Without doubt, the world has changed dramatically in the past couple of years. With the ‘Arab Spring’, people in many countries have spoken out, demonstrated and changed the focus of power. Governments have been overthrown, reforms have been made and sadly in Syria war is still devastating the country. The impact of these revolutions doesn’t seem to have stopped there, though.
In Spain, the Separatist movements of the Basque Country and Catalunya have been enjoying a steady revival. In fact, for the first time in history the majority of the Catalan population is in favour of independence. On the 11th September Catalunya celebrates its national day (La Diada), which marks their defeat against the troops of Felipe V and the subsequent loss of independence.
Every year on this day, Catalan people take to the street to celebrate the very identity of their culture and have made it an objective to hold demonstrations in order to raise awareness of the Separatist movement and become the new European state. Catalunya, nou estat d’Europa happens to be the tag line for the demonstration!
In these few days leading up to the 11th, organizers have erected stands at various points around the city (e.g. Passeig de Gràcia, Plaça de Catalunya) to sell Catalan flags and distribute information about the movement. I picked up a flyer in English, which you can see below.
Whilst I haven’t got to know a lot of Spain yet, I feel that Catalunya does have a very strong sense of identity, which is very different to that of other regions in Spain. It is something they are very proud of and eager to protect. And of course, economics always has a part to play - the Financial Times summarizes this well.
Whether or not you support the independence movement or think it’s likely to happen, it’s important to try to understand the arguments and why many people here feel so strongly about it. On the 11th we will see just how strong that sentiment is.