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1.22.2013

Catalan-bashing

Thank you, Nico Krisch (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin & IBEI, Barcelona) for your clear statement in response to Joseph Weiler's recent harangue against Catalonia's independence process. 

I have added my own short comment, which I reprint here (having corrected some typos!):

Vitoria concedes graciously that it is “always possible to look for historical, political or sociological reasons to justify” an independence process such as the Catalan one, as if there were other ways of justifying them. Such processes do not take place in a vacuum. People in an advanced society such as Catalonia do not just go mad and follow the nearest wild-eyed caudillo they bump into.

On the contrary, Catalans are a “nation of shopkeepers”, as pragmatic and down-to-earth as they come. What is going on in Catalonia has been coming slowly to the boil over decades. In the context of an undoubtedly increasing centralist sentiment in most of the rest of Spain, Catalan federalists (and make no mistake, federalism in Spain was born 150 years ago… in Catalonia!) has run out of support – and steam -, even at home, in the face of repeated displays of centripetalism and lack of loyalty and respect for the Catalans. There is a widespread feeling that Catalonia has just one big, huge, vast problem, and that is Spain.

Moreover, and significantly, most Catalans have stopped believing any promise, any hint of searching for solutions, from Madrid (a truly beautiful city nevertheless!). Witness to this has been the utter failure by anyone there to do anything about the 2010 constitutional court ruling, or to reach out to the 1·5 million Catalans that chanted “Independence!” in the largest demonstration in Western Europe since the end of WW2 and say “Hey! What’s up? Let’s sit down and find a solution".

Instead they’ve even threatened to stop sending organs to Catalonia for transplants. Literally. In any other civilised country that gentleman would have been sacked on the spot. Catalan-bashing has long been a fruitful pastime, bolstered by negative stereotypes fostered in the 17th century, during the war that allowed the Portuguese to regain their sovereignty. 

Many Catalans clamour for that same aim, with the voting card as their only weapon.And by the looks of things, the Spanish government will continue to do all it can to prevent that happening.
Baròmetre de l'ús del català a Internet