Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Catalan Causes on Facebook 20 days after

Causes (top 100 only)
A. Arts and Culture

1. Facebook en català (goal achieved): 33.987 members (+4.405) ; position 13 (+1)
2. Castells, Patrimoni de la Humanitat (Catalan human towers): 5.516 members (+1.135); position 98 (-4)

B. Education

1. Salvem els pronoms febles (let's save our pronouns): 6.689 members (+1.216) ; position 56 (-7)

C. Political campaigns

1. Una nació, una selecció - National teams for Catalonia: 17.568 members (+4.468) ; position 38 (=)
2. Catalunya Network: 11.919 members (+3.213) ; position 50 (+3)
3. Convertim les places de toros en places de castellers! (Let's turn bull squares into Catalan human towers squares!): 7.962 members (NEW!); position 71

(Out of our ranking but next:) Vull el DNI català (I want my own Catalan Identity Card) : 3.702 members; position 136.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Catalan Facebook groups at 25 November

24 groups (2 new) have more than 1.000 members:

1. Vull poder dir que sóc de Catalunya i no d'Espanya al Facebook (I want to be able to choose Catalonia and not Spain as Facebook Network) : 17.396 members (+1.886)
2. How many Catalans are in Facebook? Let's find out!: 14.670 members (+1.397 )
3. I speak Catalan - Parlo català: 13.212 members (1.642)
4. Jo votaria SÍ a la independència de Catalunya (I would vote for an independent Catalonia): 9.020 members (+2.152)
5. Follem en català (Let's fuck in Catalan): 8.804 members (+1.170)
6. Salvem la Castanyada, diguem no a Halloween (Save Castanyada, say no to Halloween): 6.075 members (+183)
7. Catalunya: 4.058 members (+144)
8. Catalonia is not Spain: 3.221 members (+125)
9. Deu mil catalans a Brussel·les per reivindicar el dret d'autodeterminació (10.000 Catalans will go to Brussels for our self-determination right): 3.127 members (+325)
10. Tour 2009: inundem Girona i Barcelona de senyeres (let's all show our national flag): 2.898 members (+448)
11. Recuperem la castanyada, prou Halloween: 2.821 members (+64)
12. We want a Catalan Network: 2621 members (+1)
13. Seleccions Catalanes ja! (National Teams for Catalonia now!): 2.600 members (+210)
14. Faltes d'ortografia en català: ja n'hi ha prou!: 1.923 members (+371)
15. Manifest en defensa del català: 1.787 members (+26)
16. Vull la independència de Catalunya (I want an independent Catalonia): 1.778 members (+191)
17. Bevem vi i cava català (Let's drink catalan wines and cava): 1.599 members (+188)
18. Països Catalans (Catalan Countries): 1.543 members (+66)
19. Per la creació al Facebook d'una xarxa Catalunya: 1.459 members (+32)
20. We want Facebook in Catalan: 1.357 members (+6)
21. Referèndum virtual per la independència de Catalunya (Virtual referendum for Catalonia Independence): 1151 members! (NEW!)
22. Exigim l'accent a Magic Badalona: 1.112 members (+54)
23. Onze de setembre: la senyera al balcó: 1.098 members (+6)
24. Fins els collons de la Renfe (had enough with Renfe!): 1.087 members (+199)

And others are about to reach them:

25. I love Barcelona: 963 members (+13)
26. Grup de suport a Antoni Bassas: 935 members (+3)
27. La Marató de TV3 (Solidarity National TV show): 886 members (NEW!)
28. Made in Catalonia: 877 members (+145)
29. 11 de setembre: volem ajuntaments amb l'estelada: 860 members (+6)
30 La Troba Kung-Fu (music band): 860 members (NEW!)
31. Together for independence: 815 members (+21)
32. Anella (Business): 811 (NEW!)
33. Llibertat Franki de Terrassa: 762 members (+4)
34. Cultura popular i tradicional: 749 members (+119)
35. Català: fes-lo europeu!: 748 members (+27)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catalonia: a chance for Obama

War in Iraq and the political attitude towards it seems to be approaching Obama to Zapatero. Journalist Jim Hoagland has written an article about both politicians on The Washington Post. It can be read as an attempt to start better relations than the ones hold by Bush. They have the right, but Obama should not forget about Catalonia in his talks with Zapatero.
Actually, the real chance for Obama might be Catalonia much more than Zapatero. There might indeed be some understanding, but Obama's discourse about democracy suits better for Catalonia than Zapatero. Spain is still today judging people for injury against the king. Spain is today allowing 12 people to decide what a referendum in Catalonia had already stablished. Zapatero lied to Catalonia when he promised to accept the Estatut accorded by Catalan Parliament, which he did not. He modified the text in favour of Spain and against Catalan interests. But after all the text was approved and a terminus date was stablished to sign the way Catalan Government should be funded. The date expired last 9th august. Three months more were accorded and again unaccomplished. Meanwhile, Catalan workers and enterprises are suffering the strategy of a centralist policy.

