Originally published in Spanish: “Mi padre colonizador”. Antonio López Fernández. El País
11th June 2018
I read the opinions of the Catalan regional minister for culture with astonishment. She states that Spanish is a language of imposition in Catalonia, a consequence of Francoism that used immigration to colonize Catalonia with the Spanish language. These remarks reminded me of the time, in 1953, when my father in his Murcia town, decided to become a colonist. Naturally, that was a decision fostered by Francoism, not by need and misery. He arrived at the Barcelona train station. In sync, tens of Andalusians got off the train gazing in awe at the structure of the station and clumsily searching for an exit. They were immediately arrested by secret police, who sent them to the Montjuic castle. I remember my father recounting that story to a Moroccan teenager in the eighties. My father kept on colonizing during the following decades. He was a member of a clandestine left-wing party, helped in establishing a labor union (CCOO) in Catalonia and in the creation of the Catalonian Assembly. Eusebio Barrios, a comrade of his and colonist from Zamora, was arrested and tortured for disseminating Assembly propaganda. Eusebio, my father and other colonists will never be part of that official and parallel history now being written. They believed that one has a duty to defend the land that allows you to live with dignity. That land was Catalonia for them, and for it they fought. In this post-truth world that fight is called colonization.