alleged ten-year affair has never been officially confirmed, Princess Corinna describing herself in a 2013 interview with El Mundo as a “close friend” of the monarch.
In the recordings revealed on Wednesday, the aristocrat said she was living a “nightmare” because the king had put various properties in Morocco and elsewhere into her name, which, following the end of their personal relationship, he then wanted transferred to his cousin.
“But if I do it, it is money laundering,” she says in the recording as transcribed by El Español. “They are putting me under tremendous pressure to return these things, but if I do it I am breaking the law and I could go to jail”.
Princess Corinna claimed the properties had been put in her name not “because he loves me a lot, but because I reside in Monaco”, where such assets did not have to be publicly declared.
She also alleged that Spain's intelligence agency was behind a supposed mercenary operation to break into her home and steal documents.
The claims were made during a meeting with José Manuel Villarejo, a former police officer currently in custody while under investigation for alleged money laundering. He maintains he became a victim of official persecution after Spanish intelligence tasked him with retrieving a sensitive document from Princess Corinna, which the agency then believed he had kept for personal gain.
The Spanish palace has not commented on Wednesday's reports. Álvaro Orleans de Borbón has denied the claims.
Princess Corinna said in a statement: "I have always acted entirely correctly and I continue to live my life with a peaceful outlook, irrespective of years of constant harassment and attempts to publicly discredit me with endless false information."

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dijous, 12 de juliol de 2018

German Court declines to extradite Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to face charge of “rebellion”

A German court ruled Thursday that deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont may be extradited to Spain, but only for alleged corruption and not on the more serious charge of rebellion.
The decision marks a setback for Madrid, in a case in which Germany found itself at the centre of a politically loaded Spanish dispute.
Puigdemont, 55, was detained in Germany in late March on a European arrest warrant from Spain for his role in Catalonia's failed independence bid last October.
Madrid wants Puigdemont to return to Spain so he can face trial for alleged rebellion, which carries a sentence of up to 25 years.
A court in Schleswig-Holstein had released him on bail on April 6 after finding that he could not be extradited for rebellion -- which is not punishable under German law.

The judges argued that the closest legal equivalent, high treason, did not apply because Puigdemont's actions were not accompanied by violence.
The court reiterated that reasoning in its ruling Thursday, and said Puigdemont would remain free pending final extradition proceedings.
"The alleged actions by the former Catalan government leader do not amount to the German crime of high treason nor the charge of breach of the public peace," the court said.
"The amount of violence required for the charge of high treason was not seen in the altercations in Spain. Breach of the public peace does not apply because Carles Puigdemont was only involved in carrying out the (independence) referendum."

'Fight to the end'

The court noted that European legal practice stipulates that the receiving country -- in this case Spain -- can try the accused only on the charges approved in the extradition order.
This means the Spanish Supreme Court in charge of the case will not be able to try him for rebellion.
Puigdemont hailed the German ruling as a victory.
"The German justice system says that the October 1 referendum was not a rebellion," he said in a tweet.
"Every minute spent in prison by our comrades is a minute of shame and injustice. We will fight to the end and win!"
The court, however, gave the green light for prosecution on misuse of public funds related to the cost of staging the Catalan referendum.
And it rejected Puigdemont's argument that he was at risk of political persecution in Spain.
"It is a far-fetched accusation against the Spanish state as a member of the European Union's community of values and common judicial area," it said."The court has unconditional faith that Spanish judicial authorities will respect the requirements of national and international law."
One of Puigdemont's lawyers, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas, told public broadcaster Catalan TV that they would appeal the decision to extradite to the German Constitutional Court.
"We are convinced that Germany should not play any part in the criminalisation of democratic acts of this kind, and that it should stay out of the highly charged domestic disputes of other states," his German defence team added in a statement.

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dimarts, 10 de juliol de 2018

À Barcelone, les étranges soutiens de Manuel Valls

L’ancien Premier Ministre, pressenti pour se présenter à la mairie de Barcelone, a participé plusieurs fois aux manifestations de la plateforme anti-indépendantiste Societat Civil Catalana, qui lui a récemment décerné un prix spécial. Les enquêtes du journaliste Jordi Borràs révèlent pourtant les liens troubles qu’entretiennent plusieurs des fondateurs de SCC avec l’extrême droite.

