What's in a name?
My Basque friend Amaya has a thing or two about the Catalan rewrite of history - not least because of the Catalan art museum. Founded in 1901 as a monument to the glory of the Catalan people, the museum is a splendid piece of architecture, filled with magnificent paintings and sculptures, as well as this monumental organ, which, according to the panel, was inaugurated in 1929 by Herr. Professor Sittard, and was one of the largest organs in the world at that time.
It wasn't actually the organ that pissed off Amaya, but the whole building. Not only does the building date back to much before the rise of the Catalan independence movement, it was also the site of a much earlier Jewish settlement (for Mont Juïc, read Mont Juif) and was indeed a settlement for the diaspora from the early middle ages on.
"They do it all the time, said Amaya. "They rewrite history to satisfy their own nationalistic ideas."
The worst thing is that they teach it in schools. And as a victim of such historical rewriting -- at no time in school did I ever learn about the British massacres of the Indian, Australian, North American, African, etc. etc. settlements -- I can see how it is an issue that has some merit.
Surely, in 2019, we are capable of facing up to the truth about what our ancestors did? I mean, it is not as if we were responsible for doing it - and if we hide from the truth, we are perpetuating the shame.
Every country has done it, every people. But unless we own up, we are going to repeat it ad infinitum. And that would be, as Amaya so eloquently said, "complete bullshit."
Other than that, we had a fantastic time - and even the bus rides from Castelldelfels to Plaça España were fun. Long walks, followed by a mid-afternoon feast in a small tapas place, where Mrs Ottawacker ate elbow of pork, I had the lamb, and Ottawacker Jr ate a sandwich the size of his head. Washed down with wine and ice-cold beer. For five of us having a four-course meal with wine and coffee, it cost around $90 CDN. In other words, the price of a small dinner for two in a crappy Ottawa restaurant.