Obama and Zapatero are free to talk, that is clear. But Obama should consider the role of Catalonia and our right to decide if we want to be a new state in Europe. Please, Obama, have a look at Catalonia before you make a mistake. Do not trust Zapatero. Things are not as easy as they seem.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Facebook groups related to the Catalan Countries

22 groups have more than 1.000 members:

1. Vull poder dir que sóc de Catalunya i no d'Espanya al Facebook (I want to be able to choose Catalonia and not Spain as Facebook Network) : 15.510 members
2. How many Catalans are in Facebook? Let's find out!: 13.273 members
3. I speak Catalan - Parlo català: 11.570 members
4. Follem en català (Let's fuck in Catalan): 7.634 members
5. Jo votaria SÍ a la independència de Catalunya (I would vote for an independent Catalonia): 6.868 members
6. Salvem la Castanyada, diguem no a Halloween (Save Castanyada, say no to Halloween): 5.892 members
7. Catalunya: 3.914
8. Catalonia is not Spain: 3.096 members
9. Deu mil catalans a Brussel·les per reivindicar el dret d'autodeterminació (10.000 Catalans will go to Brussels for our self-determination right): 2.802 members
10. Recuperem la castanyada, prou Halloween: 2.757 members
11. We want a Catalan Network: 2.620 members
12. Tour 2009: inundem Girona i Barcelona de senyeres (let's all show our national flag): 2.450 members
13. Seleccions Catalanes ja! (National Teams for Catalonia now!): 2.390 members
14. Manifest en defensa del català: 1.761 members
15. Vull la independència de Catalunya (I want an independent Catalonia): 1.587 members
16. Faltes d'ortografia en català: ja n'hi ha prou!: 1.552 members
17. Països Catalans (Catalan Countries): 1.477 members
18. Per la creació al Facebook d'una xarxa Catalunya: 1.427 members
19. Bevem vi i cava català (Let's drink catalan wines and cava): 1.411 members
20. We want Facebook in Catalan: 1.351 members
21. Onze de setembre: la senyera al balcó: 1.092 members
22. Exigim l'accent a Magic Badalona: 1.058

And others are about to reach them:

23. I love Barcelona: 950 members
24. Grup de suport a Antoni Bassas: 932 members
25. Fins els collons de la Renfe (had enough with Renfe!): 888 members
26. 11 de setembre: volem ajuntaments amb l'estelada: 854 members
27. Together for independence: 794 members
28. Llibertat Franki de Terrassa: 758 members
29. Made in Catalonia: 732 members
30. Català: fes-lo europeu!: 721 members
31. Cultura popular i tradicional: 630 members
32. Cercle per al coneixement: 629 members

Friday, November 7, 2008

Facebook: current ranking for Catalan causes and groups

A. Arts and Culture

1. Facebook en català (goal achieved): 29.582 members; position 14
2. Castells, Patrimoni de la Humanitat (Catalan human towers): 4.381 members; position 94

B. Education

1. Salvem els pronoms febles (let's save our pronouns): 5.473 members; position 49

C. Political campaigns

1. Una nació, una selecció - National teams for Catalonia: 13.100 members; position 38
2. Catalunya Network: 8.706 members; position 53

(Out of our ranking but next:) Catalan Secessionist Cause For an Own State: 2.342 members; position 167)

Groups (top ten)

1. Vull poder dir que sóc de Catalunya i no d'Espanya al Facebook (I want to be able to choose Catalonia and not Spain as Facebook Network) : 13.821 members
2. How many Catalans are in Facebook? Let's find out!: 11.497 members
3. I speak Catalan - Parlo català: 10.594 members
4. Follem en català (Let's fuck in Catalan): 6.712 members
5. Jo votaria SÍ a la independència de Catalunya (I would vote for an independent Catalonia): 3.551 members
6. Catalonia is not Spain: 3.022 members
7. We want a Catalan Network: 2.613 members
8. Deu mil catalans a Brussel·les per reivindicar el dret d'autodeterminació (10.000 Catalans will go to Brussels for our self-determination right): 2.585 members
9. Tour 2009: inundem Girona i Barcelona de senyeres (let's all show our national flag): 2.389 members
10. Seleccions Catalanes ja! (National Teams for Catalonia now!): 2.301 members

Sunday, November 2, 2008

National Teams for Catalonia (Facebook cause)

In my last posting I listed some of the most popular Catalan causes on Facebook. That was on saturday 25. Today, some of these causes have grown stronger. The most spectacular case is National Teams For Catalonia (position 43), which has reached 11.415 members. This means more support than many other political campaigns like the one supporting John McCain, or the one supporting Hillary Clinton.
A second important cause, beyond sports, is the one for a Catalunya Network (position 61), because we Catalans have to say that we belong to Spain when we use Facebook, which is unfair. Please take note that we are great Facebook users, so we'd like to have our own Network, independent from Sapin, as well as we would like our own National Teams and, sure, our own State.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Catalan causes on Facebook at 25 october

