Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pompeu Fabra, the university professor

"Pompeu Fabra always used to speak without much emphasis, in an almost colloquial manner. His explanations were absolutely clear and his scientific rigour, with a touch of irony here and there, and even, at times, jokes, was perfectly adapted to his educational intentions. He did not want to be seen as brilliant, he wanted to communicate and persuade. The wise man masqueraded as the professor […]"
(Alfred Badia, to Jordi Mir (1998): Memòria de Pompeu Fabra. 50 testimonis contemporanis, Proa.) [Memory of Pompeu Fabra. 50 Contemporary Testimonies, Proa.].
As mentioned in his biography, he studied industrial engineering - to please his family- and held a professorship at the Engineering School in Bilbao, where he lived for ten years (1902-1911). However, his firm vocation was always linguistics, Catalan and languages in general.
In 1911, when called upon by Enric Prat de la Riba, then president of Barcelona county council, he moved to Barcelona, where he was appointed to the professorship of Catalan created by the county council, a post he lost under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-30).
On the demise of the dictatorship, he was directly appointed professor of the University of Barcelona (1932), without going through the normal channels, compulsory up until then, of taking public examinations for the post. Shortly afterwards, when the University became autonomous, he was made chairman of the university board (1933), and was subsequently imprisoned (1934) for a few months as a result of this post, following the so-called Fets d'Octubre [October Incidents]. Notes taken by some of his students have survived to serve as witness to his dedication to the university. Some of these notes have been published (those by Pere Galtés, Recull de les lliçons del curs de català superior 1933-1934 pel mestre En Pompeu Fabra, [Collection of Lessons from the Advanced Level Catalan Course 1933-1934 Given by Professor Pompeu Fabra], and those of Joan Miravitlles, Apunts taquigràfics del Curs superior de català (1934-1935) professat per Pompeu Fabra a la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona[Shorthand Notes of the Advanced Level Catalan Course (1934-1935) Given by Pompeu Fabra at the Autonomous University of Barcelona]); these and other unpublished notes will be published in the Obres completes [Complete Works] of Fabra, which are in the process of being published.
In 1945, at the age of 77 and in exile, Fabra was appointed doctor honoris causa by the University of Toulouse.
PortadaAUTOR: Fabra, Pompeu
TÍTOL: Apunts taquigràfics del curs superior de català, 1934-1935
PUBLICAT: Andorra la Vella : Erosa, 1971

Read more »

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Carles Puigdemont new Catalonia's president towards independence

The coalition Together for Yes (JxSÍ) and Popular Unity Candidates (CUP) have agreed to the presidency of the new Catalan regional government. Thus on January 10 Carles Puigdemont, of JxS, has been declared the 130th President of the Generalitat until now mayor of the city of Girona. The agreement provides for the proclamation of an independent Catalan state within a maximum period of 18 months. CUP and JxS have most of the Catalan parliament with 72 seats over 135 MPs.

Puigdemont has been elected by 70 yes against 63 not and two abstentions.

Read more »

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Agreement to form new Catalonian goverment after Mas steps aside

Independentists forces struck a last-minute agreement today to form a new government to work towards independence from the Kingdom of Spain.

It brings an end to more than three months of deadlock between "Together for Yes" (Junts pel Sí) secessionist alliance and the more radical, far-left separatist CUP party that together hold a majority in the Catalan parliament.

The agreement supposes Artur Mas stepping aside to seal the deal. "This is not an easy decision, but it is a coherent decision. I am stepping aside and will not be standing as a Together for Yes candidate for the re-election of president of the autonomous government."

Girona mayor Carles Puigdemont will be elected tomorrow as the 130th Catalonia's President. Together for Yes won 62 seats in the 135-seat parliament in regional elections in September -- but were unable to form a government with the CUP, which held a crucial extra 10 seats, due to bitter disagreement over Mas.


Read more »

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Corsican nationalists won a historic victory

The Mediterranean island of Corsica, a territory with a far greater degree of self-government than is the norm in “metropolitan France”, has experienced a significant shift to parties representing various strands of Corsican autonomous sentiment, from cautious regionalists to progressive nationalists. Though their combined support was slightly down when compared to the previous elections in 2010, the creation of a joint “list” between the majority Femu a Corsica a and the minority Corsica Libera yielded the new alliance, Pè a Corsica or “For Corsica”, just over 35% in the decisive second round of voting. This was enough to give them nearly half the seats in the Assemblea di Corsica or Corsican Assembly. From the Guardian newspaper:

“Corsican nationalists have won a historic and unexpected victory in France’s regional elections, gaining two seats short of an outright majority on the island. The Pè a Corsica (For Corsica) list won more than 35% of the votes in the second round of polls on Sunday, giving it 24 of the 51 seats in the local authority council. Nationalists, who joined forces with those seeking independence from French control for the run-off vote, are now the Mediterranean island’s main political force.

