Culture, the heart of the Galician nation

Written by Suso de Toro and originally published on Sermos Galiza

At first it was literature and it was culture. After the defeat of Queen Juana and the Galician nobility, the kingdom maintained a captive continuity and after Sarmiento, the drone of the bagpipe only began on the surface with Faraldo, Murguía, and Rosalía. At first it was literature and it was culture.

It also was culture in the early sixties, when cultural associations were born in cities and towns. That cultural resistance was what enabled the existence of Galicia and that wasn’t stifled as four provinces acculturated and subjected to Madrid.

Spain is experiencing a crisis of the end of an era: as the Spanish left and right are in the process of cleaning up their act, the Spanish state itself is inevitably going to change. In this moment of crisis Galicia appears as weak as when it faced regime change after the death of Franco. The consequences of a dependent Galicia are seen everywhere and in a dramatic way. In the case of culture and the Galician language, the historical basis of national existence, the surveys only confirm the evidence that threatens the existence of Galicia as a country. We can not look the other way.

Now and in the coming months the political landscape is going to be very conflicted and it affects and determines all areas of social life. On the one hand, the process of crisis and reform of the leftist state and, secondly, the last break of Galician nationalism created division and competition among progressive elements that assume the Galician national identity. Right now no one can know what  the landscape will belike after the electoral battles, however we have a duty to be concerned. The dominance of state media in our country is overwhelming, and all these media debates occur within a framework that is not even Castilian Spanish but purely Madrid-centric.  To experience this power of political, economic, and ideological madrileñismo, we must come to terms with our weaknesses and add strength.

Culture in the Galician language was the basis and the heart of the nation, and now that the Galician national project is under scrutiny, Galicia needs to gather strength in order to continue. Culture has to assume that it is the core of the nation to ensure that Galicia exists. And the proponents of culture must assemble and organize themselves to have strength and moral authority in order to demand that their role is recognized and so that the Xunta allocates the necessary resources in its budget. The efforts of the previous decades have created generations of excellent professionals and creators of culture. That achievement is in real danger of failing if the forces of the cultural promoters and workers do not join together.

At any instant social initiative will be inevitably conditioned by partisan struggles, however we must shape the idea that it is necessary to create a large assembly of Galician culture.

At any moment social initiative will be inevitably conditioned by partisan struggles, however we must shape the idea that it is necessary to create a large accumulation of Galician culture: an extensive platform that gives its voice to the country.

And it must be without sectarianism or arrogance, with humility, and from below. It must be from our recent that created cultural associations that continue leading the country forward and from the associations of creators and workers of artistic crafts. And it must be commensurate with the times we live in that we only accept the organizations in which open participation is ensured.

Only then, with a similar instrument, can culture once again fulfill its role as liberator and defender of its own existence.

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