(Search limits: 10 results pages; minimum 1.000 members)

Political campaigns:

1. National Teams for Catalonia (6.050 members; position 62)

2. Catalunya Network (3.596 members; position 98)

3. Catalan Secessionist Cause For An Own State (2.152 members; position 157)

4. Visca Catalunya! (1.311 members; position 213)

5. World Coalition For Catalonia Independence (1,306 members; position 214)

6. Derogació del Decret de Nova Planta (1.218 members; position 227)

Arts and Culture:

1. Facebook en català (24,976 members; position 15)

2. Castells: Patrimoni de la Humanitat (3.335 members; position 101)

3. La Vanguardia en Català (3.016 members; position 113)

4. Per Tots Sants, Castanya! (2.899 members; position 118)

5. Catalunya (2.764; position 124)


1. Salvem els pronoms febles (3.669 members; position 57)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Spain and the laws

Current states are defined upon the basis of a collective contract. The state offers public services, the chance to vote for several representatives, the right to be respected thanks to laws... The citizen pays taxes for that and their rights have one only limit: each other's rights. So laws are a basic thing. If they are not respected, we are facing a totalitarian regime in a democratic disguise. When that happens, a state does not lose its power, but pretends to keep legitimacy. Laws should prevent from state abuse. And international laws should prevent from that too, as well as other states should act when a state does not follow what once was accorded.

Spain accepted to start a process to end up in a new text for Catalonia where its relation to Spain was redefined. 30 September 2005, 90 % of the Catalan Parliament finally reached an agreement for the text upon the basis that Spanish president Zapatero would respect a widely consensed decision. Surprisingly enough, he did'nt. The text suffered new changes on its negociation with Spanish Government.

Despite all these changes that moved ERC (the main promoter of the idea) to reject the final result, a referendum was done 18 june 2006 and the text (less than 50% voted!) was approved by Spain. After the usual legal steps, it became a Spanish law in august 9th 2006. Among other things, the text contains a very important point. Since Catalonia is suffering economical difficulties due to Spanish abuse through taxes, the law stablished the need to reach an agreement on how Spain would fond Catalonia so Catalan citizens could receive what they need. That agreement has to be reached before next 9th august, but it looks like the date does not mean very much to Spain.

Spain accepted the law after strong and desperate negotiations, but even in this case, they have no intention to face the problem, no intention to respect their own laws. Spain makes laws and spanish citizens are obviously charged if they do not respect them, but the Government itself will not respect an essencial law next weekend.

This means Spain unattends the contract they have with Catalonia. This leads us to a legitimacy crisis, an institutional crisis. Catalonia belongs to a state where laws are used and developed only when they benefit a part (the Spanish part of the conflict) but not when the other part is concerned. No chance for Catalan citizen rights. No law protection.

Is everyone in Europe going to neglect such behaviour? Is anybody going to ask Spain how come they have no respect for their own laws when Catalan citizens are concerned?

In one week, Spain will have lost all legitimacy. The way to an own state for Catalonia will reach new steps.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No unity in Spain. Not this way

Despite the words pronounced by Zapatero, it is not true that Spain's victory in Euro 2008 has had a unity effect on Catalan, Basque and Galician nations. Not all the media have assumed that point of view and some of them have seen the attempt to avoid a political reality. Spain is about to split at least in three states in a relatively short period of time. Football is not going to change that. Some people may be stupid, but not to that point.

BBC published an article in which they refer to "regional divisions": "Basque and Catalan nationalists are not suddenly going to abandon their political principles on the strength of a goal by Fernando Torres." True. Obviously true. And the Herald Tribune wrote: "However, there have been no public screens erected in the northern Catalan regional capital Barcelona and in the Basque port city of Bilbao. Both regions have long-term separatist issues that stem from a distant history when Spain was composed of autonomous kingdoms, differences which were exacerbated by political antagonisms which culminated in a 1936-39 civil war."

Since you cannot build a nation on the basis of football, and since Spain has been doing the opposite thing to build a nation by denying the right of Catalan and Basques to exist, once Euro 2008 is over everything remains as it has always been. Catalonia, on its way to an own state. Spain, defending a 30-year-old Constitution against all evolution and democratic essay.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do you know what "gilipollas" and "imbécil" mean in Spanish?

Do you speak Spanish? Then you might know what "gilipollas" and "imbécil" mean. These are not very polite words. They can be usual in the street, among very close friends joking, or in a extreme situation when someone is very angry. But it is not so often that you can hear that on a public radio. If they talk about Catalan or Basque people or subjects, and if a Spanish radio is the case, that is not so strange.