In what was the only four-way battle in the French regional elections, Gilles Simeoni, who is also the mayor of Bastia, the island’s second city, won 35.34% of the vote, well ahead of the leftwing alliance led by Paul Giacobbi, who polled 28.49%, and the centre-right candidate who obtained just over 27%.

Corsica’s increasingly powerful nationalist and independence movements are opposed to France’s cultural and political dominance over the island, which it annexed in 1768. Nearly two and a half centuries have not strengthened the bond between the island and Paris.

There are at least two branches of nationalism on Corsica: nationalists who seek reform aimed at promoting Corsican identity, and hardline independence seekers who want the island to break free of France. The nationalists will have two years to prove themselves in power. Local authority reorganisation means Corsicans will be called on to vote again in two years.”

Read more »

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Catalan Police upgrade website, in bid to gather more counter-terrorism intelligence from citizens

The Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police force) have expanded their website, making it possible for citizens to report suspicions of terrorist activity. In addition, it informs citizens about the terrorism alert level (currently 4 over 5) and explains how security forces act in each level. Speaking in Valls on Thursday, 10 December, Interior Minister Jordi Jané explained that the goal of the revamped website was to “lay down patterns prompting trust, proximity, and information” through open channels. He said that, in addition to the web, citizens could get in touch with police on the phone or by e-mail, adding “we expect citizens' cooperation”. The minister asked people to forward to the Mossos d'Esquadra “suspicious news”, given that they may contribute “most valuable information to face a threat from which nobody is immune”. Information provided to the Catalan police will be confidential, and agents will ensure providers' privacity.

The telephone number to report suspicious terrorist activity is 937 285 220, or 112 in the event of an emergency. The e-mail account for such purposes is The minister explained that citizens could still directly visit a police station if they preferred. Jané added that the revamped website would also help combat false rumours of terrorist attacks.

Alex Calvo is an expert on defence and security in the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region. He tweets at Alex__Calvo and his work can be found here.

Read more »

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Àngel Colom: “Barcelona must have a grand mosque financed by moderate Islam”

We are visiting Àngel Colom, director of the Fundació Nous Catalans (New Catalans Foundation), a few hours before the latest arrests of alleged recruiters of Jihadist combatants in Catalonia. He welcomes us in the organization's headquarters, located in the central quarter of Santa Coloma de Gramenet (Barcelona conurbation).

- La Razon (Madrid-based daily) has written on its front page (Catalan President) “Mas and Junqueras' New Catalans travel to Syria to join the IS”. Are you aware of anybody connected to the Foundation that you head being fighting in Syria?

Absolutely not. Neither fighting in Syria nor merely supporting Jihadism.

- La Razon also says that, according to counter-terrorism sources, there are 10-12 combatants from Catalonia in Syria, having emerged from the milieu of New Catalans and (second-largest Catalan party) ERC's immigration working group. Can you vouch for the fact this is not the case?

Long ago I learned not to vouch for anything or anybody. However, from what I know and from the work that we are doing with the Muslim community, I can state that all of this is a fabrication by this Spanish nationalist pamphlet. It is a lie.

- Maybe the origin of the report lies in your tight connection with the Muslim community …

One thing is the religion of Islam, as respectable as any other, and a different thing is Islamist ideology. If, in Catalonia, there is an organization working to ideologically combat radical Islamism and stand side by side with democrats from the whole of Europe and all over the world, that is us. I do not know whether La Razon is aware of this, but Spain's Interior Ministry and security forces are.

- Why do you believe that this report surfaced?

They try to link the independence movement to Jihadism. It is one of their long-standing obsessions.

- Who is behind this?

- The PP (Popular Party) administration, the CNI (National Intelligence Centre), and a number of Madrid-based media outlets.

- Is there any chance that somebody, who was connected to your Foundation at some specific point in time, may have later radicalised?

If so, it would be a very rare exception, but I am not aware and very much doubt it. The people who come here know that they are working in a project whose values are completely opposed to Jihadist Fascism. Therefore, I am very calm.

Jihadism is Fascist

- Are there Jihadists in Catalonia?

There is a small radical minority, as in all over Europe. However, it is here where one must distinguish Islamists from Muslims. I said earlier that I was not vouching for anybody, but I do vouch for the huge majority of Muslim Catalans who have nothing to do with Jihadism. Look, here we also have a minority of Catalan Fascists of Catholic extraction who demonstrate on 12 October (Spanish national day) in Montjuïc, and we do not stigmatize Catholic religion as a result.

