Barcelona, Catalonia: A View from the Inside

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True story...

In June this year, I went to see Argelers de la Marenda, the 'Hotel in the Sand' where my Great-Grandfather, Great-Grandmother, Grandmother and Great Uncles spent nearly two years of their lives after fleeing Franco's vision of the Iberian Peninsula - they fled from Fraga and were incorrectly branded communists on the official documents.

There were not one, but TWO park benches on the Argelers beach front with the word 'POLAK' in black graffiti on them. This word is aimed at Catalans to remind them they are considered second class citizens, yet not only is it inaccurate, it insults two different nationalities at the same time where one is considered as gold-digging immigrants in their own country.

There are two sides to every story, the Spanish side, and the French side, with Catalans caught in the crossfire.

When a father hits a mother, the son might believe this is okay and do the same, likewise if a people have their language suppressed for centuries (ref. Nueva Planta etc...), is it any surprise when they perhaps, overdo it when it comes to utilisation later on?

I really like the latest attempts by La Falange to create unity, by pepper spraying Catalans on their national day and injuring 4 year old girls. Nothing says "Come, sit by my fire" like a free chemical facewash and a Nazi flag.

LOC more than 2 years ago

Two sides to every story

Yes, Mr. Tree should certainly take a deeper look. The conflict goes both ways. I´ve been shunned and spoken to in a rude manner by more than one Catalan when speaking Spanish in the Barcelona area. I don´t like it, but I get it and I´m certainly willing to see both sides of the situation and work on my Catalan language skills.

Most articles written by Mr. Tree tend to have a stern off-putting tone. This will certainly be the last one I bother to read, because at this point they all seem the same.

Marie Jones more than 5 years ago

English-Speaking Children's Parents' Association

On the subject of language and schooling, I thought it might interest Mr. Tree and Ms. White to know that a group of parents is working to get enriched English classes for children whose English is native or nearly native. For more information, go to, where you'll also find a list of prominent Catalan scientists and scholars abroad who have endorsed our efforts to have the special needs of English-speaking children attending Catalan schools recognised.

John Stone more than 5 years ago

Take a deeper look

Mr. Tree,
Have you ever thought of looking at the other side? Even just for a second? I want my children to learn and speak Spanish because I consider it a VERY important language. The Catalan schools have practically eliminated it from the curriculum. There are very few schools that will teach children for more than 2 hours a week in Spanish. The ones that do are private and expensive. Not to mention the fact that I won't let my children out of the house in their Real Madrid uniforms because we might be called fascists. Mr. Tree, I think you need to look deeper into the problem. It's more complex than you think.

Diana White more than 5 years ago

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