Clicking here, you will be able to listen to a radio station quite famous in Catalonia because of what they say of Catalan people: COPE. Actually, the curt belongs to a Catalan radio station where it was commented. They begin speaking Catalan and somehow laughing at the attitude (unfortunately, many Catalans have adopted such resignated behaviour) and after a little introduction comes Mr. José Antonio Abellan (wikipedia), no more and no less than responsible for sports area of COPE.

He refers to the fact that Puigcercós (ERC, Catalan) and Urkullu (PNB, Basque) declared they do not want Spain to win the Euro 2008. They have their own selections, but Spain is always making it impossible for Catalan and Basque selections to join international competitions. Considering such attitude, it seems logical that Catalan and Basque feel no sympathy for the Spanish team, although many Catalans play in it.

These things happen everyday in Spain. A public radio supports these people saying "gilipollas" and "imbécil" and no one shuts down no microphone. Do you think Spain is a beautiful country?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fall'08 in Catalonia

Catalonia is approaching the final period of its way to an own state. International observers and journalists might have read the elections on March 9 the same way José Zaragoza (PSC-PSOE) did: as a support to Spain. But a close analisis would deny such an interpretation. Catalan votes for PSOE were nothing but severe opposition against PP. Under the PP-PSOE war, other trends grow stronger and stronger everyday and the predicted issues from September on are turning quite clearly against Spanish interests.

The ERC had Congress last week-end. There was a risk that the result could divide the party, being they the main secessionist political group. But it seems that the new leaders (Puigcercós and Ridao) are assuming internal opposition in a way that will allow them to continue growing after the crisis.

The Congress has been considered as an example for democracy not only by national journalists, but also for politicians from the rest of the parties. Consequently, the CiU, which is the next party to celebrate Congress in July, is seeing internal pressure grow to add unpredicted issues at the agenda. A group of the party had the strategy of forcing a crisis, having elections and returning to the government they lost in 2003 be it alone or with PSC-PSOE. Others, however, are pushing hard to force a secessionist position that would approach them to the ERC.

Meanwhile, Spain keeps on deceiving masses of people. President Zapatero promised on april he would make public the difference between what Catalonia pays through taxes and what we become through state investments (unbelievable but true: top secret for Spain; an example of public administration). Tha date has expired and a new date has been proposed.

Before August 9, Spanish Government and Generalitat have the mission to sign a document stablishing legal basis for Catalan funds when Catalan public services are about to collapse just because Spain has other priorities. Such mission comes from the Estatut, after all a Spanish law.

And still a third point is pending: The Tribunal Constitucional is to dictate if Catalan Estatut is legal. Such decision from half a dozen "wise men" comes after quite a long and accidental process: September 30 2005 90% of Catalan Parliament agree on a text after Zapatero promised he would respect the text coming from the Parliament (a constitutional counsel had already made the work); Zapatero and Catalan opposition leader Artur Mas renegociate and devaluate the text before the Spanish Cortes admit it. June 2006 comes the Catalan referendum and, although participation is low, the text is approved.

Now, Omnium Cultural and Plataforma pel Dret de Decidir are preparing massive responses to prevent the Tribunal from modifying a single word of what Catalan people already voted. If they do, the only possible answer will be a legitimacy crisis in Spain and a self-determination process widely open.

Wait and see? That's an option. But when it comes to democracy and human rights, I would not hesitate to support the victims of abuse. That's why the Spanish Empire is about to lose a new colony and continue its way to the origin, back to where they came from: Castilla.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A blogger on strike

I am glad to see that this blog is increasing its visitors number. I never pretended to make much more than an experiment, to see how many non-catalan-speakers would find interesting to read about the process towards an own state we are living. In fact, my blogger activity is fulfilled through another one I write in Catalan on Vilaweb. That blog has given me great satisfactions since I started on february 2006. But now, since June 1st, I'm on strike. On blog strike. Strange? Sure! Does it make any sense? I don't know it yet.

When I started blogging I found most opinions on newspapers neglected a topic I considered necessary: the right to self-determination. Nowadays it is quite usual to read about it. Sure, it's not because of my blog alone, but I hope it helped in any sense. Now the problem is a different one. Some surveys are saying Catalonia has a majority of people willing to vote for independence. In any modern european democracy, the data the Government is handling would be enough to stop and ask the people. But President Montilla doesn't. I'm not asking him to declare independence. I'm just asking him to let Catalan people talk through a referendum like they did in Montenegro or Kosovo or like Salmond's SNP wants to do in Scotland. If a YES comes out, we 'll see what follows.

We bloggers for independence go on discussing every little line we read, we keep discussing if a politician has a good strategy or a bad one to reach our goal as soon as possible. But when independence comes it will be through a democratic act which needs a majority. An obvious strategy for those who want Catalonia to continue in Spain is to neglect this point, to avoid discussing in this terms. Everyone has their right to defend a point of view, but democracy should be the way to solve it. So clear, so easy.