- Are there radical Imams in Catalonia?


- Do you (the Foundation) know who they are?

Yes, and sometimes we have reported them.

- Such as?

Abdelwahab Houzi, an imam in Lleida (one of Catalonia's four provincial capitals, in the West), who for years has been preaching an intolerant, mediaeval, sectarian Islam. In the past the local council buttered him up a few times. Now he is under greater control, but keeps preaching. Another case is an Imam in Reus (Southern Catalonia) who comes and goes from the Netherlands, and in Torredembarra (nearby town) they hold a gathering during Easter bringing together 3,000 of the faithful, who listen to sermons by Imams from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, Spain's police and Civil Guard (constabulary-type police) know it.

I do not understand why the Spanish Government does not expel radical Imams

- And, don't they do anything about it?

No. And I wonder why, knowing what they do and having identified them, they do not arrest and expel them. France and Italy do.

- What is your response to this rhetorical question?

Look, the current chairman of the Islamic Commission of Spain (officially recognized umbrella organization), Mr Mounir Benjelloun Andaloussi Azhari, is somebody ideologically close to Justice and Charity, a movement banned in Morocco.

- Banned?

It is considered illegal and terrorist.

- Why?

It defends deposing the King of Morocco and setting up a caliphate. Needless to say, this is exactly what the IS defends. The thing is that a gentleman who supports this movement is the representative of Muslims in Spain, with the green light from the CNI and the PP administration.

- Have you reported this?

I have talked about this with European experts on Jihadism and they do not understand anything. We find ourselves in a situation where the Spanish Government, which is not working for the security of everybody, is accusing us, us who fight radical Islamism, of connivance with radicalism.

- When incidents such as those in Paris take place, a portion of Catalan society demands a more robust public rejection by the Muslim community against radicals' violence. Do you also miss that?

Years ago I used to think this same way, and I thought that it had to be solved. Now, thanks to extensive talks, Muslim communities have evolved in this direction. After the Paris terror attacks there have been gatherings to condemn them, with more than 80 Muslim communities from all over the country present, to denounce those who claim to be acting in their name. It is true that no gathering involving thousands of people has taken place. However, if it was necessary some day, and I hope it is not necessary, it will take place. Do not doubt it.

- How is the integration of Muslims in our country progressing?

For more than one year we have been working on a National Plan to achieve a country-wide agreement solving the fitting of Muslims into Catalonia. If we do it right, it will serve the purpose of further isolating the tiny minority that radical Islamists amount to.

I would not accept a mosque financed by Qatar or Saudi Arabia

- Does a way to make Muslims feel even more at home involve building Barcelona's famous grand mosque?

For years I have been defending the view that Barcelona cannot be the capital of the Mediterranean if it lacks a grand mosque which is furthermore an architectural jewel.

- Do you understand the reticence displayed by a portion of Catalan society when they hear grand mosque and Barcelona? Not to mention this is a very attractive issue, from a political perspective …

This will come into being of its own accord. In very few years we should be able to lay down the foundation stone of a mosque, of which I want to feel equally proud, as the Catholic Catalan I am, as if it were Sagrada Familia and Santa Maria del Mar (next to Fossar de les Moreres military cemetery, in Barcelona). 

-What shall we do with prejudices?

We must leave them behind. Together with fears and political correctness.

- How should the construction of this grand mosque take place?

The city's local council, together with political parties, must initiate the setting up of a consortium, with the participation of the countries of origin of most Catalan Muslims.

- Are you talking about Morocco?

With Morocco and her King it is easy to talk, because they practice Maliki Islam, very much compatible with European and Catalan values. I am also thinking, however, of Senegal, Pakistan, Mali, and Bangladesh. All these countries may take part in a consortium that would finance the grand mosque's construction. Morocco, for example, has a specific plan that has already resulted in the setting up of a number of mosques in European cities.

We would prevent them from seeking to finance this place of worship and lay down its ideology on the basis of an Islam contrary to European values

- And, what would we get out of this?

We would avoid the temptation by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, to seek to pay for this place of worship, laying down its ideology on the basis of Wahhabi, Salafi Islam, which is opposed to European values.

- What if they were the ones financing the mosque?

Just like I squarely state that a grand mosque is necessary in Barcelona, I say that I am completely against it if Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, finance it.

- Why?

- They would drive the practice of an Islam which is the root of present-day radicalism. Our option must be a mosque with modern values of peace and understanding, and with a school training the Imams who will later teach the Quran in Catalan mosques. Concerning this, there must be no fear.  

What are you therefore expecting from Barcelona City Council.

A brave mayor who takes the bull by the horns, and political parties that properly explain this to citizens.

