National Day of Catalonia

How I Feel About Spain Being a Proud Catalan

When I first started blogging, I promised myself that I would never EVER talk about politics on my blog, and this is basically for three reasons:

  1. I didn’t want any of my readers to be annoyed if I shared my views on certain social, ideological and/or political issues.
  2. I didn’t know how to fit this kind of posts with my regular content.
  3. I wanted my little piece of the Internet to have only positive vibes.

But you can’t ignore reality and given the current circumstances in my country–Spain–, today I feel I must make an exception.

In this post, I’m going to make a general outline of the current political situation between Spain and Catalonia, and how hard it is to live this situation.

Okay, I’m totally aware that many of you aren’t going to read this. Feel free to not do it. It’s fine! I understand this is absolutely boring stuff. (Actually, it’s anything but boring: To me, it’s even more interesting than a soap opera.)

Thing is, my blog is largely devoted to travel. I know from the stats that most of you are from the States, the UK, Canada, and Australia–and from many other countries around the world. Also, that many of you would love to visit Barcelona one day–or maybe you’ve been there already and you loved it. Because you like to travel, right? That’s EXACTLY why I believe you need to be aware of what’s going on here (if you don’t do yet).

So, let’s do this!

WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN SPAIN?

For those of you who don’t know me yet, I’m Catalan. I was born in Girona, but I currently live near Barcelona. A lot of people don’t know this, but Barcelona is in Catalonia, a millenary nation within Spain.

Catalonia is a land rich in beauty, culture, traditions and industry. Apart from Spanish, we have our own language, Catalan, spoken by 11 million people around the world.

Surely in the last year you’ve heard about Catalonia in the news countless times:

  • On 1st October 2017, 2.3 million Catalans voted in a referendum for independence that the Spanish government had declared illegal. The National Police officers charged against the people, leaving around 1,000 injured. They also took off with the ballot boxes by force. Even a man lost his eye because he was shot with a rubber bullet. He is now under investigation just for having thrown a metal barrier.
  • Catalonia’s ex-president Carles Puigdemont is currently exiled in Belgium after being put in jail in Germany. However, the German high court refused to enforce an arrest warrant launched by the Spanish Supreme Court, requesting the surrender of Puigdemont, and he was released 12 days after.
  • 6 other pro-independence politicians exiled in Belgium, Scotland and Switzerland because in Spain they won’t have a fair trial.
  • 9 Catalan political prisoners. In the video below, two of these Catalan leaders were asking the protesters in a demonstration NEVER to be violent, especially against the police. And that’s why they’ve been in prison for almost 1 year. Can you believe that? (If you want, you can send them a handwritten letter or a virtual message to give them support.)
  • Discrimination and harassment of the Catalan language by right-wing and extreme right parties. Again, just like in Francoist Spain, when speaking Catalan and any other signs of Catalanity were forbidden.
  • No separation of powers.
  • Unionist citizens–and politicians–remove our yellow ribbons in support of the political prisoners.

Honestly, I can’t believe this is actually happening in a EU country. Actually, if it weren’t for Angela Merkel’s call to Spanish ex-president Mariano Rajoy on 1st October, there would have been a bloodbath.

Is this even a democratic country nowadays?

Though this isn’t new. Throughout its long history, the Catalan people has been repressed by different Spanish kings and governments. That includes, of course, the dictator Francisco Franco.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT SPAIN

I grew up speaking Catalan at home, though my grandparents were Spanish immigrants. During the Spanish Civil War, like many other Spaniards, they came to Catalonia in search of work and a better life. They only spoke Spanish, but they embraced Catalonia as their new home.

Truth is, I’ve never felt Spanish in my life. And I know for sure that many other Catalans feel the same way.

Together with the Basque Country, Catalonia has always been Spain’s industrial and economic engine–therefore, they won’t let us go. My boyfriend always says that we should destroy Catalonia so that Spain doesn’t want us anymore. But then, what would be left of our land and our lives?

Like me, many Catalans refuse to live in a country where there are repression and hatred; where there’s no freedom of expression. For me, it’s beyond belief that the Franco regime is still alive in Spain–in the twentieth century!


NATIONAL DAY OF CATALONIA

National Day of Catalonia 2018
© Photo by ACN

As every year, on 11th of September we celebrate the National Day of Catalonia. This year, more than 1 million Catalans took to the streets and demonstrated in the Diagonal Avenue of Barcelona.

Me at Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona.
Gaudí's Casa Batlló, Barcelona.
Gaudí’s Casa Batlló showing the Catalan flag or ‘senyera.’

This is the first year that we have political prisoners in our country, so it’s been different from the previous ones.

Next Monday marks one year of the horrific events of 1st of October, so we’re all a little nervous about what might happen. But believe me, we’re getting used to living like this. I don’t want to have to get used to this situation, but surely it will be with us forever.

We won’t forget. We won’t forgive.

Norma. xx