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17 things Spain should say to Catalonia

Por: | 25 de septiembre de 2012

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The most typical reaction to the Catalan sovereignty debate I am hearing on the Spanish side is “Fine, why don’t they just leave and get it over with?” But this is just bravado. The 16 remaining regions of Spain would be immensely poorer in the event of a Catalan secession, so as an adopted Madrileño I take the liberty of making this jilted lover’s plea:

1. I will not consider it rude when spoken to in Catalan next time I visit. In fact, what is rude is my not responding with a few hastily learnt pleasantries in your language.

2. And I wish all of you Catalans would be more willing to take a good look around Madrid. We need to get to know each other more.

3. I know that lately things “haven’t gone well,” as Artur Mas said after meeting the prime minister, but we must beat the crisis together.

4. I am glad all those national funds were spent on beautifying Barcelona before the wonderful 1992 Olympic Games, launching the city as one of Europe’s most glamorous destinations today.

5. But sorry that so many years were allowed to pass before a decent high-speed train connection was finally made between the Spanish and Catalan capitals. It is there now, though.

6. It is great that your region has contributed so much to poorer parts of Spain through the concept of “solidarity.” Please maintain this idea.

7. I refuse to believe that a story like ours is going to end badly over money…

8. It is appreciated that Catalan nationalism has spurned the path of violence. Politics will find a solution.

9. We have the same enemy. Both the governments in Madrid and Barcelona are using the crisis as a pretext for slashing at the welfare state.

10. Spain is Europe. Catalonia is Europe. Spain is a little Catalan. Catalonia is a little Spanish.

11. Gaudí, Dalí and Miró. Goya, Lorca and Picasso.

12. Catalonia has been the entry point for new influences in Spain. Thanks for bringing the likes of Orwell and Cruyff to our shores.

13. There are so many things that only happen between the borders of France and Portugal, like being able to find a small bar to have a drink in after a football match that ends at midnight.

14. Talking of football, how can we even be thinking of cutting the Spain team in two at this glorious time? Ramos without Piqué? Iniesta without Xavi..?

15. Well done for banning bullfighting, by the way (not all Spaniards think this, but they will).

16. Barcelona is where don Quixote saw the sea, our Mediterranean.  

17. I will learn some Catalan so I can say things like: “Tots iguals, tots diferents.”    

 

Photograph by Marcel.lí Sàenz Martínez.

Hay 43 Comentarios

I'm a Catalan, but due to the origins of my family I'm a Spanish Speaker. I really believe that there is no solution between Catalonia and Spain. I completely support the independence of Catalonia of Spain. It's the only way to stop so much hate.
VISCA CATALUNYA,!!!!

an image can represent 1000 words

a fantasy of an united spain.. when spain has never been united in deep. thats a fact

Gorgeous pic!

I am the same as the writer but from the other "side". I am an adopted Catalan. I am bringing up kids in local schools. My son is in a very "barrio" school. He is the only English speaking kid in the whole school. He sees himself as Catalan. We are members of Barça and I now try and communicate in Catalan as much as possible. I love Catalunya and most of our friends now are Catalans.

I am struggling with this whole issue. I feel proud to be bringing up kids as Catalans and living here and immersing ourselves in Catalan culture. And most of our friends want independence and do not "feel" Spanish. They are Catalan. I want to have loyalty for their cause and do understand why they are so fed up (I think) but I also fear certain things and my son and I def do feel a little Spanish too. I do notice injustices that do not seem right. Just simple things like the billions wasted on fast trains between cities where hardly any use the service yet there is no train connecting Barcelona to France or Valencia. The one that gets me every time and I thing is very very bad, is that the Catalans spend more on tax and yet have less spent on roads yet have more toll roads than anywhere in Spain. All motorways are expensive toll roads. Last year I had a road trip to Cordoba, Sevilla, Malaga, Almeria, Alicante ...once I turned in from the coast into the Spanish heartland of La Mancha toll roads disappeared. It was very welcomed but it did strike me as strange. The roads were largely empty but in very good condition and free! How come? It´s not just Catalans being greedy and rejecting redistribution of wealth, it´s the way for many years they feel they have been taken advantage of. And then when they complain they are treated badly and insulted. Spain has not treated Catalunya so well I feel.