But there seems to be no democracy in Spain. Basque lehendakari Ibarretxe has planned a referendum for next October. He simply wants to ask the Basque people if they support a dialogue-driven process towards peace. Surprisingly enough, Spanish president Zapatero will not give permission for it.

I think we are risking the quality of our democracy. Some people might blog just for fun; others might do it as a therapy; maybe I do both, but I also blog because I think blogging is a way to create public opinion, and that leads to social change. When social change is possible through democratic expression, those who block it destroy social and public debate. What can we bloggers do, then? Our words become useless. We can protest through our posts. I have been doing it for months. But when words are useless, and since I reject violence, maybe silence is the way.

From June 1st, I am posting everyday a single line under the title "Blog strike for souverainity"; and as text, "Day X on strike". Occasionally I add some links to other relevant informations or to posts from other bloggers I add comments to. I will post again the day president Montilla recognizes the need to give the word to the people, the day he lets us decide on our future.

I will post again too if the three parties that recognize Catalan right to self-determination sit down and talk about how and when to it. It's easy and simple. So much, I can't understand they haven't done it yet. That's why I protest. That's why my blog is on strike.

My silence is a very little one. Insignificant. I am nothing but a blogger. But my reasons are powerful because they are simple.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Air Berlin or the mistake of a misinformed good company

An airlines company has no need to discuss on topics that depass their area. They can, of course; but there is no need. In any case, if they do, it should be on the basis of information. Otherwise, writing stupid things that might offend some clients can report bad consequences: loss of clients is the first and most imminent, but damage on corporate image is not less important.

On April 25th, I wrote about the case of Volkswagen's SEAT and how Mr. García Sanz had pronounced words that Catalans found offensive and how it had led to a bad image. Not a couple of months have passed and a new mistake comes from a German company: Air Berlin. Catalan newspapers and blogs are massively rejecting the company because of a text (in German) they had no need to publish.

Mr. Joachim Hunold tells he had a letter from the Balearic government where they politely ask to make a right use of the official languages in the Island in the communication with their clients. After all, Catalan is the language of Mallorca, where Spanish is also official. But despite such a polite and institutional petition, Mr Hunold decides to write on Air Berlin Magazine in a despective way. Surprisingly enough for a CEO Air Berlin, he comes out to digress, among other useless issues, on how Spanish is not taught or spoken anymore in the Balearic Islands, which is obviously false. It happens to be that both languages are official, and just because of that, both shoul be used by the Company. So simple, so easy. No need to make a war of it. No need to make a commercial problem of it. But now Mr. Other airlines enterprises like American Airlines, Ryanair or Clickair use Catalan as a usual and common thing, so why such a resistence and such despective answer? Hunold has put the company in a mess. See what.

Catalan digital newspaper Vilaweb has reported the incident. So does Avui, one of the most important ones. And not only the Balearic Government is responding, but also the responisble for the language policy in Catalonia, who happens to be Bernat Joan, former EU deputee. And, what's best, he's not alone. Right now, bloggers from all the Catalan Countries are posting about that miserable attitude showed by Berlin Airlines. They are using an image of the company with the nazi symbol added. Nazism is surely an extreme the company has not reached, but on the other pole we have the idea of a respectfull and efficient company. Hunold's trend seems to be looking at nazism much more than the other pole.

The investors and leading team of the company would make a good deal if they revised the incident. How was it possible. Who is misinforming them? Who is leading them to such despective attitudes? There was no need to be so agressive. Now, if we look for the company on Google, maybe we'll find more about their mistakes than about their good services. Bad strategy, Mr. Hunold.

Finally, the answer from the Catalan Countries is this letter we massively send to Mr. Hunold at

Herr Joachim Hunold

Generaldirektor Air Berlin

Sehr geehrter Herr Joachim Hunold,

Als katalanisch sprechender Bürger Mallorcas bin ich wirklich enttäuscht
über die unglücklichen Äusserungen, die in Ihrem Magazin zu lesen waren.*

*Es ist tatsächlich die Mehrheit der balearischen Bürger, die die
katalanische Sprache als Muttersprache hat, weshalb natürlich viele
Menschen bitter enttäuscht darüber sind, dass Ihre Sprache schlechtgemacht
wird; und dass im Hinblick auf die Tatsache, dass Mallorca einer der
wichtigsten wirtschaftlichen Standpunkte Air Berlins ist und zum Aufbau des
Air Berlin- Flugnetzes in entscheidendem Masse beigetragen hat. Insbesondere
die lange Zeit der sprachlichen Unterdrückung, welche die
katalanischsprachigen Teile des spanischen Staates unter General Franco zu
erdulden hatten, hat zur logischen Folge, dass die Bürger in der heutigen
demokratischen Gesellschaft mit und in ihrer Sprache leben möchten.*

*Ich bin mehr als überzeugt, dass der Service, ihre Fluggäste auch in
katalanischer Sprache zu informieren, von ihren balearischen Kunden als ein
schönes Zeichen der Verbundenheit Air Berlins mit Mallorca sowie den
anderen katalanischsprachigen Teilen des spanischen Staates verstanden würde
und in nicht zu unterschätzendem Masse zu einer weiteren Festigung der
deutsch-mallorquinischen Verbindung beitragen wird.*

Mit fereundlichen Grüssen,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

García Sanz and Seat: is Volkswagen trusting the right person?