- And what are you expecting from the countries you mentioned earlier?

I have talked about this with many of them, and they already agree. The issue has moved forward a long way, and now it is necessary that someone take the first step and that everything starts rolling. If we manage it, the radicalism that may exist will gradually shrink until it becomes an anecdote.

The above interview was conducted by Iu Forn, and published in on 29 November 2015. The original, in Catalan, is available here. The text in brackets provides some additional background information for international readers. Àngel Colom tweets at @angelcolom, and the New Catalans Foundation at @NousCatalans. Translation by Alex Calvo.

Read more »

Friday, December 4, 2015

Spanish Parliament electoral campaign begins with 2 pro indy lists

The Spanish Parliament electoral campaign began just today. Two Catalan political forces are on the run with independence in their programms. Democràcia i Llibertat (Democracy and Freedom) is a center-right coalition formed by Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, Demòcrates de Catalunya and Reagrupament. The first one was the core of the dissolved coalition Convergència i Unió (CiU). The second one is the pro-independence faction of Unió. This party will be on the run too with a proposal against the independence. Finally, the third force is a tiny faction of Esquerra Republicana who splitted when this party formed government with the Spanish socialists.

The second is list is precisely Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya. This is a leftist proposal whose candidate is a Spanish-speaking independentist. Last elections, the Republicans obtained 3 MPs while CiU achieved sixteen: ten for CDC and six for UDC. Opinion polls give 9 MPs to ERC now and 10 to DiL. UDC will obtain no elected members. Catalonia chooses 47 MPs and, as usual in Spanish elections, a clear unionist victory is expected.

Read more »

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Catalan, French Police sign training cooperation agreement

On 17 November, the Catalan Government issued a media release explaining that it had approved a cooperation agreement on police training with France. In accordance with the agreement, the “Institut de Seguretat Pública de Catalunya” [Catalan Public Security Institute] (ISP) and France's “École Nationale Supérieure d'Application de la Police Nationale” in Tolouse will share their expertise and experience in security training. The ISP is responsible for training the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalan police, as well as local police forces in Catalonia.

The goal of the agreement is to formalize cooperation between the two schools. It will enable student and faculty exchanges, as well as the sharing of information on their respective curricula and training methods, with a view to implementing the most modern techniques. According to the media release, this cooperation may include:

* Annual exchange visits by school cadets.

* Mutual visits by instructors.

* Instructor exchanges.

* Participation in one-off events, such as graduation ceremonies and open days.

This is the first ever police agreement between France and Catalonia, other than those dealing with cross-border cooperation.

Alex Calvo, expert in security and defence in the Indo-Pacific Ocean Region.

Read more »

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Demonstration in Majorca against the Nova Planta decree and pro-Spanish attack

The rally carried the slogan "300 years of occupation, 300 years of resistance, the struggle continues." It was organized by the Majorca's Independentist Left (EIM) with the support of Arran, Endavant Forward-OSAN, the Union of Students of the Catalan Countries (SEPC) and Solidarity Alert. It was attended by dozens of people on November 28th.
The Decree of New Plant in Mallorca was imposed on28 November 1715 and brought an end to the island's sovereignty. Hours before the rally, Spanish imperialists attacked a commemorative plaque wich was installed in December of 2012, in memory of the 50th anniversary of the OCB (Balearic Cultural Work). The plaque also recalled that there had been the Editorial Moll, founded by Francesc de Borja Moll to print catalan-language books.

Read more »

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Phoenicians and Greeks in Catalonia

(7th Century BC - 6th Century BC) The Phoenicians, whose origins were in what is today known as Lebanon, were the first to trade with the indigenous communities of meridian localities of what is now Catalonia and the coastal zones of the north-eastern part of the Peninsula, up to the zone that is today Languedoc.

The Phoenicians, who came from the actual Lebanon and who had cities of Tir and Sidó, which were the base of their principal commercial operations at the beginning of the eighth century B.C., had founded the colonies of Gadir and Castillo de Doña Blanca (Cadiz) with the aim to access the rich metallurgical resources of the zone of Tartessos. Throughout the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. other Phoenician colonies were established on the coast of Málaga (Toscanos, Málaga, Morro de Mezquitilla), Granada (Almuñécar) and Almeria (Adra). Furthermore, in the middle of the seventh century Phoenicians originating in the Cadiz area founded the city of Ebussus (Ibiza), with whose traders we must relate the expansion of Jewish commerce in the area that belongs to the present day Catalonia. Between the second half of the seventh century B.C. and the first quarter of the sixth century B.C. a regular, and continuous presence of Phoenician materials is perceived in the different villages and indigenous necropolis, both in the north and the south of the mouth of the Ebro, importantly penetrating towards the interior zone, following the lower course of the river.