BUT I have my reservations too. I worry about the future success of Futbol Club Barcelona. My friends say, no we will stil play in La Liga. Rosell said it, didn´t you hear? I can´t see that they would be allowed to play in La Liga if they were out of Spain totally. Why would all the resentful Spaniards allow that? And how would refs treat them? Mind you already seems bad and Madrid were helped to La Liga last year without doubt. Out of La Liga and Barça would probably lose Messi, Iniesta etc and would shrink as a club I think...

I think control over water during shortages could raise problems. A friendly relationship may not be possible. Then there are the amount of business links to South and central America and all the financial institutions. I do think a lot of companies and finance institutions would leave Barcelona.

Europe? They may not get into Europe. That could be good or bad. But currency?

And I do feel that Spain as a whole (including for moment Catalunya) is such a culturally rich and diverse country. The best in Europe as far as I´m concerned. I love Spain as a whole and Catalunya without doubt adds a lot to Spain in culture as well as cash. It would be a shame to carve up all that mutual history/culture. But it is the fault of Spain. I hope the politicians can give Catalunya enough to keep it happy and quick as I am sure in a referendum they will vote for Independence. The sentiments are high. There seems like no way back right now...

It is very confusing to think that in the country of the second most spoken language in the world there could be citizens that do not speak or want to speak the most beautiful language in the world.
Since the 15 th century people in the Iberian peninsula agreed to be a strong unified country called Spain.Imperial Spain dominated and discovered half of the world,Spanish people had great times throughout history and also had bad times,but Spanish people (all spanish people) enjoyed the great times of Spanish history and suffered the bad times.
I would like to ask you how we can tell that this spanish citizen is catalan,sevillano,madrileno,valenciano....
Can we do this from his color,sect,religion,height,wearing clothes,interests.
Indeed each region must have certain distinctive features in the common Spanish culture starting with different dialects or ,if you want languages.But these should no way be a excuse for separation .
Search in history and geography of countries such as Andorra,Luxemburg,Malta,Montenegro .we can find these countries in the map ,but in reality these countries lack the essencials of an independent sovereign country by either lacking independent in foreign policy,existance stability,economic stability,future prospects in a new world order were different countries unify in communities to became stronger in face of the threats of this century.
It is indeed an absurd thing to think in the success of the independence of catalunia or any other region of spain ,think instead how to make our unity stronger ,how to make our lovely Spain more powerful.

mmk, congratulations: pinned it! ¡ Lo has clavado !

sure, let spain go back to roman times; each village be its own kingdom. what a lot of bullshit those catalanes are!

Catalonia IS NOT Spain.

Hey just thought of something, in my street or maybe even my barrio, most of us want to remain spanish, so maybe we should follow the catalan argument and seceded from catalunya after all, we never consented to the catalan takeover and our culture is under threat. lets divide catalunya. My guess is most of barcelona would stay spanish.

What a train crash good luck to both sides ...

A ver si os echamos a patadas de España, que sois unos paletos, y encima mendigáis dinero a Madrid, so catetos.
A tomar por culo vosotros y vuestras próximas generaciones de chupópteros

I am Catalan and I am for a united Spain. Having spent plenty of time abroad I am always seeing idiotic politicians manage to create divisions just so they can stay in power for longer and become presidents of banana republics.

its a rediculous situation because as soon as they break from one federation they line up to join another one. The same will apply to Catalonia. Break from Spain and then try and join the EU.

As for the cutural diferrences, this is laughable. Sure the language is a little different, although castillian and catalan can be easily interchanged in text. Spoken its tricky but not more so than say andalusian or galego. And culturaly and ethnicity, there is nothing. So this whole stupid argument is drummed up by the politicians and the sheep go to the streets.

As a regular visitor to Spain, especially Madrid and Barcelona, I see this desire on the part of Catalonia to secede as parallel to that of Quebec from Canada. This sense of a distinct culture. Are you abused within Spanish rule? Are you not given your fair share of Spanish funding? I don't see logic behind this. States in EEUU vary greatly in background and heritage but are not whining to secede. I love both regions, but if Catalonia cannot exist within Spain, let her go, give her NO concessions as she departs and let financial institutions depart for Madrid as those in Montreal departed for Toronto.

The people living in the different regions of Spain would do well to listen to the individuals from Ireland and the former Yugoslavia who commented above. It is ever the greatest error of humankind to lose sight of the bigger picture, to fail to see what all people have in common, to believe their own point of view or cause is more meaningful than someone else's. I lived in Madrid for 9 years and Barcelona for another 9. I love both places. My children are trilingual and feel they are a part of both cultures. I will say, however, that there were times when I felt oppressed in Catalunya to accept Catalan ways and culture as the only one that truly mattered. Now back in the states, I can only be sympathetic to each any every person (from whatever cultural or ethnic background) who chooses to spend their days here. In the end, the only thing that will matter is what you did for someone else. And your religion, culture, political affiliation will not define anything that you have done. Only the actions you take to make your life full of joy, light, caring, kindness and sympathy truly count. There is never an excuse (no matter what the "history") for failing to see people for who they are as individuals and not as faceless members of a hated, generalized community.

