In defence of the Ona book shop in Barcelona
per Víctor Alexandre   
dimecres, 11 abril 2007
Llibreria OnaThe verbal attacks the Ona book shop in Barcelona has received recently are not very different from the ones that the 3i4 book shop, in Valencia, has suffered. The ones which took place in Valencia have been more brutal. While in Barcelona the attacks haven't gone further than verbal actions, Valencia has suffered violent assaults: people masked hit the clients and the staff, drop books on the floor and shout pro-Spanish slogans. Nevertheless, the ideology beyond both groups of assaulters is exactly the same, and because of that reason, the Ona library may probably suffer a more violent assault.

Not long ago, Quim Monzó, a Catalan writer, referred to these facts when he accepted the Trajectòria prize awarded by the literary and editorial world. The whole thing is more serious than it seems to be, because there is a racist background beyond. It has nothing to do with the colour of the skin, of course, but with historical reasons. It is a racism that comes from the rage and the impotence that the Spanishness feel seeing that after 300 years of subjection, the subjugated still remain active and dare to have a library opened in the city centre where only books in Catalan are sold. Wouldn't that be a taunt to a catalan-phobic? Isn't this the type of book shop we should mock in order to stop its spreading?

The Ona book shop was founded forty five years ago and from its origin, it has had the catalanist incorruptible support of its promoters, leaded by Jordi and Montserrat Úbeda (father and daughter). They both received the distinction of "Deeply rooted to the city", in recognition of a establishment that takes part of the scenery of Barcelona, just as the Les Voltes library does in Girona. For its part, Les Voltes, boosted as well by Espar i Ticó, suffers the constant pressure of the real state agency and only Feliu Matamala's strength (manager of Les Voltes book shop), instead of the political class', has saved it from disappearing up till nowadays.

It seems ironic that book shops that have survived franquism and that, as Ona explains in its website, "they are witnesses of the will of surveillance that our people had to keep to fight back the continued aggressions which they were subjected to", see themselves threatened. Let's think about it and draw conclusions.

El Singular Digital , 10/4/2007 (català)
eurotribune.eu , 13/4/2007 (català, english, español, français)