Yesterday there was a referendum in around 170 towns in Catalonia asking the next question: Do you agree with Catalonia becoming a social, democratic and independent state, integrated in the EU?
More than 700.000 people were able to vote for a “Yes” or “Not”. The result is impressive. 94,9% of the people wants to be independent from Spain, 3,2% doesn’t want it, 1,6% was "none of the above" and 0,3% spoilt vote. 27% of participation, which means 200.000 people answering…
The referendum is symbolic, it has no political power because it was organized from civilian and social associations. But the result shows a social reality, which means a lot, and it will have a strong mass media power. Catalonia has the luck of non-having a terrorist group that gives an excuse to the Spanish government to cancel the same referendum in the Basque country. But at the end, who really wants to be Spanish?
The other day I was with some friends that were traveling to Barcelona and Perpignan and it pop up the political problem between Spain-Catalonia. They couldn’t understand the meaning, or the reason, about that feeling in the XXI century. We were talking a little bit and I’ll like to explain about this a bit better. I’ll try to be as objective as it’s possible because I want to show a problem more than trying to indoctrinate anyone. So I’ll write the common questions that always appear about this theme.
Who is independent? No one, neither Spain nor Germany nor France,… Everybody is under EU or other international organizations
Who want/is going to be independent? No one
Why? Because neither Spain nor Catalan/Basque independent organizations want to be independent from the EU
So what do they want? Go out of the Spanish government and become a state inside the EU
Why? because there is a non-Spanish feeling in a big group of the population.
And why is that? Because the politicians and mass media did very wrong
What do they did wrong? Many of them didn’t recognize and use the complexity of the Spanish society and the different sensibilities coming from the history of the different parts, the idiomatic diversity and different idiosyncrasy of the population.
How did that happened? Politicians have being to focused on power control instead of representing the citizens.
Mass media have been too politicized and showing outside of spain a fake image about the reality inside the borders. If you read about the same new in different newspapers, from Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao,… the perception of the event can be completely opposite. And the rest of the world only knows what newspapers from Madrid are telling. That´s why people get surprised when they get close to the real situation. Law closed some dissonant newspapers when they found they are telling non-politically convenient news to the rest of the world.
Why Spanish government will do this? Because Spanish “democracy” is only 31 years old, it was born under a dictatorship and there was no breaking with the past. Everything happened with the same people in the power. Spanish “democracy” is still a teenager, sometimes rebel, swashbuckler and childish and doesn’t want to recognize his own reality. There are still politicians and some other “power” positions ruled by the same people since the Franco time.
But a democratic process chooses politicians, isn’t it? The problem is that Spanish constitution is weak and ambiguous, this is an international opinion. With these different interpretations it has become “legal” to illegalize political parties, newspapers and social organizations. The definition about “terrorism” in spanish law has been criticized by the “spokesman” from the UE
But at least it’s something, right? Well, is not even that, because in the Spanish constitution there are some competences that they should be transferred to some communities. People have been waiting for almost 30 years and they never come. People get upset with those things.
But isn’t that controlled from the UE? It should be, maybe, but under the ambiguous Spanish constitution everything can happens, like illegalize political parties.
But if they are supporting terrorist they should be in jail, right? If we have a look to other international examples like Apartheid in South-Africa of Peace process in North-Ireland, no one of them illegalized the only legal way to solve the problem. They had different situations, but the attitude could help to solve many things. Here it seems that the objective is to silence the political problem rather than solving it and that makes the problem even bigger.
Is there any better option? I’m not a politician, but all this makes the people to feel very far again from police, politicians and mass media. This is getting the opposite result that some people will like, as one big and united Spain. This feeling makes people to act with civilian movements rather than political ones.
Like what? Peaceful civilian actions like the stickers with the Catalan Donkey, or the “CAT” from Catalonia in the car’s number plate instead of the “E” from Spain. Or this referendum itself. If there is a problem, it will pop up at some point.
But where are people going with that? I don’t know but at least people can express themselves and get over the fake silence that the Spanish government want to have in the rest of the state or the world.
But it has to be some political alternatives, right? I think the politicians have to play always the same game. That makes them to say, pact, and do things that in a short-term can be opposite than they should do, but they do only to get some power. This is the paradox about politicians, when that takes for too long people gets the feeling of being unrepresented. Like the new “Estatut” (local “constitution” for Catalonia) that doesn’t agree completely with no one.
Cannot that be done in the Basque Country as well? Not at the moment, because any action like that will be considered terrorism and everybody will be prosecuted and put into jail. This is the main excuse for the government that cancels every similar process. For that reason, a lot of people are in jail, tortured and the problem is getting bigger and bigger rather than solving it. You can check the reports about torture from Amnesty International to confirm that.
But, any way, what’s the point to become independent in this century? Will that be better then? Nobody knows, of course, but you always have the hope of that. I don’t know if this is the only solution, but it is one at least. And nowadays I don’t see any other one on the table. For many people It’s a question of historical and cultural identity, for others it’s an economical reason, for others it’s a right to govern themselves, for others it’s the only chance to believe again in the politicians as a representation of the population.
But one thing is for sure and we can see it after the referendum. This is an actual and a real feeling from a big part of the population. We are not talking about the past and, as an actual problem, it has to be solved somehow, not be silenced, because the problem will be there anyway getting bigger and bigger.