diumenge, 5 de febrer de 2012

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Citizens' Voice Series

Quim Tella

I have always identified myself as a Catalan and independentist. For 20 years I have kept a conciliating and pedagogical attitude towards Spaniards. My job as a salesman has brought me during the last two decades to all Spanish territories and in all of them, with the exception of the Basque Country where it is obviously unnecessary, I have tried to make my acquaintances familiar with the Catalan social and cultural reality.
It goes without saying that the everlasting campaign in Spanish nationwide and local media had already predetermined a clearly hostile attitude against Catalan issues in the majority of my interlocutors. It required a good deal of reciprocal personal appreciation and empathy to speak about such controversial topics.

I always tried to use well documented rationale, while discussing about Catalan historical rights, the huge problem with the fiscal deficit, or when I was trying to make them understand that one cannot erase a culture that was born one thousand years ago just because it has been included in a state with a different culture and language.

My conclusions always tried to reach the same goal: let Spaniards know that our struggle is not against anybody or anything, that we do not want our independence because we despise Spanish culture or history or anything. I also wanted to make them understand that, in spite of what was said in deceitful media campaigns, Catalonia has always been an open country respectful with the wealth of cultures and traditions of those who decided to emigrated there.

When a greater intimacy allowed to discuss more profound issues, I used to argue that no one should ever fight against his own feelings, against the very words that flow from his mouth when he is speaking a language which has been preserved thanks to the sacrifice of so many people before. I simply tried to describe the amazing feeling that a traveler experiences when coming back after a long time and contemplating the landscape of his homeland he has the undeniable feeling that he is back home.

I also liked to use as an argument the many cases that have occurred all around the world in recent times, where countries with specific cultural and linguistic traits have become sovereign states, and have been even recognized as such by Spain.

However, after so many years, after hundreds of conversations and so many attempts with people of varying social extraction and intellectual background, my conclusion is as clear as disappointing: you just cannot explain something to somebody who refuses to understand. Despite the spin campaigns in the Spanish media, any Spaniard willing to have his own opinion could easily obtain, with the currently available resources, objective information about Catalan issues. But they just do not want to. They are overwhelmed by a feeling of fear which turns into hatred, envy and rejection.

I am going on with my work, traveling throughout Spain, and I manage to keep a good relationship, even friendship, with many Spaniards. However, my position has changed. I no longer expect anything from them. I have realized that it is hopeless to expect them to understand our claims. I know that, if it depended on them, Catalonia would never be a free country.

Nowadays, when a conversation gets dangerously close to the Catalan issue, I just cut it out, in a polite but resolutive way. With a sad and hard look in my eyes, although I try to avoid it, my answer now is a simple: No Comment.

Quim Tella

3 comentaris:

  • Inma Lazaro says:
    5 de febrer de 2012 a les 6:10

    Sad but true. I have experienced the same. Moreover, there seems to be the license for all of them to be disrespecful to catalans, whereas we are expected to pretty much apologize for what we are.
    There is no hope for this to change, really. We just need to break free from them and go our way.

  • @dcbcn says:
    6 de febrer de 2012 a les 0:18

    I completely agree. I also travel throughout Spain and no argumentation is possible with spaniards. They feel that you are attacking their culture when is on the other way around. I am tired to try to explain than we are not enemies, we are only different and we want justice for our millenary culture. Freedom for our country!

  • Joan Rius Ximenis says:
    6 de febrer de 2012 a les 16:55

    Our efforts need to be targeted in catalan people still reluctant to be independent. Explanations to spaniards are a waste.
    Catalonia´s independence it´s on catalan citizens. Once we get important political parties involved in the cause no one will stop it.

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