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.