Tag Archives: Viva España

News from Spain

Quite a big split has taken place in the right-wing Partido Popular, with the more Catholic conservative side (Aznar, Rajoy, Aguirre and Acebes) now claiming victory over the more centrist elements (Gallardon & Piqué). This is good news for the PSOE as a right-wing shift in the PP might convince potential non-voters to come out and back the centre-left. John at Iberian Notes (in between a couple of misogynistic and racist remarks) reckons that it would still be better for Spain if Rajoy won, if only to prevent Zapatero from having two terms. Now that’s what I call party loyalty. Mariano Rajoy is a politician who somehow manages to make Zapatero look statesmanlike, confident and wise. Actually, I wouldn’t vote for either candidate but on balance, Zapatero hasn’t had that bad a time in office.

The national anthem lyrics which I mentioned the other day, after being firmly rejected by the Spanish public, have finally been withdrawn by the Spanish Olympic Committee. They were, as you can see, awful lyrics. But it seems that the ‘Viva España!’ rallying call (which features twice in the proposed song sheet) was what upset the most people. ‘Viva España!’ is a phrase which for most people still evokes Franco’s fascist regime – the old coot used to say it every other breath. Tourists – this may be why people stared at you and muttered under their breath when you tried to express how much you love Spain.

Actually, this opens up an interesting debate about Spanish nationalism in general. At some point in the future, it’ll become more possible to shout ‘Viva España!’ and not be called a fascist. But for the moment, expressions of nationalist or patriotic pride always seem to hark back to the dictatorship. You would think that the chap who wrote the proposed lyrics for the national anthem, would have known the import of including a couple of ‘Viva España!’s… but I doubt that he realised he was saying anything that could cause anyone offence. An unemployed man from La Mancha (‘Castilla la Nueva’), I suspect he is in fact pretty cut off from public opinion in the big towns.

My wife has quite a lot of family in Ciudad Real province and while the older generations are lovely, warm and sensible country people, the cousins who are our age, are spectacularly badly informed, racist and nationalist. They even took part in that pathetic anti-Catalan boycott a few years back (and had the temerity to invite Gemma, who lives in Catalonia and is Catalan, to take part). Actually, one of them also intended to have a medieval-themed wedding at which all the guests would have to dress up in silly costumes. I found this even more offensive than the stupid boycott.

Spanish national anthem gets some lyrics

For a long time, Spain’s national anthem has been without words. The original set of lyrics, deemed excessively militaristic and overshadowed by General Franco’s fascist dictatorship, were laid to rest more than 30 years ago. Since then, the anthem has been hummed or laahed, which is what drove the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE – no relation to Seb, so far as I know) to launch the contest for new lyrics.

Apparently, the new words have caused some consternation… partly because the first line is ‘Viva España!’, not a phrase which goes down well with a significant proportion of the population.

I’m planning to obtain Spanish nationality sometime soon and I’m now worried that I’ll have to learn the new words. I can’t help but remember the schoolyard version I’ve heard sung by many Spanish and Catalan twenty-somethings:

“Franco, / Franco, / que tiene el culo blanco, / porque su mujer / lo lava con Ariel” – I hope I don’t lose points for singing that version. I’d rather they left it without lyrics – I always thought there was rather more nobility and style to standing still and quiet than to reciting some dull hymn. That said, Els Segadors (Catalonia’s national anthem) is replete with incitement to violent uprising and is actually rather stirring.

Anyway, there’s a video on El País which gauges Madrileño opinion to the new words.

Update: Here are the lyrics in English (nicked from the Guardian, so they may not be 100% kosher)

Long live Spain!
We sing together
With different voices
And only one heart

Long live Spain!
From the green valleys
To the immense sea
A hymn of brotherhood

Love the Fatherland
Which knows how to embrace
Below the blue sky
People in freedom

Glory to the sons
Who have given to history
Justice and greatness
Democracy and peace

By the way, a lot of people seem to come to this page looking for the lyrics to the Barça anthem… so here they are:

Tot el camp, és un clam
som la gent blaugrana, Tant se val d’on venim
si del sud o del nord
ara estem d’acord, ara estem d’acord,
una bandera ens agermana.
Blaugrana al vent, un crit valent
tenim un nom, el sap tothom:
Barça , Barça, Barça!
Jugadors, seguidors, tots units fem força.
Son molt anys plens d’afanys,
son molts gols que hem cridat
i s’ha demostrat, i s’ha demostrat,
que mai ningu no ens podrà torcer
Blau-grana al vent, un crit valent
tenim un nom, el sap tothom
Barça, Barça, Barça!