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9.13.2012

Never, ever say good morning to a Spanish policeman!

I know Bernat well. He is the mildest, politest young man you could possibly imagine. He explaibns in a letter to the leading Barcelona daily paper, La Vanguardia, how he was detained for twenty minutes by the Spanish police at Barcelona airport on September 7th, on his way back from a journey abroad. He showed his passport (which on page 2 has his identity card number clearly printed) and, having said "Bon dia" politely, was asked for his ID card number. He replied in Catalan (which just so happens to be official in Catalonia: the policeman has had since 1979 to discover that!) and was told to dictate the number... in Spanish. Being perfectly entitled to use whichever official language he prefers, he refused, and showed his ID card and even wrote the number down on paper. Bernat explains that the policeman closed the cabin, gathered a group of colleagues to surround him, and they all cried out threateningly "We're in Spain! This isn't a circus! You have to speak the language of the State!". After sticking to his rights, they brought an interpreter in to translate into Spanish his ID card number as he recited it in his own language. They took down his full name and address (and I may add, if the worst comes to the worst, he wouldn't be the first Catalan citizen to get fined for freely exercising his rights and refusing to be bullied by Spanish officials).

I suspect many similar events never reach the press. The letter has been published today in La Vanguardia, two days after the largest-ever pro- independence demonstration in Southern Europe (the papers speak of 1·5 million people!). Is there anyone left in the world who doesn't understand why?

So it's hard not to advise you never ever to say good morning to a Spanish policeman... in Catalan!
  
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http://www.lavanguardia.com/participacion/cartas/20120913/54349527810/retingut-parlar-catala.html

Retingut per parlar en català

Cartas| 13/09/2012 - 18:19h
Bernat Gasull i Roig
Barcelona
Aquest 7 de setembre, tot tornant d'un vol de fora la Unió Europea, vaig ser retingut per la policia de l'Aeroport del Prat cosa d'uns 20 minuts per parlar en català.
Després de presentar el passaport i dir educadament "Bon dia" se'm va demanar el número de DNI. Jo el vaig dir en català. Per sorpresa meva el policia va exigir que li digués en castellà, cosa que em vaig negar fent ús dels meus drets. Hi va insistir i jo m'hi vaig tornar a negar. Vaig oferir el document i fins i tot el número de DNI escrit en un paper per si no m'entenia, però el va rebutjar atès que ell volia que de viva veu li digués el número en castellà.
Molest per la meva actitud, enfadat va cridar "¡Cerradlo todo!", va tancar la cabina i va anar a cercar un seguit de policies que envoltant-me se'm van adreçar amb posat i paraules despectives, burlesques i amenaçadores vers la meva llengua i la meva persona: "¡Estamos en España! ¡Esto no es un circo! ¡Tienes que hablar la lengua del Estado!". Jo els feia referència a la llei per la qual estan obligats a entendre'm i en tot moment vaig continuar parlant en català.
Després d'una estona d'insistir perquè cedís, em van dir que si continuava així anirien a cercar un traductor. No m'hi vaig pas negar. Vaig esperar-lo assegut. Una estona després una dona de l'aeroport prou amable va anar traduint els números del DNI que jo anava dient en català (números que jo els oferia escrits en un paper o en el mateix document però que es negaven a acceptar). Suposo que amb això no n'hi havia prou i em van demanar més dades (adreça, telèfon...). '¿Lo tienes todo? Sí ya tengo todos sus datos'. Em van tornar el passaport i me'n vaig anar.
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