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Em pots ajudar a contestar la pregunta que em fa un amic valencià: QUI SÓN?

El que sap ell és això:

"El del vestit i ulls caiguts és Artur Perucho Badia, un periodista i escriptor nascut a Borriana el 1902.
La foto deu ser de 1937, quan Perucho era director de "Treball" l'òrgan del PSUC, i està presa a Barcelona.
Al fons es veu una estrella "soviètica" de cinc puntes.
El que porta uniforme militar i el de la corbata no tinc ni idea de qui puguen ser. D'això es tracta."

Gràcies per endavant.

Response to the Financial Times

This is my reply to what I regard as a recent one-sided and ill-informed article by the Financial Times' correspondent in Madrid.

Sent to: letters.editor@ft.com, 17/04/09 09:56

Dear Sir,

Tea's off, dearies!

Your Madrid correspondent, Victor Mallet ("Spain's 'coffee for all' can be a bitter brew", April 15 2009), seems not to regard the politics the Partido Popular, whose support in Catalonia and the Basque country is well below the rest of Spain, as "ethnic nationalism".

He decribes Spain as a "nation state", without apparently appreciating that its "fragility" is due precisely to the failure of those in power to acknowledge that it is a multinational state.

He shows his ideological cards when he claims that "it was unfair to exclude Andalucians (sic), Valencians or anyone else" from gaining some level of devolution. In actual fact it was thrust down their throats, like it or not, precisely in an attempt to learn from the lesson ot the 2nd Spanish Republic (in the 1930s) and to defuse the virulent anti-Basque and anti-Catalan sentiment, negative stereotyping and even prejudice that is - for a Briton - shockingly widespread in much of the rest of Spain.

If "Scotland looks far more likely to secede from the union than the Basque country or Catalonia do from Spain", it is because whereas the UK will not prevent the Scots from exercising their right to self-determination, Spain refuses to acknowledge the existence of such a right. Though it is to be hoped that the army of what is a 21st century EU member state would not leave its barracks this time round (an improvement from its behaviour during the 1981 coup d'etat) to prevent a referendum in Catalonia - which a 2008 survey predicted would be won by those seeking independence - or the Basque country, it is already clear that the Spanish government will mobilize all its political or judicial resources to prevent any such referendum.

Mr. Mallet seems to be unaware that Catalonia government has had a delegation in Brussels for fully 20 years (incidentally, would the UK government have taken the Welsh or Scottish Assemblies to the highest court in the land, as did Spain, to try and prevent them from doing likewise?). All its has done in recent times is to raise its political status.

I fail to say how he can admire the rabid, long-standing Jacobine policy in France to impose French and wipe out all other languages in the country (including its islands and colonies outside the haxagon). This has led to generations of self-denigration on the part of millions of Frenchmen. In a word: Charles de Gaulle and his successors have not "tolerated" even a single other language (or "dialect"), so why the French case is even mentioned beats me. Surely linguistic diversity is not something to be "tolerated" in a democracy: it should be fully respected, with practive measures where necessary.

However, it is when he covers language issues that he most graphically (yet perhaps unwittingly) mirrors the parochial, biassed views of middle-class Madrileños (a city where the abundance of central government officials, despite devolution, seems not to have diminished in the least). Two examples: he talks about Catalan, Basque and Galician being "imposed" in schools: but this "imposition" (which produces bi- and trilingual citizens: what more can you want?) is far more gentle than the "imposition" of Spanish in Valladolid... or English in Worcester! He echoes the Madrid press's gloating coverage of a recent demonstration by a group of recalcitrant doctors that refuse to accept that in a region with two official languages the authorities have a perfect right - indeed, a duty - to ensure that all citizens can be adequately served in either language. Readers is invited to try and explain their ailment - sometimes an emergency - in a language other than their own!

Finally, what Mr. Mallet describes as "a trap" - a situation in which a party has to govern without an absolute majority in parliament" - is in fact one of the mainstays of any democratic system, rather than a constitutional looophole in Spain. Many Catalans feel that the Constitution (dogmatically defended by even people who voted against it, like Sr. Aznar) is a trap in a different way: it is being used to hammer any move towards Catalonia's self-determination. Coffee's all there is: tea's off, dearies!

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