As time goes by, these settlements become more numerous, standing out are those of Moleta del Remei in Alcanar (Montsià), Ferradura in Ulldecona (Montsià), Aldovesta in Benifallet (Baix Ebre), Coll Art and Castellet de Banyoles in Tivissa (Ribera d’Ebre), Puig-roig in Masroig (Priorat) and Coll del Moro in Gandesa (Terra Alta). The documented Phoenician materials are principally amphorae and large containers fused for the transport of wine, oil and salted produce as well as thrown ceramic tableware, coated in a layer of red. There is no shortage, however, of sumptuous objects such as small perfume bottles, bronzes, decorated ostrich eggs and other prestigious materials destined for the local elite. The Phoenician trader’s interest was to accede to the metallurgical resources of the lower Ebro region, and especially to the copper and silver mines of the area of Falset/Bellmunt/Molar (Priorat), thereby control the surplus of bronze and maybe the agricultural spoils of the indigenous communities. This trade, channelled from Ebussus, did not imply the installation of any permanent factory in this area of the Ebro, since they preferred to use their own structure of contracts and indigenous exchange to establish their commercial net. With the same mechanism we can also explain the sporadic presence of Phoenician amphorae in the indigenous villages of the coastal area between Camp de Tarragona and Maresme, as well as in the villages of Penedès and Vallès.

Another major entity of Phoenician commerce, similar to that of the Ebro zone, starts to become outlined in the north-eastern point of Catalonia, actually in the Gironan region, which preceded the foundation of the Greek colony of Emporion (Empúries), and occurred during the second quarter of the sixth century B.C. To the previously documented Phoenician materials in the indigenous village of the island of Reixac d’Ullastret (Baix Empordà) and the necropolis of Anglès (Selva) or the indigenous imitations of Phoenician forms at the necropolis of Can Bech de Baix d’Agullana (Alt Empordà), recent searches carried out the surroundings of Empúries have allowed us to better define the importance of Jewish trading during this period. In the indigenous village of Sant Martí d’Empúries (Escala, Alt Empordà) which belongs to the first Iron Age, which is documented in the second half of the seventh century B.C. in a context of mainly handmade indigenous ceramics, the sporadic presence of Phoenician amphorae, and Etruscan imports. Also in the indigenous necropolis of incineration in Vilanera (Escala, Alt Empordà), which dates from the second half of the seventh century B.C., the only imported material we find documented are objects originating from Phoenician commerce, like big containers (‘pithoi’), mortars with a tripod, containers of perfume (‘aryballoi’) and decorated ostrich eggs. There is no doubt that the Jewish traders were also the first to build economic ties with these indigenous communities of the far north-east of the Peninsula, with the aim to access their metallurgic and agricultural resources. Also from the location of these villages, they could contact the so-called ‘Atlantic route of metals’, which was an old route that, through the Garona and Aude rivers, connected the gulf of Lleó with the beds of tin, copper and lead of the Atlantic coasts. This event also explains the presence of Phoenician materials in the indigenous villages of the western Languedoc region.

Using this net of commercial ties between the indigenous peoples and the Phoenicians, Greek trade, and especially Phocaean, would later follow: the Phocaean traders, who originated from the city of Phocaea (Foça, Turkey), and who were, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, ‘the first Greeks to undergo grand sea journeys and discover the Adriatic, Tirrena, Iberia and Tartessos’. The Phocaean interest in the metals of the Tartessos region is unquestionable and archaeology has proven that, from the last quarter of the seventh century B.C., they established commercial contacts with the Phoenician factories of the south of the Peninsula (Cádiz, Málaga, Toscanos...) and stable and direct commercial ties with the cities of Tartessos, such as in the case of Huelva. Phocaean commerce, however, did not bring with it the creation of colonial settlements of their own in the region of Tartessos, but rather choosing to interact with the economical commercial system that had already been established by the Phoenicians and the inhabitants of Tartessos. 
The fact that this commerce of metals was physically controlled by the Phoenician colonies of the area, encouraged the Phocaean’s to create their own commercial route from the northern Mediterranean, with the funding of Massalia (Marseille), around the year 600 B.C., and later, Emporion (Empúries), after having established some initial commercial ties with the indigenous villages between 580-560 B.C. During the second phase of the village of the First Iron Age period in Sant Martí d’Empúries, which dates from between the end of the seventh century B.C. and the first quarter of the sixth century B.C., as well as the handmade ceramics of local production and the imports of Phoenician amphorae and Etruscan amphorae and tableware, we also find evidence of Joni cups, Corinthian vases, grey and painted Greek ceramics, which prove the presence of this Greek commerce. Over this indigenous village, they created the commercial Phocaean Massalia (Marseille) factory of Emporion, which channelled the Greek commerce from the time of its foundation onwards, with the indigenous villages that occupied the area of the actual Catalonia. 
Thus, the supposed founding of a Greek colony in Rhode (Roses, Alt Empordà) by the Greeks of the island of Rhodes, before the first Olympiad, that is, before the year 776 B.C., is thought to be a legend. The archaeological excavations carried out in Roses have proven that there are no archaeological remains prior to the beginning of the fourth century B.C., which fact indicates that Rhode was a Greek foundation, linked to the orbit of influence of Massalia or to Emporion itself.