À Barcelone, ce 18 mars 2018, devant la gare de France, de nombreux intervenants se succèdent à la tribune de Societat Civil Catalana (SCC). La plateforme politique unioniste a convoqué ses militants pour tenter de rivaliser avec les grandes démonstrations de force des indépendantistes catalans, dont les manifestations peuvent accueillir plusieurs millions de personnes. « Promouvoir, diffuser et maintenir la cohésion et la coexistence entre les citoyens de Catalogne et de ceux-ci avec le reste des Espagnols », voilà l’objectif affiché par SCC, qui accueille lors de ses manifestations les figures les plus en vue du spectre politique anti-indépendantiste. « Nous sommes 200.000 », lance le président de l’organisation aux manifestants regroupés le long de l’avenue Marquès d’Argentera, tandis que la Guàrdia Urbana annonce quelques heures plus tard un chiffre de 7000 manifestants. À la tribune, un intervenant se détache et bénéficie d’une ovation exceptionnelle : Manuel Valls, l’ancien Premier Ministre français, délivre pendant treize minutes un discours enflammé, en catalan, en faveur d’une « culture généreuse, ouverte, et non pas fermée, repliée, raciste, séparatiste » et contre les velléités d’indépendance de la Catalogne.

Pour SCC, créée pour contrer les puissantes organisations transpartisanes indépendantistes – l’Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) et Òmnium Cultural – en défendant les thèses du “catalanisme hispanique”, Manuel Valls est un soutien de poids. Le 16 décembre 2017, lors d’une conférence organisée par SCC, il assurait que « le discours du roi et les manifestations convoquées par Societat Civil Catalana en octobre » avaient été « fondamentales ». Le 23 avril dernier, l’ancien Premier Ministre était également à Barcelone pour recevoir des mains du président de SCC un prix “al seny” (que l’on peut traduire par “bon sens” ou “mesure”), lors d’une cérémonie qui a rassemblé plusieurs figures politiques opposées à l’indépendance.

Manuel Valls, le 23 avril dernier, reçoit le prix « al seny » des mains de l’actuel président de Societat Civil Catalana, José Rosiñol/ Crédits : SCC

Pourtant, au-delà des mots d’ordre médiatiques mesurés de l’organisation, les liens de plusieurs de ses fondateurs avec l’extrême-droite ont été documentés. Le photojournaliste catalan Jordi Borràs, spécialiste des mouvements d’extrême-droite, en explique les ressorts dans un ouvrage intitulé Desmuntant Societat Civil Catalana, sous-titré « Qui sont-ils, que cachent-ils et que font-ils pour empêcher l’indépendance de la Catalogne », publié en 2015 aux éditions Saldonar. Jordi Borràs, qui ne cache pas son soutien à l’indépendance de la Catalogne, relate ainsi la présence, en sus de partis traditionnels anti-indépendantistes, de plusieurs mouvements d’extrême droite lors de la cérémonie de présentation de l’organisation au Théâtre Victoria de Barcelone, le 23 avril 2014. On pouvait ainsi y voir Santiago Abascal, soutien de Marine Le Pen et leader de la plateforme d’extrême droite VOX, ainsi que sa représentante à Barcelone ; cinq dirigeants – dont le secrétaire général – de la Plateforme pour la Catalogne (un parti farouchement islamophobe qui prend aussi pour exemple Marine Le Pen) ainsi que des représentants du Movimiento Social Republicano, un parti néo-nazi autodissous en janvier 2018. En outre, la Fondation Nationale Francisco Franco, qui s’attelle à préserver la mémoire du dictateur, avait-elle aussi envoyé une délégation. Dans son ouvrage, Jordi Borràs dresse une liste détaillée des nombreux mouvements d’extrême-droite qui ont assisté aux manifestations convoquées par Societat Civil Catalana depuis sa création, même si la plate-forme tente à présent de filtrer l’accès à ses événements.

Mais la présence de nombreuses factions d’extrême droite à la soirée de présentation de SCC est loin d’être le seul fil reliant l’organisation à l’extrême droite. Pour cela, il faut s’attarder sur les “socios” fondateurs de SCC. En avril 2014, l’organisation revendique 75 membres. Il est précisé que ses membres doivent recevoir l’aval de cinq membres du Conseil Consultatif, l’une des instances dirigeantes de SCC. Seulement, la structure entretient le mystère sur sa fondation. Jordi Borràs a pu consulter des documents internes à l’organisation : l’un d’eux dresse une liste de trente membres fondateurs. Parmi ces trente membres fondateurs, au moins dix ont des liens avérés avec l’organisation d’extrême droite Somatemps, dont le nom fait à la fois référence à la phrase “nous sommes à temps” et à des milices d’autodéfense du siècle dernier. Certains de ces fondateurs ont un passé plus lourd que leur seul militantisme à Somatemps, que même le journal El País, qui ne cache pas ses fortes critiques contre l’indépendantisme, qualifie de « formation d’extrême droite ».

