Catalan as an official language in Valencia?
Open letter to the WDR Broadcasting Board

March 31, 2023

WDR is a public broadcaster in North Rhine-Westphalia that is part of Germany's state broadcasting system and is compulsorily financed by all German households. On March 29, 2023, WDR broadcasted a report on the Catalonia conflict titled: „Catalonia and Independence: A Dream Divides Society.“. This report is, in my opinion, tendentious and makes objectively false claims regarding the language situation in this conflict. I have written an open letter to the Broadcasting Council, which by its own admission represents „the interests of the general public“.

Although the report is in German and cannot be understood by most English-speaking readers of my blog, I decided to communicate this open letter in English as well, because in it I show how manipulative the separatists are and how their influence even on foreign public media works.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

I complain about your article last Wednesday under the title „Catalonia and independence: a dream divides society“ because, now living in Spain for almost 25 years with children and grandchildren, I am directly affected by the effects of this conflict and consider this contribution tendentious.

At a cursory glance, the report appears to be neutral. Both separatists and unionists have their say within the time allotted to them, and at the end of the program a Catalan has his say who cannot make a clear decision for or against independence. At first, it is gratifying to hear from the off-camera at about 03:40: „The language plays a particularly important role in the self-image of being one's own nation.“ However, anyone who expects the program to report on the language imposition in Spain will be massively disappointed.

Catalonia has three official languages, Aranese, Catalan and Spanish. In public schools, Spanish-speaking children can only learn in their native language to a limited extent. (According to Wikipedia, 54.99% of Catalans reported Spanish as their native language in 2008). Street signs are only in Catalan, not differently in public offices and who forgets as a business or small bar owner to advertise next to Spanish in Catalan (vice versa does not apply!), will be fined. That is nowhere mentioned in this post and the selection of Catalans who have their say in the article doesn't bode well.

Among others, there is Marta Rosique, a young, neat parliamentarian on the side of the separatists, and on the other side there are a few old people „who don't leave it at demonstrations“ (ca. 18:00) and who are masked and on the road at night as a cleaning squad. Although it is pointed out in the report (from approx. 19:59) that this squad removes illegally hung separatist flags from city halls, it could have been shown to what incredible extent the „clean“ separatists pollute public facilities, streets, schools, etc. with graffiti of all kinds. Instead, the leader of the cleaning squad is shown receiving the „booty“ (22:00) of the squad. Booty(!) so much for the language.

Regarding the 2017 referendum organized by the separatists, pictures are shown of police violence in which ballot boxes were confiscated. Marta Rosique then gets ample opportunity to vent about it. It was violence „against the Catalans“ she can claim, although this state violence was not directed against the Catalans, but against the illegally acting separatists.

What doesn't get a word in edgewise is the intelligent propaganda show of the separatists, who used the events to present themselves as victims again. Catalan hospitals were even instructed to count as victims those who saw police attacks on television and therefore became afraid, as El Mundo reported on Oct. 8, 2017. The English Guardian reported the same day, „Violence in Catalonia needed closer scrutiny in age of fake news“ and was joined by the Washington Post, „How fake news helped shape the Catalonia independence vote“

The separatist victim role is not neglected in the rest of the report. A group of elderly and sympathetic Catalan ladies reminisce about Franco's dictatorship, and off-camera comments: „Catalonia, as a stronghold of the democratic republicans, was particularly oppressed during the dictatorship.“ Stronghold? All of Republican Spain fought against Franco, there was no Franco's war against the Catalans! The Catalans were divided into fascists and republicans like all of Spain, the struggle of Catalan nationalists among the republicans was often even a hindrance.

The broadcast continues to be underpinned by a march by the far-right Falangists in Madrid and the role of the right-wing populist VOX, which supports the Catalan unionists. What is missing, accordingly, is any reference to right-wing separatists.

Oriol Junqueras, president of the left-wing ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) since 2011, wrote as late as 2015, in the racist tradition of his predecessor Herribert Barrera: „The Catalans have more genetic proximity to the French than to the Spanish; more to the Italians than to the Portuguese and a little to the Swiss. While the Spanish have more proximity to the Portuguese than to the Catalans and little to the French.“ Barrera had written in a 2001 book, „The intelligence quotient of Negroes in the U.S. is lower than that of whites“

I will spare the readers of this letter further details of the ultimately one-sided account and return to the language problem, which - apart from Franco's prohibitions - is only briefly alluded to twice. At about 24:57 it says: „in the schools Catalan is spoken almost exclusively.“

It is not true that Catalan is spoken almost exclusively in schools. It is true that there are rulings by the highest courts of Spain and Catalonia that at least 25% of instruction must be in Spanish instead of Catalan. It is also true that the Catalan government refuses to implement these rulings. It is probably also true that the majority of Catalan students speak Spanish during breaks, which is why they are spied on. Los 'espías del recreo' preparan una gran campaña „en los patios“ de Cataluña. The 'break spies' are preparing a big campaign „in the schoolyards“ of Catalonia, headlined El Mundo on September 3, 2019, a campaign that has also been tried in Valencia and this brings us to the report of Marta Rosique's trip to the Valencian Autonomous Region.

13:08 it says: „Although Catalan is also spoken here, which has even been the official language for years, Rosique wants to demonstrate for the preservation of the language.“ A simple look at the Valencian Constitution, articulo sexto shows; that the official languages of Valencia are Valenciano and Spanish, not Catalan! Even the new German word for this part of the WDR report is fake-news!

But the separatists like to spread this fake-news and so it says from 13:20: „For the separatists, language borders define the territory of the dreamed-of republic. That's why they also lay claim to Valencia and the Balearic Islands, where Catalan dialects are spoken.“ Leaving aside the fact that, conversely, a great many Valencians understand Catalan as a Valencian dialect and demonstrate in the streets against these imperial claims of the separatists. If language borders decide the territory of a republic, is it no longer right-wing politics to want to bring Austria home to the empire? (Hitler's words in 1938)

I am looking forward to your response.

With kind regards from the valencian Jávea

Helmut Jutzi
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