Under the headline: „Successful integration: A German woman on the Costa Blanca scores with Valenciano“, the German newspaper Costa Nachrichten published this week a curious article, in which a German woman is presented, who learns Valenciano and was therefore interviewed by the Valencian television station „A Punt“.
In the article, statements emerge such as, „After all, I'm taking a Valenciano course to integrate myself“ and (the) „Love of the regional culture will certainly have been one reason why Teulada-Moraira's Compromís party knocked on the German's door for a place on the list for the 2023 municipal elections. She ... One more building block for successful integration, to which not only, but certainly also the Valenciano, so hated by many foreign residents“ ... and that she is married to a „real Valencian“.
Statements that, in my opinion, require a closer look, because basically it is not worth a newspaper report if someone learns another language.
Thus it is said, among other things: „I love Valencian culture“ and „...when you learn a language, you also understand the culture of the region“. The latter statement is true in principle, but what does it mean in this case?
Perhaps a comparison with integration in Germany would help? Whoever moves to Munich learns Bavarian and walks around in lederhosen? A comparison with the UK? You move to Edinborough, learn Gaelic and run around in kilts? Obviously not! In my opinion it shows that the German only wants to integrate in Valencia, but not in Spain and thereby she shows a very narrow, perhaps separatist concept of Valencia, like some do in Scotland.
Because in Valencia there are two official languages, Spanish and Valenciano, who wants to understand Valencia, also deals with this fact and the resulting (better said, generated) conflicts, which decisively shape the Valencian culture.
The picture of the demonstration opposite gives a better insight into the culture of Valencia. The slogan on the banner says (in Valenciano): „We are Valencians! We are Spanish! No to the Catalan lands!“ The last demand refers to the fact that separatist Catalans understand (not only) the autonomous region of Valencia as Catalan, but also Valenciano as a Catalan dialect (which many Valencians see the other way around) and that separatists in the Catalan government are exerting massive and financial influence on the Catalanization of Valenciano.
One can certainly hear angry insults, which I do not want to reproduce here. But what does it really express? Not only foreign residents, but also many Valencians are angry at the language imposition, they hate the coercion to which their children are subjected in school, not the language itself.
The children have to learn the Valenciano language and many subjects are taught in this language, a language with which - let's be generous - they could converse with about 5 million Spaniards. But they could just as well talk to them in Spanish. If they could learn, say, French instead, they would have 321 million potential interlocutors.
But this is not all. Many textbooks are appropriately in Valenciano, so parents cannot control what is taught, nor can they help their children. A weighty disadvantage.
How enthusiastically will a Spanish federal official (police, military, etc.) judge the language imposition if, for example, he is transferred to the Basque Country and his children then have to learn there in Basque instead of Valenciano? I can well imagine that he too would swear at the language, although he means the language imposition. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you might also curse at the hammer, but basically you're just angry at yourself, not at the tool. In the end, language is also just a tool.
Just as everyone has the right to choose his tool, even more everyone should have the right to speak or learn in his language. No language is per se good or bad, lovable or hateful. Language imposition, not language is the problem!
The article, which sounds so nicely like integration instead of hate, points to the Compromìs party shortly before the elections on May 28. Who or what is behind this party? Their election program includes more than 1,000 demands. Who reads that? I have. Not surprisingly for me, I find in it for the most part the same demands as I find in the program of the German Greens.
But first, on the language issue: demand #1075 reads, „We will work to make Valenciano an official language of the European Union.“ Currently we list 24 official and working languages in the EU. An army of translators must be paid for this by Europe's taxpayers. Compromís apparently intends that Valenciano translators will now also be paid by the EU, who would probably do nothing but translate Spanish texts that every Valencian understands into Valenciano.
Just to clarify. I would not mind if the Valencian government employed translators into Valenciano from Valencian (and mine, too) tax money to edit EU documents, because this also serves to adapt Valenciano to modern developments. But why should the European taxpayer pay for this? Whoever orders the music should also pay for it.
But that is not the most important thing. Demand #140 reads, „We will ... work together to increase the percentage of instruction in Valenciano in all school center language programs.“ and Demand #144: „We will integrate Valenciano more into vocational training.“ In other words, the language imposition is to be intensified.
Two examples of where oppression and hatred triggered by language imposition can lead. In 1976, the then apartheid regime in South Africa imposed a language imposition for Afrikaans, which led to the bloody Soweto Uprising. Fortunately, this eventually led to the end of the regime. The language laws in Ukraine against minority languages such as Russian, Romanian and Hungarian are, if not the causes, then co-triggers of the war against the Donbass after the Maidan coup in 2014. At least 14,000 deaths were recorded by the UN on September 9, 2022, and NATO's war against Russia, launched in February of the same year, probably costs more than 100,000 dead Ukrainians, probably a similar number of dead Russians. I feel deep sorrow for fallen of both sides.
Language imposition, war and violence are children of the same parents. One could have learned in Spain at the latest with the Franco dictatorship, whose language imposition was Spanish instead of Valenciano. But separatists have apparently learned from it that one must turn the language imposition around! A theory reversal fitting to the green policy, which changed from „peace without weapons“ to the demand: „Only more weapons can create peace“.
Other parts of the Compromís program prove this green policy. But who notices this unless they are intensively involved in local politics? So you put special emphasis on feminism, LGTBIQ+ and related issues. I did not check intensively further on gendering, wokeism, cancel-culture, etc. Topics that contain speech bans and prohibitions, as they are inherent in any speech imposition.
Nevertheless, I would like to highlight the issue of climate change. and education, where claim #120 stands out: „We will create environmental education and awareness plans at all levels of education in the fight against climate change.“ I found no mention that climate change claims are highly controversial in the scientific community, and from there, schools should encourage discourse rather than adherence to a belief system. The latter is called indoctrination.
I try to avoid evaluating the program and will leave that to the reader.I am mainly concerned with language imposition and separatism in Spanish autonomous regions on this blog.
To this term, I as a probably wrong German in the not really Spanish Jávea only polemic and irony comes to mind. I prefer to leave that.
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