Some people have no sense of irony. The Assembly for a Bilingual School (AEB), the main pressure group working to enforce the court-imposed ruling of a 25% Spanish language quota in Catalan schools, is a candidate for one of Spain's prestigious Princess of Asturias awards. Not only that, but the particular prize the association is in consideration for is the one which honours Concord. All this, thanks to the work of the crème of Spanish unionism: Isabel Díaz Ayuso and Inés Arrimadas are just two of the names that have given their support to this candidacy, and it was the MP Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo who initiated it. The Princess of Asturias Awards, named after the heir to the Spanish throne who presents them, are usually awarded at a ceremony in October.
Thus, the nominee is one of the associations that joined with S'ha Acabat ("It's finished"), Catalan Civil Society and Impulso Ciudadano in order to jointly demand that the High Court of Catalonia apply the ruling for 25% Spanish language in Catalan classrooms in January. And, more recently, the Assembly for a Bilingual School also announced its intention to go to court to demand that the sentence be enforced once the current two-month period of grace ends and the four-decade-old Catalan language immersion policy can be legally sliced open.
"A victory for concord"
The AEB was created in 2013 with a stated aim of achieving "ideological neutrality" in Catalan schools. In practice, this has meant taking aim at the language immersion policy in order to make teaching in Spanish possible. In fact, the press release by the organizers of the awards candidacy also highlights the important role that the association played in achieving the 25% Spanish sentence, which they celebrate because "it puts an end to decades of imposition of Catalan". "It is a victory for concord over sectarianism, impunity and exclusion." The communiqué continues with its praise for the Assembly, highlighting its "patient, persevering, peaceful and heroic battle", and its "example of courage and mobilization". "The AEB has had to deal with nationalist harassment [sic] almost alone. It constitutes the hope of a Catalonia reconciled through concord and a Spain without gaps in its democracy."
The crème of Spanish nationalism
At the head of the campaign to give the prestigious award to the association is the People's Party (PP) deputy Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, and others endorsing the nomination are the PP president in the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and the leader of Ciudadanos (Cs), Inés Arrimadas. As well, is one of the Cs founders, Albert Boadella, former Cs deputy Toni Cantó, and Cs European representative Maite Pagazaurtundúa. There are also writers and philosophers such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Xavier Pericay and Félix de Azúa. But the names are not limited to the traditional right: there are also former Socialist government ministers, such as Alfonso Guerra and César Antonio Molina. And even the Spanish Communist Party historian, Ramón Tamames. Spanish unionism clearly goes beyond political colours.
Una candidatura más que merecida y que es todo un honor apoyar. Gracias a @AEBCatalunya por su ejemplo y trabajo en defensa de la igualdad, la libertad y los derechos de los catalanes. https://t.co/b09WWpLaoi— Inés Arrimadas (@InesArrimadas) March 29, 2022