Thursday, 10 February 2011

Foreign Passport

When last week I received my passport back, together with the Russian and Chinese visas, I realized that something was missing: There is not a single word in Basque language on it.

That wouldn’t be such a failure if it wasn’t for the more than 20 other languages in which it is written.

Including not only the “bigger” ones like English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish or Italian, but also less “important” ones like Portuguese, Danish, Polish, Czech, Slovakian, Romanian or Bulgarian, and finally “stranger” ones like Hungarian, Finnish, Greek, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Estonian or Irish, some of them actually even less spoken than Basque.

My Spanish identity card has in fact all text translated into both Spanish and Basque, but when I get abroad with my passport I am forced to pretend that I am as Spanish as anyone. I mean, I don’t mind, not everyone has to know anything about the place you come from, and explaining takes time, but that is just plainly false, I don’t mind pretending I come from a uniformily homogeneous country, but that’s deceptive at least.

If Switzerland was in the European Union I am sure that Romansch (Swiss co-official language, with a few thousands of speaker) will be another EU official language, but hey, Spain is not Switzerland! Spain is a sort of a big Castile, Spanish monolingual state, looking from the outside, not a confederation of peoples who want to stay together (as is the case of Switzerland). In opposition to Switzerland, there is clearly one culture/language imposing itself above the others in Spain.

What could I do? I just travel with a foreign passport that doesn’t show my real nationality.

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