Parmi ces dix noms, on trouve entre autres celui de Josep Alsina, actuel président et porte-parole de Somatemps. Dans les années 1970, explique Jordi Borràs, il milite dans les rangs du Partido Español Nacional Socialista. Après la dissolution du parti néo-nazi, il rejoint la formation néo-franquiste Fuerza Nueva, pour laquelle il sera candidat à Barcelone en 1982. Il a également dirigé la revue révisionniste Nihil Obstat. On peut également citer le professeur Javier Barraycoa, secrétaire régional de la CTC, un groupe carliste ultra-conservateur opposé au divorce, à l’avortement, à l’euthanasie ou encore à la laïcité. D’après Borràs, Barraycoa a participé à un hommage consacré aux combattants carlistes sous la bannière franquiste. Il a également présenté l’un de ses ouvrages au siège du parti néo-fasciste Democracia Nacional. A cette occasion, les participants ont respecté une minute de silence à la mémoire de la División Azul, un groupe de soldats de l’armée franquiste envoyés en Russie pour combattre aux côtés du IIIe Reich. L’un des autres fondateurs de SCC et Somatemps, l’entrepreneur José Montoro, a lui été candidat pour Juntas Españolas, un parti créé après la fin des franquistes de Fuerza Nueva. Au-delà des dix membres fondateurs de SCC liés à Somatemps, on pourrait également citer le cas de Jorge Buxadé, juriste traditionaliste qui fut candidat de la Phalange Espagnole, l’un des plus célèbres mouvements franquistes, lors des élections régionales de 1995.

La page d’accueil de la maison d’édition Galland Books, avec une large bannière consacrée aux soldats franquistes de la División Azul/ Capture d’écran.

En septembre 2014, SCC parraine l’ouvrage Nos duele Cataluña: 15 españoles con seny. C’est son président d’alors, Josep Ramon Bosch, qui présente l’ouvrage édité par la maison d’édition Galland Books, du nom d’Adolf Galland, pilote de l’armée nazie durant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale, qui publie essentiellement des ouvrages en relation avec les armées franquistes et nazies. Sur la page d’accueil du site web de l’éditeur, on trouve une large bannière redirigeant vers un forum consacré à la sauvegarde de la mémoire des militaires franquistes de la « División Azul », évoqués plus haut.


Mais parmi les membres fondateurs de SCC, il reste à évoquer l’un des plus importants. Fondateur de Somatemps, Josep Ramon Bosch fut le premier président de SCC. Le 24 février 2015, un journal catalan révèle que Bosch aurait assisté à une cérémonie organisée par la Fondation Francisco Franco, le 18 juillet 2013, jour anniversaire du coup d’État franquiste de 1936. Si Bosch nie y avoir participé, un dirigeant local du Parti Populaire (dans lequel Bosch a milité) certifie au journal qu’il était bien présent, comme le confirmeront deux semaines plus tard des sources internes à SCC citées par le journal El País. Le même journal catalan, NacióDigital, révèle également un commentaire qu’aurait écrit un an plus tôt sur Facebook Josep Ramon Bosch. Sur un post à la gloire de Blas Piñar, décédé quelques jours plus tôt, il qualifie l’homme politique franquiste de « grand homme » et termine son message par « AE », les initiales du slogan franquiste « Arriba España ». Blas Piñar, directement nommé par Franco, conseiller principal du Movimiento Nacional, fonda à la mort du dictateur le parti franquiste Fuerza Nueva puis le Frente Nacional, conçu avec le soutien de Jean-Marie Le Pen. Dans son ouvrage, Jordi Borràs détaille d’autres identités numériques par lesquelles Josep Ramon Bosch s’adonnerait supposément, entre autres, à l’insulte et aux menaces envers des personnalités indépendantistes, ainsi qu’à la diffusion de vidéos d’apologie des extrêmes droites européennes, à renforts d’hymnes mussoliniens et nazis. Bosch a toujours nié être l’auteur des différents messages. Le 11 janvier 2017, la justice a décidé de classer la plainte de l’association Drets, qui protestait contre les messages injurieux, puisque les faits étaient prescrits. 12 jours après l’annonce de la plainte, pourtant, Josep Ramon Bosch démissionnait de ses fonctions à la tête de Societat Civil Catalana.