The existence of Emporion is key to understanding the expansion of Greek commerce and the influence of Greek culture to the Iberian villages of the Mediterranean side of the Iberian Peninsula, which were already in existence from the beginning of the sixth century B.C. Moreover when we consider that the rest of the commercial factories that were supposedly created by the Phocaeans from Massalia to give them access to the south of the peninsula and which have been documented in the old written sources, like Mainake, Hemerescopeion, Alonís and Akra Leuke, have not yet been located. The commercial and cultural impact of the inhabitants of Emporion is evident in the Iberian villages of what is now Catalonia, from the middle of the sixth century B.C. onwards, by the constant presence of objects imported from all over the Mediterranean (Attic red figure and black varnish ceramics, wine amphorae, bronzes, Etruscan ceramics...). Furthermore, in the vicinity of Emporion influence, the different ‘oppida’ or Iberian villages of the indiketa tribu, like those of Puig de Sant Andreu in Ullastret (Baix Empordà), those of Mas Casteller in Pontós (Alt Empordà) and those of Castell in Palamós (Baix Empordà), demonstrate a strong Greek influence within the Iberian society. However, without a doubt, this Greek influence extends further, as demonstrated by the ties that Emporion established with the Iberian communities established on the south of the Ebro River and in the Ponent region of what is present day Catalonia.

The open nature of the commercial relations in Antiquity encouraged the Phoenician and Greek traders (or Punic traders after the fall of Tir in Persian hands in 573 B.C., and Carthago, becoming a metropolis of the Peninsular Jewish factories), who were the intermediaries of commercialization and the traders of products manufactured by other Mediterranean cultures. So, both the presence of Etruscan materials (wine amphorae, tableware from ‘bucchero nero’, bronzes...), and that of Egyptian materials (beetles lucky charms, alabasters...) in the Iberian Peninsula must be tied to the commercial activity developed by the Punic Phoenicians and the Phoceaens from Massalia.

Read more »

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spanish Court suspends Catalan secession process pending central government appeal

Spain’s Constitutional Court agreed today to hear the Spanish government's appeal against a secession resolution passed by Catalonia’s regional parliaments. The resolution lays out a process to establish a Catalan republic within 18 months.

In a press conference prior to the ruling, Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy said, “[t]his is blatant disregard for the state’s institutions. They are trying to do away with democracy. I will not allow it.”

In a special meeting Wednesday, the Constitutional Court unanimously ordered a suspension of the secession process pending the central government’s appeal, which could take up to 5 months. They stated in their ruling, “[t]his is a warning to [Catalan leaders] that if they fail to comply with the suspension, they may commit disobedience.”

The Catalan government though has vowed to go ahead with the process in spite of the court-ordered suspension. “The political will of the government of Catalonia is to go ahead with the content of the resolution approved Monday by the Catalan government.”

Read more »

Monday, November 9, 2015

A new Catalan political party is born

Democrats of Catalonia (Demòcrates de Catalunya) was formally established on November 8th during the constituent Congress which was held on the same date commemorated the 84th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Union 1931. The conference was held Barcelona with the participation of 604 volunteers registered.
Nuria Gispert and Antoni Castellà are the leading faces of this splinter party Democratic Union of Catalonia which was presented in fact on 12 July 2015. The new lineup includes the sovereignty faction of UDC which did not follow the party leadership in his break with Democratic Convergence of Catalonia. UDC is against the new line of CDC independence while DC is partisan of it.
As said Joan Rigol, former President of the Parliament of Catalonia and member of the new party "we bluntly independence of Catalonia to build a state based on the person, whether that mark what we should be as a country."

Read more »

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Two thousand people rally for self-government in Northern Catalonia (French State)

Catalan is not just spoken in Spain. It is also spoken in France. For decades, Catalan speakers in Northern Catalonia (as many call the part of Catalonia under French rule) have fought for their linguistic rights. Catalan is not an official language there because of the French Constitution. The government in Paris has always refused to sign the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) adopted in 1992 under the auspices of the European Council. Just this month the French Sentae voted against the signing.

