Lyrics for Spain's wordless national anthem leaked
I'd imagine that hearing lyrics to Spain's once wordless national anthem is like biting into a defective seedless watermelon.
MADRID, Spain - An old quirk of Spanish history - a national anthem with no lyrics - took a step toward oblivion Friday as words were proposed to accompany it.
But critics immediately complained that they reflect a nationalist past, not today's rich patchwork of languages and cultures.
The lyrics start off with nothing less than "Viva Espana!" - essentially the rallying cry of the late Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
They also call on Spaniards to "love the fatherland," which to outsiders may sound innocent enough, but for many people here also smack of Franco's obsession with Spain as a unitary state fending off the independence-minded zeal of regions like Catalonia and the Basque country.
The lyrics were leaked Friday by the Spanish newspaper ABC and confirmed by the Spanish Olympic Committee's president, Alejandro Blanco.
Spaniards share the distinction of having a wordless anthem with a handful of countries, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose anthem was written in 1985, and tiny San Marino.
The Spanish lyrics were written by Paulino Cubero, a 52-year-old resident of Madrid who is an amateur composer. At a hastily called news conference with Blanco, Cubero said he wrote them for everyday Spanish people and did not mean to be divisive.