Pour SCC, l’afflux de personnalités du PSC, le Parti des Socialistes de Catalogne de Miquel Iceta, anti-indépendantiste, permet de promouvoir une image de rassemblement inter-partisan contre l’indépendance de la Catalogne. Une image qui a pu convaincre jusque dans les rangs du Parlement Européen, qui annonce le 19 novembre 2014 la remise à SCC du Prix Citoyen Européen, sur proposition d’un eurodéputé du Parti Populaire de Mariano Rajoy. Plusieurs voix s’élèvent alors contre ce choix ; une motion du parlement catalan est votée à l’initiative des écologistes et communistes d’ICV-EUiA ; l’avocat Eduardo Ranz, spécialiste des questions mémorielles sous le franquisme, écrit à l’antenne madrilène du Parlement Européen pour protester contre les liens de SCC avec l’extrême droite ; enfin, un manifeste signé par diverses associations et soutenu par plusieurs députés européens, dont l’écologiste José Bové, mais aussi par un ancien membre de SCC qui a quitté l’organisation pour son manque de clarté envers l’extrême droite, demande l’annulation du prix en arguant que « l’apologie du franquisme et du nazisme sont incompatibles » avec les valeurs européennes.

Du côté de SCC, on nie formellement ces liens, pourtant documentés, avec l’extrême-droite. Dans son ouvrage, Jordi Borràs explique ainsi la nature de l’entité : « SCC n’est pas une association d’extrême droite. C’est une chose pire encore. SCC est une entité qui prêche et revendique des valeurs démocratiques tout en étant codirigée et stimulée par des militants d’extrême droite. Il ne s’agit pas d’activistes d’extrême droite qui auraient « infiltré » l’association […] mais de la coexistence entre des secteurs de l’extrême droite et d’autres supposément progressistes qui n’ont pas seulement toléré ce lien, mais l’ont aussi occulté […] depuis la naissance même de l’association ».

À Barcelone, le 18 mars 2018, Manuel Valls (main tendue) en compagnie de Josep Ramon Bosch (cheveux gris et veste matelassée), fondateur de SCC et de Somatemps/ Crédits : Téo Cazenaves

Si Josep Ramon Bosch, fondateur de Somatemps et de SCC, a quitté ses fonctions de président de la plateforme unioniste en 2015, quelques jours après la plainte déposée par Drets contre lui, il continue à naviguer dans les environs de l’association. Le Média a ainsi pu constater sa présence, le 18 mars 2018, aux côtés de Manuel Valls, lors de la manifestation organisée par SCC. Les deux hommes se sont également rencontrés le 23 avril dernier, à l’occasion de la remise du prix décerné par SCC à Manuel Valls. Enfin, pour la modique somme de 130 euros, on pourra écouter à Santander, en juillet prochain, les commentaires de l’ancien Premier Ministre français lors d’un colloque consacré au Procés catalan – sans que les organisateurs n’aient jugé pertinent d’inviter aucun intervenant pro-indépendance –, pour lequel le mot inaugural sera donné par le même Josep Ramon Bosch.

Contacté par Le Média, Manuel Valls nous a fait savoir par le biais de ses collaborateurs qu’il ne souhaitait pas répondre à nos questions. Le mois dernier, devant l’Assemblée Nationale, il a cependant accepté de répondre à celles de Cake Minuesa, collaborateur du média d’extrême droite Intereconomía.

Crédits photo de une : Téo Cazenaves

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dilluns, 9 de juliol de 2018

Catalan literature, between intermittence and emancipation

Catalan literature is, in the general order of Romance literatures, a singular case. Catalan is the only literature in the Mediterranean arc that, despite dating back like the others to the Middle Ages, has survived to the present day without the buttresses of a State of its own behind it. It is singular too because its geographical domain covers Spain, Andorra, France, and even Italy, thanks to the Sardinian town of Alghero, a symbolic redoubt of this centuries-old persistence. The reason the map of Catalan literature crosses frontiers is that it corresponds to the historical territory of a medieval frontier province, that of the Crown of Catalonia and Aragon, and it survives today in a community of nine million speakers.

