dimecres, 15 d’agost de 2012

Cheers, and Visca Catalunya Lliure!

Hugo Cano

You don’t need to have been a great student—in fact, you only need a quick look at Wikipedia—to understand that Catalonia is rooted deeply in centuries past, having grown from a series of communities with a common identity.

From the first man found in Banyoles to the current Catalan President, Artur Mas, Catalonia has certainly come to constitute the national home for a diversity of people—and, should the will of its people prevail, Catalonia will become a sovereign state.

However, thirty-nine years of Francoist* ideology,  determined to crush Catalan identity, were able to silence this cultural, historical, and very human need for a unique people to define their nation, and eventually become a sovereign state to participate in the international, geopolitical arena.

When a group of people share a cultural heritage based on a language with more than 1,500 years of history, they will know, believe, and feel that they too deserve the right to independence, because a nation exists inherently—and when one does, its people will surely clamor for recognition.
Now, we needn’t refer specifically to political separatism when we talk about a Free Catalonia (Catalunya Lliure, in Catalan). We’re talking about a right, a reality, and a historical truth that was stolen over the course of many centuries by the media and by the political establishment in Spain and France.

When people ask me why I believe in the right to self-determination, all I can say is this: it’s not that I believe in flags or in nation-states. Frankly, I believe that geopolitical division in this world is one of the greatest lies in the history of humankind, perpetuated by ruling elites to maintain their power and steal away from the rights of men and women. But I do believe in the basic right for all peoples held together by a common heritage and identity to be themselves. I believe in self-reliance, sustainability, democracy.

I love Catalonia, its people, culture and language (which I study), and I support the Catalan people’s right to decide their own destiny, just as I do for Basques, Palestinians, Western Saharans—indeed, all the world’s indigenous peoples and disenfranchised ethnic groups. I detest the cesspool of hate in which the media and politicians are drowning us. My DNA says that I’m Spanish, and so does my passport, but I’m beyond all of that.

After having lived more than five years away from my country in different corners of the world, immersed in various cultures, my eyes have been opened to an undeniable reality. I unabashedly support Catalonia’s right to self-determination, to be a nation with a state—even though I honestly don’t believe that Catalan politicians are any better. Today’s Tarradellas are few and far between. Cheers, and Visca Catalunya Lliure!

*In Spain, people often refer to dictator Francisco Franco’s ideology as franquismo or ‘Francoism’—a term invented to obscure the brutal reality of government in 20th-century Spain.

4 comentaris:

  • Jared Baglietto says:
    16 d’agost de 2012 a les 23:00

    Hi guys. I'm from Gibraltar and a very keen fan of Catalunya! I've ben to Barcelona countless number of times and will be heading there this October to watch Barca-Madrid. Many of my fellow Gibraltarians argue that Catalunya is just the same as Spain because many Catalans celebrate Spain's victories in the World Cup and Euros. They also argue that Catalan football players should boycot playing for Spain if they are that interested in independence. I'd be grateful to hear a Catalan's opinion on this. Gracies, Visca Catalunya!

  • Arnau Estanyol says:
    18 d’agost de 2012 a les 4:39

    Hi Jared. My point of view on you said about aptitude of catalans players comes, or it's consequence of the Spanish laws. I don't know if your friends have realized of the low level of democracy in Spain. The sport law says that any player that refuse play with any Spanish national team can be penalized losing his federal registration and thus be disabled to practice their sport in Spanish territory.
    You can imagine what happens when a sportsman or sportswoman lose his/her work.
    All sportsman who has said he would like to play with a Catalan national team has been insulted and threatened with death through the Spanish media or via twitter, facebook...
    Spain are afraid, are scared because if they lose the Catalan or Basque sport they will not win even half of the medals or championships they're winning now. So, Spanish government use the force of their laws to maintain their status over the Catalan sport and for maintain the patriotism feeling over Spaniards. They have a said: "Una, Grande y Libre" (one, big and free) referring to Spain. Nowadays Spain is just the opposite, nor one, nor big, nor free.

  • help Catalonia says:
    19 d’agost de 2012 a les 6:27

    Professional football players, like any other workers in Catalonia, face a constant choice between being good professionals and supporting their country—these two don't always coincide. Does it make sense to ask that Catalan athletes make a sacrifice that many Catalan politicians are not ready to make? On the other hand, it might be a welcome development, reflecting political integrity.

  • Jared Baglietto says:
    23 d’agost de 2012 a les 6:17

    Arnau, thank you for your reply. I understand that like everyone, sports athletes need to make a living and risk far too much for uncertain outcomes. I as well as Gibraltar are well aware of the Fascism that lives on in Spain. Such is the harsh realities when a people just let their dictator rule, die in peace and then restore the king to the throne as a "gesture of good will". I'm sure you guys have stories of Guardia Civil oppression in Catalunya. We have plenty in our borders with Spain.

    Another fun fact you guys may not be aware of.The RFEF has blocked Gibraltar's national team from entering UEFA for so many years now. It's because of this that Gibraltarians hate Spain's team. Personally, I think they are directing their anger at the wrong people. So really, Catalunya and Gibraltar are in the same problem. I really desire Catalunya to represent their own national team, I did after all spend 5 hours in Las Ramblas looking for a shirt :). Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya, especially for tonight's match!!

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