Why are we in Villeneuve lès Maguelonne today ?
At the time when the administrative court hast just handed down an iniquitous ruling questioning the legitimacy of the courageous action taken by the mayor of Villeneuve lès Maguelonne in favor of the Occitan language and culture on the territory of his town , the Occitan Nation Party has come to demonstrate today and to bring its unreserved support to the mayor who appealed the decision.
Since 2008, the French Constitution has recognized regional languages, therefore Occitan, as being part and parcel of French heritage. It’s a step forward but it’s not enough. The law has to put into practice this constitutional principle. Many MPs of all political persuasions, along with associations, have drafted a bill on regional languages. They should continue to work together so that it is passed rapidly making impossible such rulings as the one we are fighting today.
By advocating linguistic democracy, which the bilingual roadsigns on entering Villeneuve lès Maguelonne are a good example of, we are following the course of history. We are sure that a majority of Villeneuve people is aware of that and expects the Court of Appeal to quash the decision of the lower court. Those who champion our language, our country and our economy are here today. For all of them, the question is to know whether the Occitan language, our language has a place in the French Republic.
At the present time, Occitania that encompasses the southern third of the French state, Valle de Aran of the Spanish state and the Occitan Alpine valleys of the Italian Piedmont, has no officially recognized existence in the French Republic. On the other hand, Valle de Aran enjoys home rule within the Generality of Catalonia included in the Spanish state and Occitan is an official language there alongside Spanish and Catalan.
The Occitan language won’t be saved unless Occitan people are masters in their own home.
The Occitan Nation Party thinks that our Occitan regions should have more important powers like their Basque and Navarrian neighbors in Spain (they keep a part of the taxes they levy) and gather to work together giving up age-old rivalries that play into the hands of the centralist French capital. Occitan regions with sufficient financial resources and working together, not only could carry out ambitious linguistic policies to socialize Occitan but they could also help business firms that create local jobs so that our young people, if that is their desire, can live in their home country. It would be a step in the right direction until Occitan people decide on e day maybe to go further.
Occitan Nation Party