Back to Index

SPAIN: Languages and Murder

Lluis Bosch of Barcelona is an angry defender of minority languages. He says I do not understand the problem because I speak English. I would feel the way he does if English were pushed aside by Hindi or Chinese. True, but I am not un uncompromising defender of English. I want a language which is as clear as is possible, and in some ways Castilian has advantages in this regard. People must be able to write and speak a major langauge clearly. Lluis favors the use of American Indian languages, but that would lead to the balkanization of Latin America and of many Latin American countries in an age characterized by worldwide communications. People educated in an Amerindian language would lose out in the modern world, and their condition would not improve.

Lluis says "Your story about a boy being stabbed in Zaragoza 'forsaying something like Viva España!' is amazing. There must be some kind of black hole in the media system in Spain, as nothing of the sort has reached Barcelona. I would very much like to know where your information comes from, to be able to recover it." I picked it up from Spanish TV, retransmitted by SCOLA. As I pointed out in a later posting, it came just before the killing of PP leader Manuel Giménez Abad. There is an angle here which has not been mentioned. Giménez Abad was from Jaca, where his conservative family had founded a newspaper. Manuel was buried there. Jaca is in northwestern Aragon. The boundaries of Basque territory are complez. Not far from Jaca there is an area in the Sierra de Peña which belongs to Navarre. it is not impossible that the murder was connected with that boundary dispute. I have seen no study of this whole problem of the boundaries of Basque territory.

Lluis continues: "Anyway, it would be the first of such episodes since the Civil War that I have ever heard of -a person being stabbed for saying 'Viva España!'. The opposite, by the way, is very usual. Neonazi skinhead gangs have so far murdered over a dozen people in Spain, precisely because they refused to say 'Viva España!' or sing the 'Cara al Sol (the fascist hymn), or simply because they were emigrés (dark-skinned poor emigrés, it is understood -fair skinned rich emigrés are not called so by right-wingers, but 'residents'), homosexuals or had long hair and were 'in the wrong place in the wrong moment' ". Now there is a black hole in my information. I am well aware of the attacks by skinheads, althought I would not describe them as "very usual", Of course I condemn them. They are Neonazis, but I had not heard of them demanding that their victims sing the fascist hymn of Franco times. Do young Spaniards know it?

Ronald Hilton - 5/8/01