|The political manipulation of Frankfurt 2007|
|per VÝctor Alexandre|
|dilluns, 16 octubre 2006|
The presence of the Catalan Literature as honour guest in the Frankfurt Book Fair 2007 will be a great opportunity for the Catalan Countries. It is the most important literary fair in the world, much more than the Mexican one in Guadalajara, and, therefore, its international projection is extraordinary. Moreover, the Catalan Literature is part of a minorized culture and that this minorization is the result of the hostility of its two powerful neighbours, Spain and France, so the invitation cannot be timelier.
Nevertheless, this invitation (and this is what we should expect, being Catalonia a nation without State) has become a source of conflicts and has pointed out the miseries that every involuntary and excessively prolonged subordination causes. I do not know how this situation will be solved when the honour guest is the Basque literature, but its authors and its Government should start thinking to avoid absurd debates and pathetic situations like the ones that are currently taking place in Catalonia. Moreover, it is not new that one of the traps into which all those peoples without legal recognition fall is justification. These peoples waste an enormous amount of energy looking for data, evidence, reasons, etc. to convince the world that its existence is real.
I say this because the debate about if only the authors who write in Catalan or also those who do it in Spanish should go to Frankfurt is the result of a semantic trap, prepared by the Socialist Party, with two objectives: to promote its authors -who, in general, are the immense majority of those who write in Spanish- and to frustrate every international projection of Catalonia differentiated from Spain. Therefore, the trap consists of exchanging “literature” and “culture”. This way, what is irrefutable in the first case -that the Catalan literature is only the one written in Catalan- becomes a debate in the second case. Does the reader perceive the nuance?
In order to make it more understandable, I will mention three people whose the birthplace does not agree with the language of their work: the Basque Miguel de Unamuno, the Occitan Georges Brassens and the Greek Georges Moustaki. What was the contribution of these authors to the languages of their origin countries? None, certainly, because the language in which they wrote their works was another one. Unamuno wrote in Spanish and Brassens and Moustaki in French. Therefore, they are authors whose works enriched the Spanish and French literature but did not mean absolutely anything for the Basque, the Occitan and the Greek literature. Another example is the case of Catalan authors like Tísner or Pere Calders, who lived twenty years exiled in Mexico. In order to earn their living, they wrote several things in the language of that country, but they never stopped witting in Catalan. Therefore, their works in Spanish are not part of the Catalan literature just like their works in Catalan are not part of the Spanish one. Not to admit this obviousness would take us to the absurdity of saying that books like for example Paraules d'Opoton el vell and Prohibida l'evasió of Tísner, or Cròniques de la veritat oculta and Gent de l'alta vall, of Calders, are Mexican literature and culture.
Moreover, it is funny how those Catalan authors who have freely decided to write in the powerful language, Spanish, in order to “open themselves”, as they say –as if there were open languages and closed languages–, but hiding the economic reason, try to be honour guests the same year that the language that they rejected -with the praiseworthy exceptions of Javier Cercas and Juan Marsé-. If this is not so, what is the reason for this accomplice silence regarding the plan of the Socialist Party to show the Catalan literature as a bizarre subsystem of the Spanish literature?
José Montilla says that “the Catalan writers who express themselves in Spanish should not be marginalised”. Well, now the thing is that the marginalised ones are the powerful ones. It is evident that the pretext is that in Catalonia there are many people whose mother tongue is Spanish. OK, so what? This has nothing to do with the invitation of a literature. In Catalonia 300 languages are spoken. Does that mean that 300 languages will have to be the honour guest? Or does the Minister Montilla think that his language is superior and that the other ones are inferior (a worrying though for someone who claims being a left-wing politician)? He will probably answer that the other ones are not official languages and that, therefore, they cannot be taken into account in the same way. But, why not? Montilla’s Socialist Party is not a nationalist party, is it? So why does it defend the Spanish nation so viscerally and all of a sudden and? If the Spanish language is part of Catalonia, since many Spanish speakers live in it, and Catalonia, according to the Socialist Party, is Spain, why are not the other 298 mother tongues of the thousands of citizens who also live in this part of Spain also Spanish and official?
This incongruence is an evidence of the scope of the political manipulation in this affair, by means of ridiculous and unsustainable arguments that could never prevail if they were not backed up by the force of a powerful State. The national concealment of Catalonia, like the one of the Basque Country, is for Spain a State affair. For that reason, it is willing to do anything to prevent that the world knows that, within what it considers its territory, there are people who live happily 24 hours a day without thinking, without speaking and without writing in Spanish. For a country which annihilated overseas all the languages that it found in order to impose its, the challenging survival of Catalan and Basque in the peninsular territory is an unbearable humiliation.
Berria , 7/16/2006 (Basque)
Nabarralde , 7/21/2006 (Spanish)
Racó Català , 10/11/2006 (Catalan)
El Punt , 10/13/2006 (Catalan)
normalitzacio.cat , 10/16/2006 (catalán)
Eurotribune.net , 10/18/2006 (Catalan, English, Spanish, French)