Friday, September 5, 2014

Spain's Censorship

On today's mid-day news there was the surprising story of censorship in the heart of Europe.  The book Victus by Albert Sánchez Piñol was to be presented today at the Cervantes Institute in Utrecht following yesterday's presentation in Amsterdam.  However, one day in advance, the event was cancelled by instruction of the Spanish Embassy in Holland.

I haven't read the book -- it's about the fall of Barcelona in September 1714 which resulted in Catalunya becoming part of Spain.  It's been translated into 30 languages.  The blurb on Amazon says: "A #1 international bestseller reminiscent of the works of Roberto Bolaño, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Edward Rutherford—a page-turning historical epic, set in early eighteenth-century Spain, about a military mastermind whose betrayal ultimately leads to the conquest of Barcelona, from the globally popular Catalonian writer Albert Sánchez Piñol.... A sweeping tale of heroism, treason, war, love, pride, and regret that culminates in the tragic fall of a legendary city, illustrated with battle diagrams, portraits of political figures, and priceless maps of the old city of Barcelona, Victus is a magnificent literary achievement that is sure to be hailed as an instant classic."

It seems the Spanish government thinks the book has political implications.  They should be reminded that (1) books are allowed to have political implications, (2) it's a NOVEL, and (3) this is modern Europe in 2014 where censors are not part of the setup.  The Catalans may bring a complaint of censorship to the European Court.

In the video below (in Catalan) the commentator says that first the Spanish government prohibits the presentation of this book and then it asks why Catalans want a separate state.  Catalunya lost that war in 1714 and lost its independence.  It is hoping to regain it in 2014. 

You can buy the book from my Amazon store by clicking here
El Periodico article about the cancellation of the book presentation (in Catalan)

Editorial comment on the cancellation of the book presentation (in Catalan)

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