Catalan poetry was born under the sign of emancipation. Wholly part of the troubadour tradition, Catalan poets gradually broke free of Occitan models. Around the end of the fourteenth century three poets appeared who, without abandoning the troubadours’ style of poetry, were already writing in Catalan: Gilabert de Pròixita, Andreu Febrer (translator of the Divine Comedy into Catalan) and Jordi de Sant Jordi. They paved the way for Àusiàs March (1397-1459), a Valencian poet who took a conscious step back from Occitan poetry and brought modernity to Hispanic letters. His unheard-of attitude to women, whom unlike the troubadours he did not idealize, or spiritualize in the Italian fashion, made him a point of reference also for Spanish poets, both contemporary, like the Renaissance Garcilaso de la Vega, and modern ones.

Josep Carner and Carles Riba (Riba Collection)

Just as the great medieval Romance literatures have had a founding figure (Villon, Dante, Alfonso X the Wise), Catalan has in Ramon Llull (1232-1316) its first prose writer. A novelist, poet, philosopher, theologian and mystic, Llull is a universal author. A knight educated at the court, he experienced a profound spiritual crisis and a religious conversion that led him to interview popes and kings, take part in ecclesiastical councils, debate at the Sorbonne and preach in the lands of the infidel. A tireless traveller, Llull also wrote in Latin, Arabic and Provençal, although his great merit is being the first medieval author to use a Romance language to write philosophical treatises. With this gesture of emancipation, Llull turned Catalan into a literary language and established a model of prose that spread throughout contemporary and later literature. Following Llull’s example, the Royal Chancellery adopted Catalan when writing the four great royal chronicles. The sublime chronicle of Ramon Muntaner, who tells the story of the period of maximum Catalan-Aragonese expansion in the Mediterranean, is one of the most outstanding works of the European Middle Ages. It was in the Chancellery, the institution that copied and issued royal documents, that an academic model of the language was gradually established that became accepted as official throughout the territory. Through the writings of Bernat Metge (1340/45-1413), the king’s scribe and secretary, Catalan literature entered the modern age. Metge borrowed from the classics and from Petrarch and Boccaccio’s humanism to write Lo somni (1399), a complex story about the immortality of the soul. If Llull is a man enlightened by a medieval faith, Bernat Metge is the sceptic who only believes in what he sees.

Llull’s novels were also to be a point of reference for the three great novels of the fifteenth century in Catalan. Firstly, Curial e Güelfa is a chivalric novel by an anonymous author, while Mario Vargas Llosa has described Tirant lo Blancby the Valencian Joanot Martorell (1414-1468) – a work that Cervantes saves from the flames when he purges Don Quixote’s library – as a dazzlingly modern novel. Far removed from Llullian or chivalric idealizations is the third of the great novels written by the Valencian doctor Jaume Roig (?-1478): Espill or Book of Women is a work of over 16,000 verses, furiously misogynistic, which gives us a foretaste of some elements of the picaresque novel. Valencian literature of the same century produced other sublime examples of prose, from the pious and simple register of Isabel de Villena (1430-1490) to the lyrical prose, of great metaphorical density, of Joan Roís de Corella (1433/43-1497).

Mercè Rodoreda and Josep Maria de Sagarra

In the Early Modern Age, the time when the great States of France and Spain were established, the Catalan-speaking areas lost the geopolitical centrality that they had had during the medieval period. The accession of the Trastámara dynasty and the removal of the court to Castile were two reasons why we now use the word ‘decline’ when we refer to the period stretching from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Catalan literature of this period nevertheless has a few singular figures, like the Baron of Maldà, rector of Vallfogona, a Baroque poet and an enlightened diarist, or the Minorcan playwright Joan Ramis, whose work can be described as wholly neoclassical.

