Soccer Giants Defend Catalan

    After Spain’s education minister stated that he was drafting a proposal to make the teaching of Castilian Spanish obligatory in schools throughout the country, the world-famous FC Barcelona soccer team has defended the use of the Catalan language and how it is being taught in the region.
    “Our language, like our team, is an element of integration which permits us to identify with our country (Catalonia),” said an FC Barcelona spokesperson. It “energetically asserts its right to use the Catalan language and the model of language immersion that has been in force in Catalonia over the last 34 years.”
    Currently, there are separate Spanish classes in Catalonia’s state schools, but they are not obligatory.
    The statement comes in response to separatist demonstrations in Catalonia, where many believe the region will do better if it breaks away from Spain and becomes an independent nation within the European Union.
    That idea was put to the test in Catalonia’s regional parliamentary elections on Nov 25 in which the central issue was whether to hold a referendum on separating from Spain. Pro-referendum voters obtained a majority of seats in the legislature.
    The proposed referendum has caused tensions with the central government which argues that Spain’s regions cannot hold individual referendums because that would be unconstitutional.
    The dispute grew more heated when Spain’s Minister for Education, Culture, and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert, said he was drafting a proposal that would ensure that Castilian was taught in schools throughout the country.
    Catalonia’s regional education chief, Irene Rigau, stormed out of a meeting in Madrid saying his proposal was unacceptable.
    Barcelona soccer team Captain Carles Puyol has now tweeted hashtag keywords critical of Wert. The Barcelona football team, whose motto is “more than a club,” is seen as a bastion of Catalan identity dating back to Spain’s 1936-39 civil war and the subsequent military dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.

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