In the midst of the debate over the rulings by the Catalan High Court (TSJC) on the use of the Catalan language in schools, the president of the pro-Spanish union group Catalan Civic Coexistence (CCC), Ángel Escolano, has set a new controversy alight on social media. Escolano, a well-known activist for Spanish nationalism who leads one of the main organizations that object to all things Catalan, has compared the Catalan language to slippers that you only put on inside. “We Catalans,” he wrote, “must begin to accept that the Catalan language is like wearing slippers. They are very endearing and attractive, but are only useful for wearing around the house.” According to this unionist spokesman, “to do things outside, we are lucky to have Spanish, which are authentic quality shoes with which you can succeed”.
Criticism of the tweet by the CCC president was not long in coming and the responses to Escolano’s message multiplied. Among these, that by the writer Àlex Susanna: “How can you say something like this? Catalan is taught in 150 universities around the world, more than 100 works of Catalan literature are translated every year“. Likewise, the writer points out, even if Catalan “didn’t have so much prominence, it would continue to be a valuable and unique instrument, like all languages (Steiner dixit)”.
The legendary Catalan singer Gerard Quintana also leapt into the controversy. In a tweet, the former leader of Sopa de Cabra addresses Escolano: “You haven’t travelled much, have you? Go to Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania… And you’ll see what your talking shoes are good for.”
Catalan Civic Coexistence (“Convivencia Cívica Catalana”) is precisely one of the organizations most active in the campaign against the 30-year-old policy of Catalan language immersion in schools, in alliance with other organizations in the unionist orbit such as Let’s Speak Spanish (“Hablamos Español”) and Assembly for a Bilingual School (“Asamblea por una Escuela Bilingüe”). These three groups presented a case in 2022 in order to enforce the controversial TSJC court decision imposing a quota of 25% Spanish in Catalan schools, which triggered a political storm, with the Catalan Parliament and government finally responding through legislative reform, which initially had the agreement of all the pro-independence parties as well as the Catalan Socialists and the left-wing Comuns. The unionist groups are fighting to force the Catalan government to introduce Spanish as a vehicular language in Catalan schools.
Produced in association with El Nacional En
(Additional reporting provided by El Nacional En)
Edited by Suparba Sil