Northern Catalonia was annexed to France on November 7th, 1659. This date is remembered every year by Northern Catalonians in the main city of the region, Perpinyà (Perpignan). This year more than 2,000 people demonstrated for a Catalan statute, that is for self-government in Northern Catalonia. They were convoked by La Federació (a federation of organisations) and CAL (a language rights group). The march was supported by many other groups, from Catalan teachers to Sem Platform or parties as CUP or ERC.

Read more »

Monday, November 2, 2015

Spanish judge decrees the suspension of Causa Galiza

Eight of the nine Galician separatist militants arrested on October 30th have been released after declaring in Madrid. The ninth, for health reasons, was released the same day and will be declared on December 14 in Madrid if his condition improves. Spanish justice has accused them of "armed group membership" based on documents which, without defending armed struggle not explicitly rejected its use. In addition, the High Court decreed the suspension of activities in the independence movement Causa Galiza for a period of two years. The organization's website has been blocked immediately.

Read more »

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rally for the Kurdish city of Kobane in Barcelona by KurdisCat

The rally, organized by KurdisCat, will be held in Barcelona al 17 PM. It will be in the Turkish Consolate in support of the World Rally for Kobane. KurdisCat is the Catalan Committee in Solidarity with Kurdistan. This is the urgent call for action in a Global Rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane. 

The determined resistance of the Kurdish men and women in this strategic border region of Rojava (Western Kurdistan in Syria) inspired people and governments all over the world when they successfully repelled the siege of their city Kobane by the Islamic State (ISIS) just over a year ago. Their fight became a symbol of popular resistance to the merciless violence and horrendous atrocities committed by ISIS.
In response, on 1 November 2014 an urgent international call for a global day of action for Kobane and for Humanity was launched appealing to people all over the world to show solidarity with Kobane and for humanitarian and material assistance.
Hundreds of individuals and organisations representing thousands of members from across the world signed this call including prominent individuals like Professor Noam Chomsky and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who have both been long-time supporters of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination, as well as Nobel Peace Prize Laureates like Adolfo Erez Esquivel, and Jose Ramos-Horta, former President of East Timor and Nora Cortinas, cofounder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and Palestinian singer Reem Kelani.
But while there is no official support the logistics of sending aid to Kobane has been fraught with insuperable difficulties and the people of Kobane have continued to suffer with many families fleeing to a place of greater safety. That is why it is even more urgent now to set up a humanitarian corridor from Turkey to Kobane to facilitate aid to flow through to reach the city, which is still facing ISIS assaults.
Pressure therefore needs to be brought on the government of the AKP in Ankara to take immediate action to let essential medical supplies, food and clothing, to pass through to Kobane.
Despite the relentless onslaught of ISIS forces over the past months, Kobane is still standing proud and free. The people are still putting up fierce resistance and are determined to defend their self-governing administration which is one of three cantons in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Rojava (Western Kurdistan, Syria) who are secular, democratic, non-sectarian and pro-gender equality.
The tragic truth is that the death of the young Kurdish boy, Alan Kurdi, whose body washed up on the shore of Bodrum and shocked the world, need never have happened if the people of Kobane had received proper assistance from the international agencies a year ago.
Now is the time to aid Kobane and by so doing show solidarity with the forces who are struggling for a free, democratic and peaceful Syria.

Now is the time for the world to recognize that democratic autonomy in Rojava and the “Rojava Model” promises a free future for all peoples in Syria.
It is time to talk peace and to act for peace. Supporting Kobane is to support peace.

Read more »

Nine pro-independence Galician militants arrested

The Spanish Civil Guard detained, on October 30th, nine militants in Galicia. They were members of the political organisation Causa Galiza. Among those arrested are militant historical Galician Antom Curto Arias who had been a member of the army Guerrilheiro do Povo Galego Ceive (EGPGC) and was caught in Vigo but not Antonio García Matos "Toninho" accused of leading the group Resistencia Galician. This is a small paramilitary group active since 2007.

But the main reason for the accusation of "glorification of terrorism" seems to be in the organization of the so called "Galiza Combatente Day", on October 11th, by Causa Galiza. This date has been commemorated since the beginning of the present century, instituted by Nós-Unidade Popular in 2002. Nós-UP is already dissolved today. But only 15 years after the first commemoration produced the first arrests for this reason... only two months before the Spanish elections. Spain also points to the alleged involvement of a detainee in EGPGC, armed organization ... Galician disappeared 25 years ago.

Three Catalan movements have expressed their solidarity with the arrested citizens: Alerta Solidària, Endavant OSAN and CUP. 