Since july 2007, García Sanz is chairman of Board of Directors of SEAT, a Volkswagen company sited in Catalonia. You can read about his profile on Volkswagen. García Sanz was born in Madrid. I guess readers have sometimes heard about rivalty between Barcelona and Madrid in football, but beyond this sports stuff, I'm sure everybody knows there is a political conflict too, which unlike in the Basque Countries has found uniquely political ways. The ERC, for example, is a secessionist party having 21 of 135 parlamentaries, and is now part of the Government. Catalan identity is strong among the population although some people share it with Spanish feelings too. One of the most significant points is the internet domain .CAT for catalan-speakers. But surprisingly enough, if you tipe on your web browser you will be visiting SEAT Andorra, which is only a part of the linguistic zone and a state independent from Spain. For Spain, SEAT has one single domain: .ES. And not even a Catalan version oin it.

Any serious enterprise knows that identity and language can approach our product to people. In societies where identity conflicts are still alive this is increased. I imagine Volkswagen's aim is to make money selling cars, not to contribute to any nationalist project that could result in rejection. Spanish Government has a nationalist project which consists of using taxes to get money from Catalonia and than invest on infrastructures located in Madrid, thus developing the center. But this is not the case for Volkswagen. They only sell cars. Politics should not interfere on business. But in spite of this, Mr. García seems to be proud of being a Spanish nationalist and acts as if he was a politician. Certainly a bad one.

Last week Mr. Garcia gave a press conference at the Spanish Embassy in Berlin (El Periódico comments it) to announce the new car the company is going to sell at the end of the year. He said SEAT had big trouble to give a name to the car since almost all cities had already been used. At that point, a journalist commented that no SEAT car had the name of any Catalan city yet (Córdoba, León or Toledo are some names used). The answer was clear: “SEAT is a Spanish company”, where “spanish” means “not catalan at all”.

Now imagine a similar situation for a German company: imagine all cars have names of German cities from everywhere except for Baden-Württemberg. Someone suggests a Stuttgart and Mr. Garcia says: “Oh no, we are not using Schwäbish names! We are German!” In terms of business, I can not understand why Volkswagen is still trusting Mr. Garcia. In political terms, if Garcia was a politician, this is nothing new: Spain does not consider Catalonia to be a part of it. Spain is Spanish. Exclusively Spanish. But they take the money from Catalonia and they do not allow the right to decide.

Now take a look at Catalan media and blogs (here an example from Salvador Cardús, whom many people read and admire): lots and lots of people are saying they are not going to buy a SEAT car anymore. NEVER. So, where's the business now?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Who the hell was Guillem Agulló?!

If you write this name on Google Blog Search today, about five hundred results will show that something happens. I guess nobody knows who this guy was. Of course, the Spanish government will not say a word about it. He was killed by spanish radical nationalists fifteen years ago. Any democratic and human-rights-minded state would have made of him an icon, but this is not the case in Spain and it hardly is in Catalonia, where Spanish nationalism has also a certain presence.

Catalan media are not telling a word about it either. Radio and TV keep silent. But the truth remains the same: Guillem Agulló was killed 15 years ago by Spanish fascists who were never imprisoned. And unfortunately he was not the only one. More recently, Josep Maria Isanta was killed too. The media do not remember, but bloggers do. So, if you have a look at Vilaweb, to me the best digital from the Catalan Countries and and honourable exception, you will see many, many blogs with headlines such as "15 years withou Guillem Agulló" or "We don't forget, we don't forgive".

Spanish government can easily accuse 14-year-old Èric Bertran (more than 700.000 views on YouTube) of terrorism and take him to the National Audience, but extreme and real agressions seem to remain unpunished in Spain. Behind the smile of president Zapatero, democracy in Spain has important lacks in human rights.

I wish international journalism should focus on Spain some day. I wish people like John Pilger had a look at human rights in Spain. The world must know about it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An answer to an Italian visitor

A friend from Italy has visited this blog and added a comment on last post. I think he or she has an interesting point of view and I would like to reply to the expressed ideas. Here we go:

Thanks again for your interest. I'll try to answer briefly:

  1. Spain is a bad thing for us as long as the government takes lots and lots of our money to invest a very important part of it in Madrid. Spanish is bad for us as long as they are languages in contact, Catalan being in the worst position.

