Last 16 October, the program “Irrikitown” in the public broadcaster ETB1 showed two controversial opening scenes. The same producers as those of “Vaya semanita” and like programs hostile to Basque nationalism direct this program. The program aired at 9.20 pm, and it is no one’s secret that ETB, as well as the companies and actors commissioned with these programs are financed from the public budget.
The first scene portrays an actor sporting a hat with a Basque flag and the word “Euskadi” printed on it awash in the traditional Santo Tomas festival atmosphere. It is customary in this festival to eat red sausage, and so does he, but in a dirty way or showing a total lack of manners, just as if he was a pig. He, then, gets into a bar and stands next to a girl, and fails to show any taste whatsoever in his approach to the girl, with the boy burping at the girl, and she in turn making disgust grimaces. The boy goes on to fondle the girl up-skirt, carrying out a clear sex offense. Finally, the character ends up sitting on a public bench totally drunk, accompanied by two mates.
A second scene depicts a Basque nationalist lying on the bed, unable to engage in sex relationships, feeling inadequate. Suddenly, on hearing the “Gora eta gora” anthem, he gets a hard-on. However, he fails to go on, he ejaculates in no time, leaving the girlfriend very dejected.
So our question is, had he sported the Spanish flag on his hat, what would have been the reaction? What would have happened had he been a Spanish behaving nasty, at a par with a pig, portrayed as a rapist, and a drunk? Some months ago, a controversy erupted, especially in Spain, on account of a ETB program allegedly laughing at the Spanish, with some personalities calling to bring charges against the actors. ETB called off the program right away. However, that program did not say the Spanish are ill mannered, drunkards, pigs, inadequate or rapist at all
“Irrikitown”, “Vaya semanita” “Ocho apellidos vascos” and the team of directors and scriptwriters of like programs are keen on laughing at the Basques. By contrast, in Catalonia, “Polonia” is the most successful humour program. There, they make fun of personalities like Rajoy and mock at bodies like the Civil Guard or the Spanish politicians. They show national awareness, instead of fostering self-hate.
Finally, our politicians like to talk of cohabitation and respect persistently. Well, they are financing ETB and are responsible for programs like the above. Is that their vision of cohabitation and respect? How long will our money be directed at scorning our feelings and belittling and offending our culture?