One way to attack Catalonia has always been to go against the language. This has been done in all political circumstances for many centuries: under monarchies, dictatorships, republics and democracy. I remember that at the beginning of Spain's so-called political transition, Adolfo Suárez, a skilled but uncultivated prime minister, declared in August 1976 to the French magazine Paris-Match, about the possibility of high school diplomas being taught in the Catalan language: "Firstly you have to find teachers who can teach nuclear chemistry in Catalan. Let's get serious." It was just at the emergence from the long tunnel of Francoism and this was the arrogant position of the Spanish government.
Let this example, just one more drop in an ocean full of similar cases, be used to take a look at what attitudes towards Catalan have been. Contempt at times, attacks and criticism at others. Always with the aim of reducing the role of the Catalan language in education and also in society. This week we had two very different examples, but which are basically nothing more than this haughty, arrogant and overbearing attitude towards everything that gives primacy to this country's own language.
The MEP for the People's Party (PP) Dolors Montserrat, who heads this Spanish conservative group in the European Parliament, tried to turn an EU chamber committee she presided over into an anti-Catalan circus. Thus, the committee of Petitions gave free rein to the reactionary right and to the association Assembly for a Bilingual School to serve as a loudspeaker against Catalan linguistic immersion: a model that was analyzed by a committee so ideologically broad that three members were appointed by the PP and one by Vox. It is a preliminary step to the mission of the European Parliament that will be sent to Catalonia in the second semester of the year and that will evaluate the situation of Spanish in the classrooms.
The second example was the video that was widely circulated on TikTok of a nurse from Cádiz explaining that she did not plan to get her C1 proficiency level certificate in Catalan to apply for civil service positions in Catalonia. The video, in which she referred to the C1 as "the fucking C1", went viral, and the tone was full of contempt. The Catalan government has announced that it will open a case against her, she has closed her social media account and her attitude has found, as almost always, broad support in Madrid - in the media and in the extreme right with its radial links to Catalonia. Dolors Montserrat and the nurse pursue the same thing: to turn Catalan into a second-class language. Why attend people in their own language if you can do so in Spanish? This intolerance is not new, but it must be responded to. People must not look the other way.