Logo Languedoc Roussillon Explication Essay

“A name gives identity, so this reform has made us a lot more aware of who we really are, especially since we’re being told that our culture will be buried under a name that has never been ours,” said Sylvia Andolfo, who flew a Catalan flag outside her pastry shop here.

Occitania is a cultural rather than political term that dates to the Middle Ages and refers to a vast area in southern Europe where people speak Occitan, a Romance language derived from Latin.

However, Occitania “means nothing to us,” said Brice Lafontaine, the president of a party here called Unitat Catalana. “We are the Catalans of the North and we want to continue to exist as such.”

Some here are also upset that Manuel Valls, the prime minister, has stayed on the sidelines of the debate. Mr. Valls was born in Barcelona and speaks Catalan.

In fact, Mr. Lafontaine called Mr. Valls “a traitor” to the Catalan cause. “Can you imagine a Frenchman going to Quebec and fighting against the recognition of French culture there?” Mr. Lafontaine said. “That is just what Manuel Valls has done here.”

The protests over the name change have received some institutional support. Some local mayors agreed to add signs that read “the Catalan” below town names along roads.

During a recent concert, the singer Hugues Di Francesco went backstage and emerged with a Catalan flag. “We have our identity and culture, so don’t erase us from the map,” he told the crowd before performing a protest song that has become a summer hit here.

The crowd joined in to sing the chorus: “We’re not Occitans, we’re Catalans, we’re not going to change our accent nor the color of our blood.”

Catalans in this part of France became subjects of King Louis XIV of France under a 1659 peace treaty that enlarged the country and created a new border with Spain along the Pyrenees.

The latest redrawing of France’s administrative map, and the dispute it has caused here, coincide with an unrelated territorial conflict on the southern side of the Pyrenees over whether the Catalan regional government, based in Barcelona, can split from Spain.

Most people here, however, define their Catalan identity as cultural rather than political. For instance, Ms. Andolfo, the pastry shop owner, while feeling sympathy for the Catalans who want to separate from Spain, expressed no desire to see French Catalans break away from France.

Ms. Andolfo understands the Catalan language but doesn’t speak it, even though some in her family fled Catalonia for France in 1939. They were among the nearly 500,000 Spaniards escaping Gen. Francisco Franco, who rose to power after Spain’s civil war.

“My grandmother never spoke to me in Catalan because she always kept her fear of Franco, and believed that French was my future, the way for me to find a job,” Ms. Andolfo said. Still, Ms. Andolfo put her own daughter in a bilingual school to learn French and Catalan.

French Catalans share folkloric dances and other traditions with the Catalans across the border. But French is the only language heard around town, except in the district of Saint Jacques, whose Gypsy community speaks Catalan.

There is also some discontent over the name changes in other regions. In eastern France, for instance, the historical regional names Alsace, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne are being administratively replaced by Grand-Est, or Great East, as part of a three-way merger to create a much larger region bordering Germany.

“There are many people around the country who are unhappy about the new names, but our case is more serious, because the name has triggered not only a feeling of exclusion, but also a situation of discrimination,” argued Hélène Legrais, a Perpignan writer whose historical novels are mostly about French Catalans.

However, some Catalan entrepreneurs here believe it was unrealistic to expect Catalans, who now represent less than one-tenth of the population of the enlarged region, to persuade other inhabitants to give full recognition to Catalan culture.

Rather than mentioning either Occitan or Catalan, they say, the enlarged region could have opted for Pyrénées-Méditérranée, a name that is culturally neutral but highlights the region’s mountains and sea.

“Occitania really doesn’t suit me, but also because I believe such a name is hard to sell as a brand internationally,” said Bernard Guasch, the owner of a meat company and a rugby league club called the Catalans Dragons. “In an environment of globalization, we should have taken full advantage of our two amazing natural assets, for which everybody envies us and nobody disputes.”

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Le logo du Conseil régional (2007) est rouge avec un soleil stylisé formé de sept petits soleils jaunes et blancs, accompagné du nom de la région. Les sept soleils réunis en un seul symbolisent le rayonnement de la région, son mouvement, son avenir.

Source iconographique et textuelle: Charte graphique du Conseil régional de Languedoc-Roussillon

Le logo du Conseil régional (2004) est rouge avec un soleil stylisé formé de sept petits soleils jaunes et blancs, accompagné de "la Septimanie" en lettres blanches et du nom de la région.

Source iconographique: Conseil régional de Languedoc-Roussillon

L'ancien logo du Conseil régional (1988) représentait un hexagone, la France, avec la région sous forme stylisée, en bleu et vert avec au dessus, l'ancien emblème régional. En dessous apparaîssait la dénomination de la région.

Source iconographique: Conseil régional de Languedoc-Roussillon

Ancien logo du Conseil régional formé de trois bandes orange, verte et bleue surchargées des initiales du nom de la région en lettres blanches reposant également sur une ligne noire, le tout accompagné en haut de "CONSEIL RÉGIONAL" et en bas de "Languedoc-Roussillon" en lettres noires.

Le symbolisme est inconnu. La couleur orange pourrait symboliser le soleil, le vert l'agriculture et le bleu la mer méditerranée.

Source iconographique: Benoît J. Marc et Philippe, "Décentralisation à l'affiche", éditions Nathan, 1989

 

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