  2. There is a very important difference between dialects and languages. You KNOW Italian is not any Spanish dialect. Catalan is not either. They are all romanic languages. I'm sure you agree, but in any case this is an incontrovertible scientific true. That is why we cannot compare the use of Catalan, Galician or Basque in the Spanish parliament on the one side and italian dialects on the other. The linguistic reality in Spain is much more like Belgium than like Italy.

  3. Tourists visiting Catalonia will be able to communicate in several languages, including English, Spanish and obviously Catalan. Some Catalans have Spanish as a mother tongue, but most of them don't, so there is no empathy when using Spanish. When I go abroad, I consider Spanish an international language, not MY language. I do not feel anything special when Spain's football team celebrates a victory, and I do not feel anything special when someone talks to me is Spanish. Actually, it makes no sense to me if a German, a French or an Italian speaker talks to me in Spanish, because this is not my language. So, we don't want to be unpolite with tourists. We simply want to be natural. Spanish laws might say Spanish is official everywhere in Spain, but this does not mean we all have to speak Spanish all the time.

  4. If people from all around the world expect to be in Spain, as you say, to hear people speaking Spanish, then maybe there is a mistake in expectation. You see, it's not our fault. People who travel to Italy do not expect to eat pizza all the time. You really eat other things, don't you? Spain is diverse too: it is formed by four nations, each of them having their own language and culture. If people do not know that, we'll try to explain.

  5. You seem to ignore many aspects of Spanish history. You say: “I would easily understand your point if Catalunya was recently conquered by Spain and forced to be part of it... but Spain as we know it, it is this way since many years before our country was even formed!” Actually, the crucial date, the date of the loss of our souverainity, was 1714, but that was the culmination of many previous attempts. Besides, you should not forget Franco's dictatorship, which ended 1975. Not so far. And I know you will be surprised to hear about that, but right now the basis of the Spanish cultural empire is under suspicion. A Catalan investigator is showing a series of elements that lead to the need to reconsider how Spanish Kingdom could have used the Inquisition and its means to exterminate Catalan culture during the XVI century. Columbus might have been a Catalan, and America's discovery might have been a Catalan enterprise Castilia would have assumed as proper after changing things and deleting tracks. Some Siglo de Oro literary works are now under suspicion of cultural appropiation. El Lazarillo de Tormes could have been written in Catalan by a Valencian author, then translated to Spanish and finally all tracks destroyed. The same happens to La Celestina or Garcilaso de la Vega. If you read these works, Catalan tracks apear everywhere. And now the best: Don Quijote de la Mancha is under suspicion too for the same reason. Would you feel at ease in Italy if they had done so?

I hope this post has been useful to you and to anyone interested in the Catalan Countries and their way to independence. Do not hesitate asking for more explanations if you need them. Now you know a little more about us, and that will be good if you finally visit Barcelona. If you do, I'll be pleased to meet you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Catalonia welcomes Kosovo's independence

Maybe Spain doesn't, but Catalan blogs do. Although most of them are written in Catalan, Kosovo appears often on our postings. Despite the Spanish Government, we bloggers want to declare: we recognize Kosovo! Of course we do! Catalonia is on its way to an own state. Maybe we'll have to wait a little more than Scotland, but sooner or later we'll get to it. This is why our eyes have been set on Kosovo.

Last december, we could read this on the blog Wirdheim in Vilanova: "In Spain, Kosovo’s coming independence will for sure re-ignite the debate about Catalonia’s future status. There might exist a silent minority againt independence, as some politicians claim, but I am not sure any longer. What I do know, however, is that compared with former Yugoslavia on the one hand, and Basque Country ETA’s violent separatism, on the other, Catalans can pride themselves for peaceful and democratic methods. Visca Catalunya!"

Or read also these items:

Today Kosovo, tomorrow the Catalan Countries

While Kosovo declares independence, and just after Vladimir Putin referred to Spain as a state where UNO should stare at least as close as they do in Kosovo, Catalan bloggers have organized a new campaign to tell the world: today is Kosovo who declares independence, but tomorrow will be the Catalan Countries.
If you search for Kosovo and Catalonia or the Catalan Countries through Google, you will see several results under this same title. Other bloggers, like Tartan Hero, refer to Scotland and Catalonia too as the next ones.
Octavi Fornés, A clear-cut-case, or many others are following this idea that originally came from this blog:

Friday, February 15, 2008

55,8 pro independence in Catalonia

The Catalan Government has its own means to ask people about their political impressions. Every two or three months, a new issue of the Baròmetre d'opinió política lets us see the evolution of several lines. For instance, they ask people about the relationship Catalonia and Spain should have. They give four options:

1- a region in Spain
2- a comunitat autònoma (a special status with some souverainity, but in any case depending on the Spanish government; this is the up-to-date status)
3- a state in a federal Spain
4- an independent state

Since these issues exist, there is a clear and relatively fast evolution towards the third and the fourth options. According to the last data, published on February the 15th (today), 3,8 % think a comunitat autònoma is too much power of decision for Catalonia; they would prefer a more centralist government in Madrid. So, no need to bother about them.