Read more »

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Resolution to start secession process submitted to Catalan Parliament

On October 27th, Catalan pro-independence parties submitted a resolution to the Catalan Parliament proposing that Catalonia splits from the Kingdom of Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that he would block any independence initiatives.

The Junts pel Si (“Together for Yes”) and  CUP hope that the nine point resolution will be adopted in early November. The first article reads :
The “democratic mandate based on the result of the elections held on September 27, is aimed at creation of independent and sovereign Catalan state”. The second one declares the beginning of the state creation process while the third one initiates an “open, inclusive and active constituent civil process aimed at building a foundation for the future Catalan constitution.” The third " Beginning of participatory, open, integrated, active citizen constituent process to prepare the foundation of the future Catalan Constitution.".

And the next ones:
4) Asks the future Government to adopt the necessary measures to realize these declarations.
5) Consider it pertinent to begin within 30 days passing three laws on Constituent Process, Social Security as well as Tax Agency.
6) This Parliament, as vessel of sovereignty and expression of constitutent power, notes that this Parliament, constituent process will not be subject to decisions of Spanish state institutions, specially the Spanish Constituional Court which it considers delegitimized and without authority due to the Ruling on Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy in June, 2010 despite it having been passed in referendum by the people, among other things.
7) Will adopt necessary measures to begin disconnecting democratically, massively, sustainedly, and peacefully from the Spanish State in order to empower the citizenry on all levels, and based on open, active, integrating participation.
8) Asks future Government to follow only those regulations/mandates which come from this legitimate, democratic Chamber in order to safeguard the fundamental rights which may be affected by decisions of Spanish State institutions.
9) Declares will to open negotiations in order to carry out democratic mandate to create an independent Catalan state in form of a Republic, and hereby makes such known to Spanish State, European Union and international community.

Read more »

Monday, October 26, 2015

Carme Forcadell, former chairwoman of ANC, rises as Speaker of the new Catalan parliament

Carme Forcadell, former chairwoman of the Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana, ANC) was elected as Speaker of the new Catalan Parliament. ANC is a leading civil movement which has organized last massive rallies for independence.

The first session of the new Catalan regional parliament began on October 26th morning and Carme was elected with 77 votes in favour versus 57 "none of the above". As well as the expected the pro independence coalition "Junts Pel Sí"(Together For Yes) and CUP support, Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot  MPs also voted for Ms. Forcadell. She said: "Thank you everyone. Very happy, honored and proud to preside Catalan Parliament. Now we start walking."

Voting is taking place for the other members of the Speaker's table. The pro-secession electoral list Junts Pel Sí  is expected to control a majority of the seats, four out of seven, with the other three likely to go to Ciudadanos, the Spanish Socialist Party and Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot.

*"Junts Pel Sí"(Together For Yes). Transversal coalition for independence (CDC, ERC, MÉS, DxC...)
CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy). Anti capitalists for independence.
Catalunya Sí Que Es Pot (Catalolia Yes We Can). Left for self-determination, both unionists and independentists.

Read more »

Saturday, October 24, 2015

EU funds are keeping the bullfighting industry alive. End EU subsidies to them.

Bullfighting – it’s cruel, and there’s nothing entertaining about watching an animal suffer. Still, each year, thousands of bulls are tormented and killed during bullfights in the Kingdom of Spain, and the Republics of France and Portugal. What's even more shocking is that public funds are currently used to help fuel the bullfighting industry.

Funds available through the EU's Common Agricultural Policy help subsidise this cruelty. While the EU cannot legislate to ban bullfighting, it can stop granting farming subsidies to bull breeders through its budget.

In just 5 days, the European Parliament votes on whether to cut these subsidies. Urge your MEP to support the amendment to stop EU funds being used to finance bullfighting activities!

Now is your chance to tell the European Parliament that you don’t want public funds being used to promote brutality against animals - that it’s time to cut off funding to the bullfighting industry right now.

Please act quickly to demand that no more EU funds be used to support bullfighting!

Thank you so much for all that you do for animals.

Read more »

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Barcelona fined twice by UEFA for pro-independence banners

UEFA announced the decision following a meeting of its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, saying Barça had breached article 16 (2) (e) of the regulations. The article prohibits “the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”. Is a pro-independence flag, fully supported by most of the population, provocative? For whom?

Last July UEFA already fined the club €30,000 for pro-independence flags at Champions League final. Barcelona have vowed to use all legal means to fight a second fine imposed by UEFA after fans displayed pro-Catalan independence flags during September's Champions League Group E match at home to Bayer Leverkusen. This second time the sanction is even higher € 40,000.

Read more »