Modern literary Catalan has not been established around a court nor has it been imposed from the officialdom of a centralized State, as would be the case with Spanish or French. Nor has any dialectal variant been adopted as a literary language, as was the case in Italy with Tuscan. Catalan literature has been constructed from its dialectal richness, but this has not stopped authors from different countries acknowledging that they are writing in the same language, brought together under the designation ‘Catalan literature’. Catalan literature has experienced periods of intermittent splendour alternating with interruptions, some longer than others. As a result of all this, the Catalan literary tradition is above all medieval and Romantic. In the nineteenth century, under the sign of Romanticism, Catalan culture freed itself from the yoke that reduced it to a patois and was recovered as a language of culture. La Renaixença, a movement that linked with the revival of popular storytelling and Romantic nationalism, provided three great literary figures: the poet Jacint Verdaguer, the playwright Àngel Guimerà and the novelist Narcís Oller. All three of them had continuers who would make the twentieth one of the most brilliant centuries in Catalan literature. The canon of the last hundred years evolves and expands as time passes. In the field of prose there are inescapable figures, like the philosopher Eugeni d’Ors, the journalist Josep Pla, the poets Josep Carner, Salvador Espriu or Josep M. de Sagarra, the fiction writers Pere Calders, Llorenç Villalonga, Joan Sales, and above all Mercè Rodoreda, who in the words of Gabriel García Márquez was the best Spanish writer of the twentieth century. All of them have relaunched a literary tradition that new generations of writers, both Catalan and of other places of origin or nationalities, have now accepted as their own, since Catalan literature, more alive than ever, has successfully integrated the richness of globalization.

Catalan writers’ permanent wish for emancipation has gone hand in hand with a need to make external points of reference their own. We once again encounter Bernat Metge’s delight in translating Petrarch in the great Catalan poets of the twentieth century, all of them great translators: Joan Maragall (Nietzsche and Novalis), Josep Carner (Dickens), Carles Riba (Homer and Hölderlin), Joan Vinyoli (Rilke), Gabriel Ferrater (Kafka), Narcís Comadira (Leopardi), Maria Mercè Marçal (Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva), Enric Casasses (Max Jacob), and so on. Also important was the effort made to translate the Bible by the community of monks of Montserrat. It is through translation that to a large extent Catalan literature is growing inwards and overflowing outwards. And this is precisely one of the most important missions of the Institut Ramon Llull: to project Catalan literature by means of financial aid for the translation of works of literature and thought into other languages. With its help the Institut Ramon Llull has been able to accompany internationally famous Catalan authors, like Jaume Cabré, Quim Monzó, Albert Sánchez-Piñol, Sergi Pàmies, Eduard Márquez, Jordi Puntí, Maria Barbalor Francesc Serés, who have contributed to the boom in Catalan literature around the world.

A century and a half after the Romantic revival, we can say with a bit of historical perspective that on the map of European letters, Catalan literature has taken a peculiar route: despite having enjoyed early splendour in the Middle Ages, it has arrived in time and in good health in the multicultural age, which should guarantee it the place it deserves in the world.

Saint Peter Codex

Cover of the Dutch translation of Pilar Prim by Narcís Oller

Miniature from the fifteenth century, the Tirant lo Blanc period

Gabriel Ferrater

Josep Pla

Maria Barbal, Jaume Cabré and Quim Monzó

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diumenge, 8 de juliol de 2018

New Catalan President Quim Torra to demand Scottish-style vote

Catalonia’s President has set out a list of demands before his first meeting with Spain’s new prime minister next week, including a call for a Scottish-style independence referendum.
Quim Torra will meet Pedro Sánchez in Madrid on Monday, the first encounter between a Spanish prime minister and a Catalan regional leader since the secessionist push last October threatened to rip the country apart.Mr Torra, 55, said the meeting was a “positive” step.

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dissabte, 7 de juliol de 2018

Meeting in London (Houses of Parliament) on July 10th

Westminster update on Catalan Political Prisoners. Jail and exile in "democratic" Spain, with:
*Txell Bonet, partner of Jordi Cuixart, in jail since 16/10/2017
*Anna Forn, daughter of Joaquim Forn, in jail since 2/11/2017 Tuesday 10/07, 6pm.
Houses of Parliament, London
And later a Yellow Solidarity Supper

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dimecres, 4 de juliol de 2018

Spanish supremacist terrorists severely wound a Catalan

A group of Spanish ultras has attacked yesterday evening a peaceful group of Catalan people, who were hanging yellow ribbons, near the prison of Lledoners, in Sant Joan de Vilatorrada, Barcelona. A Catalan is in a hospital after being beaten by a group of  supremacists. The Fascists have been identified but the Spanish police has not detained them.

 They are:
- Antonio Noguera Martinez, a Fascist terrorist from Ciudadanos he has been pictured with his friends of the Spanish police. That’s why he is not being detained yet.

- Jaime Vizern, who also tried to raid the Catalan Exile Government HQ in Waterloo dressed as a Spanish military policeman (How did he get the clothes?). He is linked to the Fascist Spanish party "National Democracy". 

