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7 de juny 2018

"The Language of the Beasts" by Quim Torra, translated by "Rooth"

I hope "Rooth" doesn't mind my reproducing here text here. My only small comments on a very good translation are that (a) the best title would be closer to "Language and the Beasts" and (b) the "Casal Català de Zuric" might better be translated as "The Catalans' Club, Zurich" rather than "homestead".

***** If need be, click below on "Més informació" to read the whole article *****

What do you think Rooth?


The Language of the Beasts
By Quim Torra

At my parents’ home, we used to have an old copy of a book that all of the siblings had read: From the Times When Beasts Could Talk, by Manuel Folch i Torres. Dad was inflexible, and similar to The Rose and the Ring by Thackeray, and Bolavà by Josep Maria Folch i Torres, he believed nobody could grow up without having read them. It was a delightful book, where owls, bears, elephants, deer and bumblebees talked, a compilation of fables destined to educate children.
Now, I look at my country, and I still see beasts talking. But they are a different kind of beast. They are scavengers, vipers and hyenas. Beasts in human shape, that feast in hate. A disturbed hate, nauseating, like a moldy denture, that stands against everything that a language represents.
They are here, amongst us. They feel repulsion towards anything Catalan. It’s a sick phobia. There’s something Freudian in these beasts. A small hiccup in their DNA chain. Poor souls. They live in a country in which everything is unknown to them: the culture, traditions, and history. They roam without permeating any event that may remind them of the Catalan fact. Exposure would cause eczema. They bounce back anything that's not Spanish, or in Castilian.
They have first and last names, those beasts. We all know someone. They are abundant, those beasts. They live, die, and multiply. One of them was at the center of an incident that hasn't echoed in Catalonia yet, and it deserves to be told, as an extraordinary example of the lack of refinement of these beasts. I pity those beasts, they can't amount to more.
One of the few airlines that have accepted with ease the use of the Catalan language is Swiss Air. If you have taken any of their flights to the old Confederation, you will be able to attest to the fact that they have been using the Catalan language in their in-flight Communications. This is quite an exception, since the rest of airlines treat our culture as if we were the last colony in Europe.
A couple of weeks ago, there was one of those beasts in one of those Swiss Air flights. When we arrived to our destination, an announcement came up in Catalan with the usual observations prior to landing. The Beast spewed automatically its rabid drool. A strong whiff of sewer emanated from its seat. It fussed restless, desperate, and horrified after having been forced to hear four words in Catalan. He didn’t have an escape. A slimy sweat, almost flu-like seeping from his armpits. You have to picture this pitiful beast, after all these years! Those beasts who could live in their Spanish world undisturbed, having to listen to four words in a language that they hate. Indignant, the beast decided to write a letter to a German newspaper in Zurich, complaining about the treatment he received because “his rights were violated”, and because Castilian was the “first official language of Spain”. This beast’s complaint was published full page.
Thank God, my good friends from the Catalan “casal” or homestead of Zurich responded, and clarified the situation (all these embassies and Consulates of the Sea, and it came down to a small Catalan Casal that mobilized thanks to the decency and dignity of its members).
But why must we mobilize every single time? When will the beasts’ attacks end? How can we in 2008 tolerate so much vexation, humiliation and scorn?

Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rXl-2vQKkj65dPKx5of3ENewTMW3vYdM/view

Original (reproduced in El Món, 19/12/2012): "La llengua i les bèsties" http://elmon.cat/opinio/5052/la-llengua-i-les-besties

Traducción del original al español (autor: rgv): La lengua y las bestias (TRADUCCION DEL CATALAN) por Quim Torras Actual Presidente de la Generalitat. http://lasteles.com/la-lengua-y-las-bestias-traduccion-del-catalan-por-quim-torras-actual-presidente-de-la-generalitat

Others have pointed out the absurdity of the accusations of "supremacism" or "xenophobia" levelled against the current, and temporary, president of Catalonia are. e.g. Natalia Ruiz responds to opposition leader Inés Arrimadas here: http://www.lavanguardia.com/participacion/cartas/20180517/443629329105/la-llengua-i-les-besties.html

The original Swiss Air complaint:

  • 17 de desembre de 2008
"Swiss Air retira el català dels seus vols per pressions d'un afiliat del partit de Rosa Díez"

  • 24 febrer 2009
"Swiss Air bandeja el català per "evitar molèsties als usuaris"

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