Translated from Catalan by Daniel Bogre Udell. Posted on Global Voices on July 12, 2012.
Note: #TwitterEnCatalà is the Catalan-language hashtag for #TwitterInCatalan.
On July 6, 2012, thousands of Catalan-speaking netizens celebrated the fact that Twitter finally speaks their language. The hashtag #twitterencatalà quickly became a trending topic in Spain, and Data’n’Press launched twitterencatala.org to monitor the number of users who switch their accounts into Catalan. Within the first 24 hours, more than 10,000 did so.
Many Twitter users have rejoiced in the website’s newest language edition, but many others have expressed their anger at the announcement, tweeting derogatory remarks about the Catalan language and people.
On the positive side, many directly thanked Albert Cuesta, who organized the public petition for a Catalan Twitter, as well as all those who signed it:
There were also abundant tweets that celebrated the launch of Catalan Twitter as a victory for Catalan identity in the context of Catalonia’s current sociopolitical situation:
That being said, Catalan Twitter’s launch also provoked a storm of angry, in some cases racist tweets towards the Catalan language and people, and conversely, some vitriolic, as well as sarcastic, responses:
The website Apuntem.cat, dedicated to denouncing anti-Catalan racism on the Internet, collected some of the most violent tweets (note: in Spanish, “catalufo” is used as a slur for Catalans):
@AdrianVic04: Catalans, I wish you the worst illness and suffering, and that death follows you through life, you are the fucking shit of SPAIN.
@manuelrodrigue1: come on, man now that want to put #twitterencatalà, when will these piece-of-shit separatist catalufos quit? they’re just disgusting
@Ander89zgz: These catalufos disgust me. Can’t we just exterminate them all?
Violently anti-Catalan tweets have worried Catalan netizens for a long time. European MP Ramon Tremosa has brought these concerns before the European Commission, arguing that these kind of statements shouldn’t be protected as free speech because they “carry the seed of hate” [cat].
Catalan Twitter was launched less than a week after the Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió’s latest public opinion poll [cat], which highlighted that over 51% of the Catalan electorate would vote in favor of independence if a referendum were held tomorrow.