As an adopted spaniard (or as you say "madrileño" ) you seem to be quite confused about the whole issue. Spending a cople of hours a day reading some History would be great... Trust me.

I am from Castilla, another spanish region. I, too, am totally fed up with spanish issues. I, too, want my region, (once a great realm, greatest of the península) out of Spain. I even suspect that every region in Spain wants independence from Spain (and there are almost 20 of these regions...) Spain without regions won't need a bailout! Isn't that an idea!

Everybody should think like this! A little bit of poetry, sensitivity and capacity of understanding the other. The only problem is that Spain will never speak like this to Catalunya... and we catalans have had enough of the "Spain is different" bullshit. We want to try it our way now!
And message to everybody: STOP DISCUSSING AS IF INDEPENDENCE IS JUST A MATTER OF MONEY!

quina pardalada!

To summarize: Comments are at the same size of the article (bullshit).

Mr Nicolasn Riegert is a good illustration of why most of people in Catalonia, regardless of their political thinking, are frustrated when it comes to discuss this issue; lack of respect, sensitivity or knowledge about identity, culture, history or thenrelevance of our institutions. he insults collectively 7 million people without embarrasment. No sense of rubor disrispectfully talking about a language (he calls it dialect) that has survived only thanks to the great determination of many people. I would not be surprised that many people get angry at Mr Nicolas. Its lack of interest and respect for the people hi talks about (catalans) is beyond limits

It starts well, but still it shows the Spanish worldview which is not understanding the Catalan worldview. For instance, the writer talks about the untimely connection to Barcelona with high speed train... but be ready to be amazed... it's a connection with Madrid! Spain, that has the second longest high speed rail network in the planet, is still not connected with Europe at all! Madrid the center of (their) world again.

Once you read the comments, you see their confusion between doing things together and submitting to their will (that's what they really mean when they say without "us" you're nothing) which clearly recalls the metaphor of the beaten wife because her husband knows better. Also, the friends would not be happy to see that she chooses her own path, he tries to keep her not with love or understanding but with threats, as always.

Love is gone, she's exhausted, these 298 years of marriage (by conquest) have only witnessed beating after beating, time to move on, no matter what. Sometimes it's better to live out of that big house filled with hate, than not to live at all.

It starts well, but still it shows the Spanish worldview which is not understanding the Catalan worldview. For instance, the writer talks about the untimely connection to Barcelona with high speed train... but be ready to be amazed... it's a connection with Madrid! Spain, that has the second longest high speed rail network in the planet, is still not connected with Europe at all! Madrid the center of (their) world again.

Once you read the comments, you see their confusion between doing things together and submitting to their will (that's what they really mean when they say without "us" you're nothing) which clearly recalls the metaphor of the beaten wife because her husband knows better. Also, the friends would not be happy to see that she chooses her own path, he tries to keep her not with love or understanding but with threats, as always.

Love is gone, she's exhausted, these 298 years of marriage (by conquest) have only witnessed beating after beating, time to move on, no matter what. Sometimes it's better to live out of that big house filled with hate, than not to live at all.


The economy here in Barcelona will do just fine without Spain. There are other countries not in the EU that use the euro de facto including Kosovo and Montenegro. So we dont need permission should the Catalans go their own way. I think like in any relationship, if things arent working out, you should have the option to leave. Telling someone what they cant do will only make them want it more.

Only Catalans do not see it clear. As I see it is a just a matter of sheer overbloated ethnic pride. When we send thousands upon thousands students to learn Spanish in Barcelona, they DO think of the city as Spain and the city benefits from it. It does not matter how many ridiculous embassies they have strewn all over Europe and America, their language is still irrelevant to us and our "education abroad" students. Catalans should think as the Spaniards they ARE and use the resources they squander today on their ethnic pride boosting enterprise to unite and use those resources on sausage, cheese factories or onion patches in their Catalonian towns.
What really shocks me is why nobody stops these Catalan politicians, clears the smoke curtain and removes them from office.
It must be done before the "first blood" flows.

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

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