Surprisingly enough, after a long time in which options 2 and 3 where running almost parallel, it's now that for the first time the amount of people wanting Spain to be a federal state of states is bigger than those who want to keep the current status (36.4 vs. 34,8). And I say "surprisingly enough" because only a year has passed since we accorded a new estatut (the legal text in which Spain gives to Catalonia a certain degree of power). So it seems that people are not satisfied with the current level of souverainity.

A much stronger position is reflected by those who want an independent state, those who would prefer to count as a state among others in Europe, without any kind of interference from Spain. They reach 19,4 %, the highest ever.

So if you join options number 3 and 4 the result is 55,8 % of the population want an own state, be it alone or in a federal state named Spain. The only problem is that nobody in Spain except for these Catalans do want to be federal. Someone will have to tell all these people...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

800 years ago, a king was born

Today, if you visit one of the most important sites in the Catalan Countries, the digital newspaper Vilaweb, you will see, at the right side of the screen, lots of blog posts referring to number 800. It has to do with a historical event: the birth of King James the First, who was to reconquer Valencia and Mallorca for the Catalan Nation. It is an important date, so journalist and blogger Vicent Partal, who is also the director of Vilaweb, proposed last monday that every catalan blog included on their posts a reproduction of the flag the King used and a part of the text that describes the facts he commited as a king.
This is a campaign that has its origin in what we call the Catosphere, a way to coordinate all the blogs for one unique purpose. New ideas for political expressions.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

European Union and democracy

Europe is about to see some inner changes. Last year we saw how scottish Alex Salmond drew a plan for independence from the UK, and we could also hear about big trouble in Belgium. But these are not the only countries where political challenges are being developed. This blog offers a point of view on the way to an own state for the Catalan Countries, and Spain has still another hot spot: the Basque Lands.

Lehendakari Ibarretxe was in Barcelona last thursday the 17th. The Pro-Right-To-Decide Plattform, the Souveraignity and Progress Plattform and the Center for Souveraignity Studies shared the struggle and the success on asking him for a conference where we had the chance to know about his plans. Ibarretxe has resolved that the basque society will speak for themselves next october the 25th. He's not to be conditioned by ETA's violence, but neither will he be by president Zapatero or whoever rules the Spanish government from march on.

The European Union has a new challenge in Spain. The usual principle is to respect every member's internal business, but the lack of democracy in Spain should make the difference. Ibarretxe does not want to declare independence. He just wants to ask people whatever they want to be. But Spain does not allow a democratic referendum. That's the way it is. As simple as true. Is Europe to allow such a constraint from Spain? Is Europe going to allow this injustice just on the basis of what Spanish Constitution says?

The European Union should face that there's a political problem in several points of the Union and that several state members are involved. The United Kingdom does not seem to be decided to impose anything against people's will. Neither should do Belgium. But be careful about Spain, because democracy seems to be secondary there. The right to decide, self-determination, is a right every european citizen has. Inhibition would be a mistake.

On these videos you can see how Ibarretxe was welcomed in Barcelona in the beginning and at the end of his speech, and also how kindly he tried to say a few words in Catalan, a language forbidden in Spanish Parliament.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Facebook faces Catalan Countries

Everybody knows what Facebook is. Well, almost everybody does. Every day more and more people log in and make friends, share applications, causes, and so on. Facebook is to be the Internet event in 2008. This could be specially the case for the Catalan Countries. On December the 18th I wrote about a new cause in Facebook for the independence of the Catalan Countries. Not even a month has passed and catalan presence in the net has increased considerably.

The paradox is that we have to log in from a Network, that means we have to choose the country we write from. Obviously, we'd like to choose Catalonia or Catalan Countries, but we can't because this is not a programmed option. That is way some catalans say they write from Andorra, which may be true but most often is'nt. So if we have a close look at what catalans are doing in Facebook, a reality stands out: we aim at a Catalan network, an own network, independent from Spain. Is that possible? Does Facebook really need to only consign the internationally and legally recognized countries? Can our .cat domain help?

Let's see: the group "How many catalans are there in Facebook" has 1.377 members. The group "We want a Catalan Network" has 1.241 members. Not much; I know. But what do statistics show about the current evolution. Isn't it true that catalans are perpetrating a massive arrival at Facebook? And what are we doing when we are already inside? Consider this: in its first month, the catalan secessionist cause for an own state has reached more than 400 members. That's something, isn't it?