The socialist deputy for Lugo José Ramón Besteiro has been, with his Galician, the first to launch the permitted use of co-official languages in the Congress of Deputies in the plenary session that debates this Tuesday the reform of the regulations to allow them, something that they have done also the spokespersons for the plurinational group-Sumar, Marta Lois, from Esquerra, Gabriel Rufián, from EH Bildu, Mertxe Aizpurua, the PNV, Joseba Agirretxea, Mírian Nogueras, from Junts, Néstor Rego, from the BNG, and even Borja Sémper, from the PP , which has been translated itself.
In Galician, Besteiro has demanded the reform to "make this Parliament more similar to the country it represents" and has considered that "it is not something isolated but is part of a broader recognition as shown by the Government's proposal to incorporate our co-official languages as working languages in EU bodies". Besteiro recalled that "linguistic diversity is normalized in parliamentary practice in countries like Belgium, Canada or Switzerland. "Do not look for excuses, it is possible and it is constitutional and whoever opposes this is for no other reason than to oppose that in the Congerso speak the languages that citizens speak every day," he reminded the right-wing parties that oppose the reform.
Marta Lois, from the plurinational group Sumar, has begun her defense of the proposition by quoting in Galician the celebrated speech of one of the fathers of Galicianism, Daniel Castelao, in Congress in 1931. "Our Galician language should deserve all your sympathy, because It is the language of the worker, the worker, the artisan, the farmer, the sailor; it was the language of vassals and magnates. The resurrection of our language in the 19th century was a revival of democracy, and the Galician poets were the creators of the civil breath of my land. We are not separatists, because if separatism comes from separating, a separatist will be whoever does not want Galician to also be a Spanish language. Dear deputies: if you approve this amendment, or any other that means respect for our language "The whole of Galicia will thank you."
The first to use Catalan was the ERC spokesperson, Gabriel Rufián, who defended the proposal entirely in this language. However, he began with a barb in Spanish: "You see how it is not so bad to speak other languages; we are breaking to the right," he said, alluding to Vox's departure from the chamber.
"I will speak in Catalan today first because I can thanks to the Catalan school, second because it is the language of my country, third because it is a language that I love so much that I chose it to speak with the person I love most in this world, which is my son "Fourth because many of you have turned speaking other languages into a revolutionary act and fifth because we have reached a historic agreement to make this possible," began the Republican deputy, who has claimed to be "proud son and grandson of Andalusians." .
Rufián has dedicated a good part of his speech to reproaching the attitude of the right, presenting it as "absurd." "Some of you are speakers of a single official language telling speakers of two official languages that the problem is us." "Many of your interpretations, criticisms and opinions are literally an ode to ignorance," snapped the Republican, who has addressed his lordships "from the Spanish right and extreme right and some from the left" to tell them that "they don't even deserve Catalonia." nor to Euskadi".
Rufián has raised the problem of linguistic globalization as more pressing for Spanish than the co-official languages. "It is quite likely that you speak Catalan, Aranese, Basque or Galician while having a meeting in the coworking room looking at brand-new outfits after work," the deputy said ironically.
"The rights of some are not being violated, the rights of all are being recognised," defended Rufián, for whom "neither Spanish is persecuted nor threatened in Catalonia nor is Catalan the exclusive heritage of the independence movement, it belongs to everyone and the Catalans." In his opinion, what is happening today is a "success for my party and also for my country", but Rufián has refused to accept that "this is a victory because I refuse, as a citizen and an independentist, that my language and my culture need losers, I refuse." "There are no losers here, at most there are ignorant people," he concluded.
The spokesperson for EH Bildu, Mertxe Aizpurua, was the first to speak in Basque in the Congress of Deputies. He has done so in a speech in which he has interspersed Basque and Spanish, and making it clear that, from his perspective, the change staged in the Lower House is a “symbolic, but important” step that, however, “should not lead to forget that the right to live in Basque is denied today to thousands and thousands of people.”
In this section, Aizpurua has denounced the decisions of the Spanish Justice against Basque town councils that operate entirely in Basque; the “absurd discrimination” that is maintained in Navarra with respect to the Basque language (in reference to linguistic zoning); or the “systematic denial” of the Basque language in Iparralde, the French Basque Country. The spokesperson for EH Bildu has also denounced the marginalization of Basque in the institutions dependent on the central Administration in Euskadi and Navarra.
In this sense, he has summarized that "what Basque speakers, the majority of Basque society, the social initiative around the Basque language and the political and union majorities want is to be able to live in Basque in Euskal Herria." “Plurinationality cannot be understood as acts loaded with symbolism, but lacking effectiveness. We see symbolic steps and hear words about the importance and richness of our language, but the facts go in the opposite direction,” he added.
The nationalist representative also dedicated part of her speech to referring to the social history of the language, denouncing “decades of persecution and attacks on Basque.” “In their desire to assimilate the Basques, in their obsession with standardizing this State and its societies, they have been and are even capable of trying to make one language disappear by imposing another,” she indicated.
The PNV, for its part, has chosen its deputy Joseba Agirretxea to launch the new formula that will try to guarantee linguistic coexistence in the Congress of Deputies. A native of Ondarroa, a purely Basque-speaking town and a graduate in Basque Philology, the Jeltzale deputy has defended that the use of co-official languages in the Lower House “would not have been possible” if it had not been for his “predecessors.” “They gave everything in favor of the Basque language, Basque culture, Basque identity, freedom and democratic values,” he indicated.
In this sense, Agirretxea's speech has also been loaded with memory in relation to the historical struggle in defense of the Basque language, censuring the "persecution that it has suffered for decades." Deputy Jeltzale has also criticized that even “in the offices dependent on the central Administration” Basque is marginalized.
Finally, Agirretxea has defended that the use of simultaneous translation “does not harm anyone” and has questioned those who oppose the measure, since “the shadow of the empire cannot be removed and they do not know how to live in diversity.”
Faced with these positions, there has been a third speech in Congress that has partially used Basque, although at the same time questioning the change in the regulations in Congress to favor the use of co-official languages. The popular Borja Sémper has surprised by expressing himself partially in Basque and pointing out that "living in a Spain with several languages is fortunate"; however, he has questioned whether the measure is due to a defense of co-official languages.
"Sánchez needs the votes of the independentists, that's why we are here and we all know that," he said. Sémper expressed himself in Basque through brief references, two or three sentences that he immediately translated into Spanish, which has caused some funny situation regarding simultaneous interpretation.
In any case, they have made it clear that they are not opposed to a symbolic use of co-official languages, such as the one they have done, and they have wanted to show a very different position from that of Vox. “I live surrounded by Basque. My children live in Basque and their cultural and leisure references are in several languages. The president of my party speaks Galician,” he noted.
In response, the spokesperson for Junts, Míriam Nogueras, has vindicated the role of her political party. "Junts' distrust towards the Spanish parties has led us to unblock in a few weeks what seemed impossible. That is the way," he assured, adding that the formula that has given stability to many governments in Spain "will no longer return if it depends of Together".