Linguistic discrimination cases have experienced a notable increase in the Autonomous Valencian Community (País Valencià), ruled by the right-wing Spanish party PP. Most of them have been perpetrated by forces belonging to the two Spanish police organisations: Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional. All of them have been performed against citizens who were just speaking their mother tongue, Catalan, which enjoys a legal co-official status and is recognized by the Estatut d’Autonomia (constitutional bylaw), as well as by the Spanish Constitution.
The worst part of this democratically anomalous situation is that neither political authorities nor judges ensure any protection against the abuses. The Valencian government (Generalitat valenciana), ruled by the PP, simply does not take any action to defend its own citizens, which is reflected in its policies against the Catalan Language at every level of administration: education, justice, public communications, TV and radio broadcasting….
Particularly worrying are the actions of the judiciary. They might be nicely summarized by the performance of the judge in the case of Carles-Mateu Blai, who argues that the only credible reason to speak to a policeman in Catalan is the desire to conceal a crime (in this case ‘being drunk’; which was not true).
I would like to point out that these attitudes, coming from the Police, the political authorities and the judges, leave us as citizens, in a state of helplessness, both legally and psychologically, and bereft of any democratic standards. Moreover, police actions have facilitated a new outburst of supremacist attitudes that have never been eradicated, after the Francoist regime had promoted and validated them with all the means at its disposal. These attitudes are a real threat to the democratic coexistence of all Valencian citizens, whatever language they speak.
We need legal protection against linguistic abuses. It is not conceivable that in 21st century European society you should be worried about teaching your own mother tongue to your children, just in case they get into trouble with the police forces, judges or authorities, and just because they speak one of the two the country’s official languages, and not the other one.
It’s not just that our current governments (Valencian and Spanish) are violating the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages or the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights; they are undermining the very basis of democracy and seriously damaging any possible trust in public institutions.
Recent cases of linguístic abuse in the Valencian Country ( partial list; 2013 only)
• El dolçainer del grup musical Obrint Pas detingut, amenaçat i agredit per haver parlat en català a dos policies nacionals a València: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4109561/20130427/policia-miquel-girones-obrintpas-em-parles-espanyol-collons.html
• Un professor de la Universitat Jaume I de Castelló dedica les hores docents a demostrar la inutilitat del valencià: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4099387/20130327/adoctrinament-espanyolistaprofessor-universitat-jaume-castello-acabar.html
• Un ciutadà presenta una queixa perquè un agent espanyol li va exigir que li parlés en castellà: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4143605/20130913/lassociacio-tempir-denuncia-cas-discriminacio-linguistica-elx-adrecar-policia-catala.html
• Funcionari de l’Olleria: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4139957/20130822/josep-vidal-vaig-patir-tracte-vexatori-haver-parlat-valencia.html
• Arenal Sound: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4137456/20130803/larenal-sound-borriana-em-parles-espanyol-aqui-entres.html
• Condemna de Carles Mateu: http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticia/4145175/20130921/condemnat-preso-conductor-negar-parlar-espanyol.html
• Cultura de l’abús (article): http://www.vilaweb.cat/mailobert/4145975/cultura-labus.html