martes, diciembre 12, 2017

Catalonia’s right to self-determination, by Peter Bush

July 10, 2010, Barcelona (© Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images)

Catalonia’s right to self-determination

I lived in Barcelona for eleven years (from 2003 to 2014), and, although I now live in Oxford, I still visit regularly with my family. My wife is Catalan, and one of my daughters is an Anglo-Catalan teenager – at home we switch constantly between Catalan, English and Spanish.
I mention this to underline that I have first-hand knowledge of Catalan society and the roots of the present conflict over the referendum for self-determination called by the Catalan government for October 1: a conflict that Madrid-based politicians and journalists try to portray as an act of lunacy led by a handful of “retrograde nationalists” who, in the twenty-first century, seek to revive a debate over identity and erect frontiers between peoples. They shamelessly describe those fighting for Catalan sovereignty as fascists, and compare the situation in Catalonia to that in Germany in the 1930s. Rather than attempt to find a political solution to the political problem Catalonia has had since 2006, politicians who will not even repudiate Francoism continually parade the ghost of Hitler in interviews and television debates to delegitimize the Catalan movement for independence.
Catalonia certainly has its own language and culture and has defended them tooth and nail over the centuries. Neither the Decreto de Nueva Planta issued by Philip V in 1716, abolishing the institutions of Catalonia, nor successive waves of repression, including the forty years of the Franco dictatorship, succeeded in making Catalans renounce their wish to regain self-government, use their language or develop their rich literary tradition. Nevertheless, what is now happening in Catalonia has very little in common with European nationalist movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


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