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Le Españolidad

     The parts of universities with which I am familiar are a mess. Area studies represented a serious attempt to bridge the gap between language and social science departments. They would have succeeded but for the opposition of departments, conspicuously the then powerful history departments, and the indifference of the language departments. Now most language departments have become intellectually second-rate, while the absence of adequate language input is evident in international relations programs. Even at Stanford this is true. The regular fellows of the Hoover Institution, now dominated by economists, do not include a single person with a background in languages, and the situation is almost the same in the Institute for International Studies.
     Yet language, and especially lexicography, are key parts of international relations. The Spanish word la españolidad, discussed in a previous posting, is a case in point. It suddenly popped up as a replacement for Franco's la hispanidad. Now campaign speeches by Prime Minister José María Aznar in Ceuta and Melilla, Spanish enclaves in Morocco, have clarified the situation. The future of the enclaves is unclear because Morocco views them as Spain views Gibraltar, as historical injustices. Aznar's theme was that Spain would defend la españolidad in Ceuta, Melilla, the Canary Islands, the Basque provinces, and Catalonia. It is significant that he chose to speak in Morocco, whence Franco launched his "crusade".
     Franco was not an eloquent speaker, while Aznar, an excellent albeit sober one, chooses his words carefully. Avoiding bravado, he was stating his government's determination to use force if necessary to preserve the unity of Spain. He said this against a background of heightened ETA terrorism. The Basque provinces remember what Franco did to them. Spaniards are sensitive to the meaning of words, and we may assume that the Basques got the point. The have long argued that the Aznar government is the Franco regime in a new disguise. It is that government, not the opposition parties, which has chosen to promote la españolidad. Shades of the Civil War! As is often the case, we do not know what is really going on in the areas Aznar listed, but trouble-makers have been warned. Returning to the introductory theme: what's in a word? More than most of our international relations specialists know.

Ronald Hilton - 1/8/00