dijous, 29 de març de 2012

Protesters in Majorca Say Enough Is Enough

A few days ago, Palma (Majorca) witnessed a huge demonstration under the slogan Sí a la nostra llengua (literally, Yes to Our Language). The city was full of people, trains were over capacity. Tens of thousands of people marched peacefully through the city. Obra Cultural Balear (OCB, Cultural Association of the Balearic Islands) led a list of dozens of associations, from trade unions to scouts, from teachers to political parties. JaumeBonet, who at the time had been on hunger strike for 25 days, was in everyone's mind. (You can help him by sending a request to UNESCO to mediate).

50.000 people participated in what Jaume Mateu, OCB's president, defined as a ‘historical oportunity to defend our language.’ Mateu said that the current president (member of Partido Popular) ‘will not be able to ignore this historical demonstration against his attacks on our language.’ Concerning hunger striker Jaume Bonet, he said ‘We cannot forget the twenty-five day hunger strike aimed at defending our noble cause. Needless to say, we are all Jaume, and we all feel his pain. (...) Jaume, we will never be able to repay you for everything you're doing for us. That is why those who share your boundless love for our country, those who ask that you do not risk your life, and those who need you to continue demanding respect with indomitable determination, are here.’ Afterwards, songwriter Maria del Mar Bonet and actor Simó Andreu read a manifesto.

Reactions to the demonstration compiled by Help Catalonia:

Agustí Colomines

Agustí Colomines

Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Barcelona
Director of the Fundació Catalanista i Demòcrata —CatDem

‘This is nothing new. Our language has been persecuted for some time, and often challenged. We must get to work, and support the people of Majorca and Valencia, and do what needs to be done.’

Josep Huguet

Josep Huguet i Biosca@JosepHuguet

Minister of Innovation, Universities and Enterprise (2006-2010)Minister of Trade, Tourism and Consumer Affairs (2004-2006)

‘As president of the Josep Irla FoundationI think we are in the final stages of self-governing experimentation with which Franco supporters and Spanish democratic, Jacobin centralists have tried to control both Catalans and Basques. As that invention has resulted in an inefficient, ungovernable Spain, they are blaming the different nations in Spain, openly expressing their absolutist vision of un roi, une loi, une foi (one king, one law. one language). These attacks are nothing more, and nothing less.’

Quim Torra

Quim Torra
Editor and Lawyer

‘Catalan grammarian Pompeu Fabra once said “If I were to fail, the language would fail; and if the language fails, everything will fail.” I am very angry, my patience is exhausted. This is unbearable. I can't stand it any more.’

Joan Badia
Joan Badia i Pujol
Professor of Catalan Language and Literature.
Deputy Director of Permanent Education and Pedagogical Resources in the Catalan Government (2004-2006).
Director of Innovation in the Catalan Government (2006-2009).
Deputy Director of Academic University Planning in the Catalan Government (2009-2010).
Deputy Director of European Higher Education (2009-2010).
Co-founder of http://www.practicareflexiva.pro/cat/.

‘I believe the Spanish nationalist party (the ruling Partido Popular) is following the book of how to kill a language. This is unacceptable.’

Josep Anton Fernández

Dr. Josep Anton Fernandez@JosepAntonFdez 
Professor of Catalan Studies at Open University of Catalunya (UOC)Executive Member of Plataforma per la Llengua http://www.plataforma-llengua.cat@llenguacat

‘Spanish nationalists are trying to attack it (our language) from all sides of the periphery (Valencia and the Balearic Isles) and at the waterline (language immersion). This is just one more in a long list of attacks. This is nothing new. But our stamina is not endless; we cannot just sit and react to the assaults. We have to continue working for rational and heartfelt support for our project to make Catalan the common language of all our country's citizens. Because Catalan is the language we have in common despite our diverse origins. Spanish nationalism will continue to attempt to assimilate us. But as citizens who know our rights must be upheld, we will go on working for a democratic project, of Catalan as a common language. And when we speak of a common language, we speak of equal rights and equal opportunities.’

Photos: taken by Diari de Balears, SEPC, Malloquí Supervivent and X. Zegrí.

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