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Putting everything into the job ahead, doing it together and acting with a sense of state. All to protect the Catalan language. This was the unitary call made by the participants in the debate "Catalan, in danger? Catalan, into action!", held this Thursday by, with the participation of the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart ; the publisher of Viena Edicions, Blanca Pujals; the teacher and creator of the Canal Malaia, Arnau Rius; and the writer, editor and director of the Institut Ramon Llull between 2018 and 2021, Iolanda Batallé.

The panel discussion was held in the Sala Cotxeres of Barcelona's Palau Robert and was also streamed live on the website. Beforehand, the Catalan economy minister, Jaume Giró, greeted the speakers and organizers, taking advantage of the fact that he had an event on in the same space. Also present were personalities such as Junts MP Francesc Ten and former Barcelona mayor Xavier Trias.

Jaume Giró, Jordi Cuixart, José Antich, llegando al acto pel català al palau robert de - Sergi Alcàzar

Jordi Cuixart, Jaume Giró and José Antich / Sergi Alcàzar

Journalist Marta Lasalas opened the discussion, with an introductory speech that highlighted the latent alerts that are becoming audible in society, warning that the language is in danger, not only in classrooms and universities, but also in the audiovisual field, even the fact that the Spanish official gazette has stopped publishing its translation into Catalan, active since 1998. On the question of whether Catalan is in danger, the response of those taking part was unanimous: Catalan is being deliberately attacked, because those who attack it know that they are attacking the backbone of the collective consciousness, and one of Catalonia's key social consensuses.

Plano general de asistentes, público, acto pel català al palau robert de - Sergi Alcàzar

Attendees at the '' debate / Sergi Alcàzar

But how can we protect Catalan given all these attacks? The Òmnium Cultural president was clear: acting with a sense of state and working together with civil society and the administrations: "Today, the adversary is not only the Spanish state, but our inability to act with the sense of state that the situation demands."

He also regretted that the consensus reached earlier had been lost, in clear reference to the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), regretting that this party had abandoned its pro-Catalan tradition and would not join the fight for the Catalan language. And amidst the struggle to preserve Catalan in the audiovisual field, he was highly critical of the way this effort has been handled, a day after the announcement of the accord between ERC and the Spanish government on the new audiovisual law and the passing of the Spanish budget.

Jordi Cuixart, acto pel català al palau robert de - Sergi Alcàzar

Òmnium Cultural president Jordi Cuixart / Sergi Alcàzar

"Catalan politicians, put your shoulders to the wheel," he said, adding that without penalties or protective quotas in the audiovisual sector, the negotiations would be useless. And, in addition, he called on all Catalan political forces to take part in this negotiation: "If we don't take care, Catalan will disappear completely."

The other speakers echoed these sentiments, making a call to activate civil society and rethink strategies but also to pressure the administration. In her speech, Batallé stated it directly: the language will not be protected until Catalonia becomes a state. She also called for a rethinking of the strategy to defend the language in the face of the decline which it has undergone.

Iolanda Batallé acto pel català al palau robert de - Sergi Alcàzar

Iolanda Batallé / Sergi Alcazar

She highlighted that, as well as the attacks from without, Catalan suffers other problems within the country, such as the lack of appeal it holds among young people: "We have to make Catalan sexy because, for them, it isn't. They [young people] go to a lot of other places. That's why projects like the Canal Malaia are so important."

And precisely the creator of the Canal Malaia digital platform, Arnau Rius, took the floor to make proposals from his field, the audiovisual sphere. He stressed the need to recover a powerful youth channel, by investing heavily - "an ultra Super 3", he said in reference to the formerly successful children's channel on Catalan public television. He also made an appeal not to give up or be obsessed with the fact that the Spanish-speaking market "is more powerful and can generate more revenue."

He used a basketball analogy: "It is our responsibility to make a good ACB knowing that there is also an NBA. Sorry for the comparison, but the ACB is a league that generates a lot of revenue and works very well," he said, while also acknowledging the clear superiority of the American competition. And Rius added that this "league" should not only be supported by entities such as Òmnium, but should also attract private capital.

And from the publishing world, the input was from the editor of Viena Edicions, Blanca Pujals - in recent times known for the Petits Plaers collection of short, classic novels. She emphasized that recognizing that language immersion is not being applied is a first step in the fight for the survival of Catalan.


Jordi Cuixart y Blanca,  acto pel català al palau robert de - Sergi Alcàzar

Blanca Pujals / Sergi Alcàzar

As a publisher, she made a call to convince those Catalan-speaking readers who read in Castilian (Spanish) because they think that the translations are better. "If you live your life in Catalan, it doesn't make sense for your language of worship to be Castilian," she said, noting that people in Catalonia need to be get rid of some complexes.

Attacks on Catalan organized this panel discussion in response to the multiple attacks that the Catalan language has been suffering recently. Beyond the reports from organizations such as Plataforma per la Llengua warning about the decline in the use of Catalan, on November 23rd the alarms were reactivated with the Supreme Court ruling imposing 25% of Castilian in classrooms. As a result of this issue and the case of a family of a young student in the town of Canet de Mar who has been converted into a symbol of the issue across much of Spain, politicians have rolled up their sleeves and, unfortunately, have too often been making partisan use of the Catalan language. Other decisions that are also difficult to understood are the breaking of consensuses that have existed up till now, such as the move made by the PSC, a party with a pro-Catalan tradition on these issues, but which has now migrated towards the postulates of the Spanish right, attacking the four-decade-long language immersion policy.

All this raises doubts about language immersion, a model of educational success and integration in Catalonia. Following this first debate, is to hold another one next week, this time to discuss specifically the issue of Catalan in the field of education. A talk that will come after the demonstration called this Saturday by Som Escola, which is expected to be massive and unitary.


In the highlighted image, the '' debate on the Catalan language / Sergi Alcàzar