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The niece of the Fascist Spanish Dictator now named "Duchess of Franco" officially

The Dukedom has been granted to the heir apparent, María del Carmen Martínez-Bordíu y Franco, the eldest daughter of the late Duchess, on the same year, as published in the Official State Gazette on today. The Duke of Franco is a hereditary title created in 1975 by King Juan Carlos (named by Franco, whose son is now the "king" of Spain.

In 1950, Carmen Franco, 1st Duchess of Franco, had married Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú, 10th Marquess of Villaverde, by whom she had several children. Dukes and duchesses of Franco are also Grandees of Spain. After the death of the 1st Duchess of Franco, succession of the ducal title with accompanying dignity has been requested by her eldest daughter María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco. Under Spanish nobility law, her eldest daughter Maria is first in line, but does not succeed automatically; with the application to the Crown and the issue of the Royal Letter of Succession, and after an announcement period of thirty days, succession is only legally entering into force after a tax is paid.

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dilluns, 2 de juliol de 2018

The Battle of Barcelona, 1st to 3rd July 1642

The Naval battle of Barcelona was a naval engagement of the Franco-Habsburg War fought off Barcelona from 29 June to 3 July 1642 between a Spanish fleet commanded by Juan Alonso Idiáquez, Duke of Ciudad Real, and a French fleet under Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé, Duc de Fronsac.

In a three-day battle, Brézé defeated the Spanish fleet, which was attempting to relieve some Spanish garrisons isolated along the Catalan coast, and forced the Duke of Ciudad Real to retreat to Majorca for repairs. 

As usual in most of the battles involving Maillé-Brézé, the French fleet made an extensive use of her fireships. This time, however, a large French vice-flagship, the Galion-de-Guise, fell victim to one of his own fireships and went down enveloped in flames. The victory, in any case, was for the French fleet, and its main long-term effect was the fall of Perpignan in hands of the Franco-Catalan army.


The outbreak in 1640 of the Reapers' War, or the Catalan Uprising against the Spanish Monarchy, left most of the Principality in hands of the rebels and their French allies by mid-1641. The Spanish forces were restricted to the area around Tarragona and Tortosa in the south and the County of Roussillon in the north, besides a series of isolated ports along the coast. The French viceroy of Catalonia, Philippe de La Mothe-Houdancourt, attempted to conquer Tarragona between May and August, but failed, as a French blockading fleet under Henri d'Escoubleau de Sourdis was not big enough to prevent the entrance into Tarragona of a large Spanish relief convoy. Sourdis had been never very enthusiastic of blockading Tarragona and preferred to focus all the efforts in capturing Cotlliure to starve the Spanish army in Perpignan. Cardinal Richelieu replaced him with his nephew Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé, but for the 1642 campaign he followed his plans and committed most of his forces to conquer Rousillon.

French preparations

Marshall Charles de La Porte gained Collioure on 13 April and, together with Frederick Schomberg, laid siege to Perpignan. The French fleet would blockade the coast between Tarragona and Collioure, and battle with the Spanish fleet if necessary. The fleets of Ponant and Levant were concentrated at Barcelona. The squadron of Brest, composed of 21 sailing vessels, 2 fluyts and 6 fireships, doubled the Cabo de Gata on 10 June. The Toulon squadron, of 19 sailing vessels, 4 fluyts and 6 fireships under the Chevalier de Cangé, arrived to Barcelona on 8 May. The flotte des galères led by the bailli de Forbin, composed of 25 units, arrived on 21 June. The fleet was completed with a small squadron under Abraham Duquesne which had been left to cruise off the Catalan coast, and ten English and Dutch chartered vessels, thus increasing its strength to nearly 60 ships. After a war council was held aboard the fleet on 22 June, Maillé-Brézé put his ships on sail in order to intercept a Spanish fleet reportedly seen at the height of Tarragona.

