The power that unites us
The death of Charles Aznavour surprised me by writing this column. Then I remembered “Venice without you”, a song that faithfully portrays his universal impact. Many generations of Latin Americans enjoyed those hits. Apart from his talent as an interpreter and composer, Aznavour triumphed in our countries with the delicacy of singing in Spanish as Nat King Cole, Abba, Laura Pausini, Rafaela Carra and many other artists did. Everyone understood the strength of our language in the expansion of their professional careers.
There is no doubt that Spanish, with more than 500 million speakers, experiences a powerful expansion and is an unequivocal expression of cultural strength, wherever a “hola, ¿qué tal?” is said. Today, there are radio programs in distant Australia, Hispanic newspapers in London or Dubai and a huge media market in the United States. Even in Jamaica, they seek to consecrate Spanish as a second national language, to facilitate commercial relations with the region. And in China, the government has just included it in secondary education among the foreign language options.
However, Spanish also faces serious dangers. Even in the United States, a certain stigma hangs over our language, starting with the rise to power of Donald Trump. A blessing like bilingualism, could begin to be seen as a problem. There are politicians specialized in creating problems, when we supposedly choose them to solve them. In Spain, for example, some regions try to demonize Spanish through the imposition of local languages in the education system… And even in hospitals. It is evident that the solution lies in the normalized coexistence, and in the freedom of choice!
In some countries of Latin America, there are indigenous languages that deserve the protection of their own States, because they constitute a powerful asset of cultural interest. All can cohabit with Spanish, to continue forging citizens of the world. It is evident that, if it is governed in conscience, thinking about the future and the technological and labor transformations that we are living, we can not lock ourselves in our conch shell. Knowing and speaking several languages is a strength, and not a weakness.
In these days, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Spanish indicates a path of history, culture and tradition, but also of modernity. Let us put in perspective what unites us, which is very powerful.