Franco’s Catalans

There’s so much dreadful journalism in Catalonia that it’s a great relief to read Xavier Rius, head hontxo over at Here’s a slightly abridged version of a piece by him:

Of all the initiatives presented by ERC [the Catalan separatists] to obtain forgiveness for the sin of having formed a pact with the PSC [the Catalan socialist party] the most surreal is its urging the Spanish government to make “a public request for pardon” for the execution of Lluís Companys [president of the Catalan regional government during the war, shot for treason by the nationalists in 1940 following a perfunctory trial]. As if Mr José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – one of whose grandfathers they also shot – had something to do with what happened to the so-called martyr president…

There are those who still think the war in 36 was a confrontation between Catalans and Spanish. Maybe it’s time to bury the myth of Spain against Catalonia or even that of fascism against Catalonia. When all’s said and done, el Tercio de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat [a Carlist regiment in Franco’s army that was devastated in the battle of Codo-Belchite, SE of Zaragoza, but subsequently played an important role in the battle of the Ebro] was full of Catalans. Franquista Catalans, but Catalans. And that’s not to forget the Catalans who either died at hands of the lawless [els incontrolats], the FAI [Federación Anarquista Ibérica] or the SIM [Servicio de Información Militar, the republic’s secret police], because there were also killings on the republican side.

Ignasi Riera, in a delightful book from the late 90s, has already reviewed Franco’s most illustrious Catalans, one of whom [Juan Antonio Samaranch], by the way, later became president of the International Olympic Committee and La Caixa [the Catalan regional savings bank] and contributed substantially to blocking the creation of a Catalan Olympic Committee. Despite this, [in April Rafel] Niubó [Catalan secretary of sport] wanted to name him “ambassador” for Catalan sport [Samaranch denied he’d been approached]. That’s the stuff.

(While we’re dealing with politically motivated censorship, there’s a report in this month’s Barcelona Business that the Opus Dei-owned Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (actually a vocational high school for those with more pence than sense) has sacked Rius from the staff of its journalism school for publishing an innocuous story about another local Catholic pay-per-pew institute, Abat Oliba.)

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