Catalonia Calling! #25

Catalanophobia, Foreigners and a Threatening Email - 12/03/2016

Catalonia Calling #25 is called Catalanophobia, Foreigners and a Threatening Email and centres around a threatening email that I received from someone who didn't like my position on Catalan independence.

Speaking personally, I'm completely in favour of freedom of speech and will defend people's right to express their opinion, however ludicrous.

This includes holocaust deniers, the people who call the CUP women whores (a topic I've had quite a few disagreements about) and other sexist, racist and homophobic idiots everywhere.

I think people stand or fall by the strength or weakness of their arguments and if you let morons speak out, you can identify them and the arguments that you make against them will end up convincing most reasonable people.

However, I think there's a limit and that limit is when there's is an explicit threat or call to violence.

Well, on Thursday, which incidentally was my 56th birthday and marked the day when I've spent over half my life in Catalonia, I received a threatening email.

I was going to talk in today's Catalonia Calling about the parallels between the current political situation in Spain and the Transition to Democracy but I think this email is interesting enough to be worth dedicating an episode to.








Catalanophobia

I first came across the idea of Catalanophobia during the Partido Popular governments under José Maria Aznar, when he seemed to get a political advantage out of attacking Catalonia, and then there was the anti-Catalan campaign that the PP mounted after the Statute in 2006 with a boycott on Catalan products included.

However, attacks on the Catalans from a particular kind of Spanish nationalist (I want to stress that I'm not talking about all Spaniards) have been going on for centuries.

Quevedo, the writer of the Golden Age of Spanish Literature in the 17th century, famously wrote insults against the Catalans, the Catalans had problems in the centuries following the Siege of Barcelona in 1714 and Franco was famous for his hatred of the Catalans so Catalanophobia is nothing new.

More recent examples have been the attacks on ex-President Artur Mas or the insults on Twitter celebrating the fact that Catalans died in the Alps plane disaster or the Al Qaeda attack on the hotel in Tunisia a couple of years ago.


Foreigners

I've also noticed that these same Spanish nationalists get particularly annoyed when they see a foreigner like me embracing the Catalan culture and language.

I've been criticised on many occasions for speaking Catalan and once got physically thrown out of a bar in Mallorca for ordering in Catalan.

Similarly, the fact that I support Barça has been called into question many times and there was a guy in Sant Andreu who used to cross the bar everytime I came in just to call me a 'culé barato'.

The email is along these lines and this is what it says ... first in Spanish and then in English.


Amenaza contra Simon Harris en Español

Te voy a decir una cosa hijo de puta de mierda y te la voy a decir bien clara. Soy catalán, por parte de padre de una de las familias más antiguas de Cataluña, Cardona está entre sus apellidos, además soy amigo personal de muchos intelectuales catalanes empezando por Carlos Barral y terminando por Pere Gimferrer y Román Gubern que todavía están vivos y te diré que no solo no eres nadie intelectualmente y culturalmente hablando, sino que no eres más que una prostituta vendida al régimen fascista nazionalista que tenemos en Cataluña. Y algo más tengo que decirte, Cataluña, de la que no tienes ni idea y hablas de oídas, es absolutamente española; ESO, Cataluña, Baleares, Galicia etc. ESO ES lo que ES España y no nos hace falta que ningún imbécil de mierda que ni siquiera es español nos venga a decir lo que somos o no somos..  

Estoy muy viejo ya para ir a buscarte y romperte la cara por mentiroso, facineroso, oportunista y por meterte en lo que no te importa, pero no estés muy seguro de que otro no lo haga por mi.  

Te aviso cerdo cabrón, lárgate de Cataluña o luego to te quejes de lo que te pueda pasar.

The English Translation

I'm going to tell something you son of a bitch and I'm going to say it very clearly. I'm Catalan, on my father's side, from one of the oldest families in Catalonia, Cardona is amongst his surnames. What's more I'm a personal friend of many Catalan intellectuals beginning with Carlos Barral and nding with Pere Gimferrer and Román Gubern, who are all alive and I'll tell you that you're not just a nobody culturally and intellectually speaking, but you're also a prostitute who's sold himself to the nazionalist and fascist regime we have in Catalonia. And there's something more I have to say to you, Catalonia, about which you have no idea and talk about using hearsay, is totally Spanish; THIS, Catalonia, the Balearics, Galicia etc. THIS IS what Spain IS and there's no need for any shit-filled imbecile who isn't even Spanish to come and tell us what we are and what we aren't ...

I'm too old now to come and find you and smash your face in for being a liar, criminal, opportunist and for getting involved in what's none of your business, but don't be too certain that someone else doesn't do it for me.

I'm warning you, you bastard, get out of Catalonia or later don't complain about what happens to you.


Catalonia Is Not Spain Book

OK, I don't know about you but, although have my moments on these videos, I think I come across as being quite reasonable so the main gripe seems to be about my book Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective.

I'm not back peddling here but the book is really a discussion of Catalonia's claim to be different from the rest of Spain rather than an affirmation.

Obviously, these claims underlie the arguments in favour of independence, which as you know I support, but at the time of writing, Catalonia is part of Spain whether we like it or not.

In fact, when I was thinking of a title, I ummed and aahed over whether to call it Catalonia Is Not Spain? but decided that a statement sounded better.

I didn't expect to be attacked by crazy nationalists for the title, though.

My suggestion to the writer of the email is `'Learn to read English you freaking moron and then we can actually talk about the content!'


The Police Reaction

After I received the email, I asked friends what I should do and everyone said that I should report it to the police.

However, when I tried to do this yesterday, their attitude was so pathetic that after twenty minutes I gave up.

One of them was pleasant and helpful but told me unless I was actually physically atacked it was a complete waste of time.

It seems ludricrous to me that I have to undergo some kind of violence and injury before they can do anything, especially when it's not just a verbal threat but a digital message that can easily be traced.

The other policeman was, unfortunately, extremely unpleasant and asked me what right I had, as a foreigner, to be in favour of independence when he, a Catalan, was against it.

I tried to use the argument above that people hadn't really listened to what I'm saying but he just kept saying 'Do you vote for Junts pel Sí' with a disgusted expression on his face so I gave up in the end.

Anyway, I'm making this video and making people aware of what happened on social media because I want the police to take me seriously next time I go to them.

As I said before, I think that threatening to use violence is completely unacceptable and if we let these things go then people will have no reason not to do them in the future.


A Final Thought

Anyway, thanks very much for watching. Please subscribe, like and comment. Also remember that I do all this completely free. So if you want to support my work and research, you can click on an ad, buy my book Catalonia Is Not Spain: A Historical Perspective on Amazon or make a donation a www.barcelonas.com/paypaldonate.html.

That's it from me for this week.

Viscal el Barça! Visca Catalunya! Look after yourselves.



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