Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My name is Dani and I am Catalan

My name is Dani and I am Catalan. Do you know what Catalonia is? Probably, most of you will not, but you will by the end of this post. Catalonia is a little country between Spain and France. In fact, we are a nation without state. We speak our own Romance language, Catalan. We have a very rich culture, with world famous writers, scientists, artists, musicians.

Catalonia was annexed to Spain in 1714 against our will and, since then, we have been part of Spain with Catalan language being persecuted, punished and banned by several Spanish governments many times through history without any reasonable argument.

I was born during the early years of democracy, I did not know the Spanish dictator, I did not live the Civil War, I did not live a lot of historical moments. My mom was born here in Catalonia and my father moved in the 60's with his family, when he we was only 2 years old, looking for a better future. My grandparents are from the South of Spain, and when they were young, and due to the terrible consequences of the Civil War, they decided to emigrate to Catalonia. At that time, Catalonia was completely subdued by the Spanish dictator Franco. They settled in and started a family. My mom was born Catalan, my father is Catalan, I was born Catalan, and my sons will be Catalan.

Probably by now you are wondering why I am so proud to be Catalan. The answer is not easy, but it is clear to me: to be Catalan is not about feelings, it is a way of life. My parents learned Catalan in the streets, at cultural associations, playing with their friends, because it was banned from schools and from public life by the dictator. Fortunately, when I went to school, Catalan was restored both in schools and in public life, bringing a fresh breath of freedom after so many years of being underground. I learned both Spanish and Catalan at the same time, and now I can speak two languages, I can read in two languages, I can listen music in two languages, I can do a lot of things in two languages. In fact, I can speak three languages, because I also speak English.

I know, I have not answered my question yet, but this previous explanation was necessary to better understand our social and political situation. We Catalans are friendly people, peaceful, curious and honest. However, the fact that we are different from the rest of Spain, except perhaps from the Basque Country and Galicia, who also have their own language and culture, produces all kinds of strong reactions against us. We are respected by lots of people and, in fact, I have lots of Spanish friends that I love and respect—and they me.

However, many others are not respectful towards our culture and our nation. The funny thing is, ironically (typical of Catalan sense of humor), there is not a single reason for this hatred, isn't that funny? I do not take issue with the Spanish people, but it seems that some of them do so against us. There is even a Spanish private TV station that keeps insulting us day by day, without any public disapproval by the Spanish government. Anything remotely Catalan elicits a nasty reaction from these Spaniards.

On the other hand, an increasingly larger portion of Catalans are opening their eyes to our subjugation to Spain. Recent polls show that if we were independent, our economy would be expanding, not contracting,  that we would have higher salaries and fewer  taxes. The Spanish government has ignored investing in infrastructures for Catalonia for a long time. Other parts of Spain have been favored economically by the Spanish government, in spite of Catalonia being Spain’s main economic motor, together with the Basque Country.

What would happen if we were independent, if we finally achieved what belongs to us? Probably, the Spanish economy would collapse. There are other parts of the world in the same situation, such as Quebec. The difference is that English-speaking Canada has tried to convince Quebec instead of despising and accusing them for all their troubles. What’s happening in Scotland?

I want Catalonia’s independence because I am fed up of being always accused of all the bad things happening in Spain. I am fed up of being discriminated against just because I speak Catalan. I am fed up of being appreciated just when it's time to pay the bills. We are giving a free ride to people who are doing nothing to improve their own economic, social, and political situation, and who rely on government aid, and who are maintained in great part by Catalonia.

The worst thing is that we are hated for reclaiming for what belongs to us. Fortunately, not everybody is like this, and I am really convinced that when we finally become neighbors instead of roommates, our relationship will be better and stronger. Maybe I am a romantic who thinks that you can keep loving your ‘partner’ of 300 years after splitting up with them. The only thing I know for sure is that Catalonia is a country, a nation without its own state, but the day is getting closer when our nation will be free, once and forever.

Dani. @dcbcn

7 comentaris:

  • Helena Bonals says:
    July 11, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    M'ha agradat molt aquesta entrada, carregada de raó.

  • Julian C. says:
    July 11, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Ben dit, Dani. Jo soc americà, de mare catalana. La meva llengua materna es el català i ho conservo com puc. Estic orgollós dels meus arrels catalans i no voldria que Calalunyna tornès als temps del "se prohibe ladrar". Es per això que uneixo la meva veu al crit de "Visca Catalunya lliure".

  • Graham Howe says:
    July 14, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Ben dit, Dani. Jo sóc anglès però em vaig enamorar de Catalunya el 1968 quan, irònicament, m'hi van enviar per aprendre el castellà. Des de llavors m'he adonat que, per molt diferents que siguin les nostres cultures, els catalans i els britànics compartim el mateix sentit d'humor, cosa molt important per a mi. Estimo molt als meus amics catalans i us desitjo molta sort en la vostra lluita per guanyar la independència.

  • Jofre Pervez says:
    July 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    MOLT BON TEXT...MOLTES GRÀCIES I ENDAVANT... ENHORABONA...

  • Arnau Estanyol says:
    July 15, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Good job Dani. I'm a Catalan and I agree with you. It's very necessary for our survival as a people and as a human beings get away from Spain. Spain represents for Catalonia a very heavy ballast who prevents our own development. Spain always has been a leech for us. All our resources have been stolen and wasted in useless Pharaonic works, the majority surrounding Madrid which for Spaniards is the center of universe. No matter the others, even they be Spaniards too.
    I hope your message reach the maximum diffusion. We are democrats and we want our freedom, that's all.
    Thanks so much.

  • help Catalonia says:
    August 19, 2012 at 6:38 AM

    Julian i Graham, comentaris com els vostres ens omplen d'esperança. Especialment el teu, Julian, americà de naixement, amb els conceptes clars pel que fa a la conservació de la pròpia identitat. Gràcies!

  • Carla Suarez says:
    September 29, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    My name is Carla and I'm also catalan from the heart. I was born in Peru, but I have lived in Catalonia for 19 years. For familiar reasons I moved to Madrid and I can confirm that there is an explicit campaign in Madrid against Catalonia and the catalans. It's incredible how the central government can allow this. The local news service in Madrid spends 80% of their time broadcasting news about Catalonia that are either not true or will seriously damage catalan's reputation. I struggled every day and every minute I spent there to explain the people around me that Catalonia and the catalans are DIFFERENT, not better nor worst, just a region that has all the necessary elements to be considered a separate nation. The people are different, think different,talk different, behave different and act different from Spain. I have always told my husband that when I left my beloved Catalonia, I also left part of my heart, and going to Madrid seemed like moving to another country. Now I don't live in Spain anymore, mainly because the 5 years I lived in Madrid convinced me that Spain was not a good place to raise my kids. I will come back home one day, probably for retiring. But living abroad will help me supporting this cause, spreading the word of the reality of Catalonia. Visca Catalunya Lliure (I speak and write catalan, but I wanted to post this comment in English to make sure everybody understands every single word).

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