Spanish preparations

Spanish naval officials tried to have ready on time the Spanish fleet to avoid the conjunction of the French Levant and Ponant fleets, but failed, and therefore focused on collecting as many ships as possible for a relief fleet that was supposed to relieve the maritime garrisons isolated along the coast, and specifically the much tightened Rousillon. The maritime relief was the only way, as a land army organized to cross the country till Perpignan had been defeated by La Mothe-Houdancourt at the Battle of Montmeló and the subsequent Battle of La Granada, in which Count Pedro Antonio de Aragón, his lieutenant Gerolamo Caracciolo and the entire force, of some 3,500 men, were made prisoners. In view of the defeat, the whole Castile was put on the warpath. Foreign and private ships were seized, silver from individuals was melted to mint coins to pay troops, and soon Cádiz was full of soldiers and seamen come from all over the country. The Duke of Ciudad Real, a man devoid of experience in naval fighting, was the chief of the fleet. He was seconded by Admiral General Sancho de Urdanivia.[8] The force consisted of 31 galleons or large sailing vessels, 2 frigates, 3 pataches, 6 fireships, a convoy of tartanes, and 35 barcos longos, a newly invented sort of counter-fireship.

The Battle

The Spanish fleet arrived off Barcelona on June 29 around 15:00h, and despite the late hour, the rough seas and not being complete, they immediately attacked the French. The battle raged until sunset. The Spanish tried to board some French ships, but without success. The French launched one fireship and the Spanish three, but also without any effect.

The next day, the slower Spanish galleys had reached Barcelona, and the complete Spanish fleet attacked again. Now the Magdalena and some smaller Spanish ships were able to isolate the large French Galion-de-Guise, and threatened to board the ship. The French launched a fireship against the Magdalena, but the Spanish crew was able to deviate the fireship towards the Guise which caught fire. The Guise went up in flames, together with its commander Vice Admiral Hercule de Conigan de Cangé, 500 French out of a total crew of 540, and 30 Spaniards.

On July 3, the battle resumed, but now the French artillery prevailed and several Spanish ships were seriously damaged. The Duke of Ciudad Real was forced to retreat and the victory was for the French.

Help Catalonia is an association that receives no subsidies whatsoever from the Spanish state, the Catalan government or indeed any other organisation. We, the people who work in this project, do so on a voluntary basis and for no financial gain whatsoever.

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diumenge, 1 de juliol de 2018

Catalan National Assembly proposes Republican pro-independence primary elections to elect candidates

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) proposed today republican pro-independence primary elections to elect candidates in the Catalonia's big cities (more than 25,000 inhabitants) for the 2019 local elections. The direction of the assembly meet in Barcelona today and approved the proposal. The party Catalonia Democrats in its national council also approved a resolution with the same idea.

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dissabte, 30 de juny de 2018

Huge circle dance by 12,000 Catalans for Freedom and Democracy in Banyoles

More than 12,000 people participated on June 30th in the 'Sardana per la Llibertat' convened by the CDR (Committees in Defence of the Republic) and the Assembly of the Catalan region of the Pla de l'Estany, together with the Promotion of the Sardana in Banyoles. People from different parts of Catalonia, including Northern Catalonia (under French rule), have encircled Banyoles lake to claim the freedom of political prisoners, and they have also called for the Catalan Republic to be effective. Sardana is a Catalan typical circle dance.

The event began with the messages of the exiled Culture Minister Lluís Puig and the delegate of the Government of the Generalitat in Brussels, Meritxell Serret, who greeted the audience and thanked for their participation. In addition, they have claimed the spirit of October 1. Next, in the manifesto that representatives of the organizing entities and Òmnium Cultural have read on stage, they have again claimed the freedom of prisoners and exiles. They also made an uprising for freedom of expression and manifestation or meeting, threatened by the Mordassa Law and the arbitrariness of the judiciary.

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dijous, 28 de juny de 2018

"Bourbon Go Home" , the Defense Committees of the Republic Block the highways where the Spanish "king" should pass

Vilablareix, Salt or Aiguaviva live this afternoon concentrations to denounce the presence of the Spanish "king" Felipe VI in the Girona region. Felipe is the son of Juan Carlos named "king" by Fascist Dictator Franco after 40 years of dictatorship. Felipe asked to Spanish people to beat peaceful Catalan Democrats last October with the famous "Go for them".  A police cord the bar step towards the path that leads to Mas Marroch, where tonight the Bourbon should be in the Awards of Girona. The local council of Girona denied any building for the "king" and this is the reasong why the awards are held in a small village as Vilabreix.

The protesters are summoned by the Defense Committees of the Republic. Some of the concentrates opposed to the presence of Philip VI have burned photos of the monarch. The CDR have called another protest in the parking in Salt with hundreds of people. The police encircled the protesters, some of them with banners calling "Bourbon Go Home" and pushed them when they tried to break the cord and cut the road.

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