Citizens' Voice SeriesI am Catalan and I do not want to be put down by the Spaniards.
Elisabet Terrades boixDegree in Political Science and Public Administration, and specialises in Public Management.
The most important thing of separatism is that it allows those involved to have a feeling of belonging to a community. However, there is a huge proportion of Catalans that do not feel Spanish, we feel Catalan. If somebody talks about Spain, I usually take part in the conversation talking as if I was talking about France, the neighboring country. A Spanish thing usually causes me indifference. The problem comes when the Spanish nationalism wants to put down Catalan people.
I remember when I was in Chile, many years ago, it was the Football World Cup of 2006 and the people around me couldn’t understand why I supported every team which was playing against Spain. Chilean people are very nationalist, so they had hard time understanding that my national team was the Catalan one and every team that was playing against Spain. I do not support the Spanish football national team because it is not representing my country, which is Catalonia, not Spain. But I support the teams who are playing against them because the law (art. 76f Spanish Sport Law) requires that all federated players have to play with the Spanish team if they are called by the Spanish Football Federation. So, even if they do not want to participate because they do not feel that is their team—the same that happens to me—they have to. Doesn´t it sound weird? That implies that if a player feels only Catalan and does not want to defend the Spanish colors, he will be penalized.
In many situations, the Spanish strategy is not innocuous, it is a strategy against Catalonia, a strategy planned to try the patience of Catalans. One example of how Spaniards underestimate Catalans for the only reason of being Catalans can be seen in this video during the World Police & Fire Games, where a group of Spaniards started to scorn their Catalan colleagues because they had showed Catalan symbols like “l’estelada” (a flag symbolizing the independence of Catalonia) and a human tower. And I just read that today that the scorn started again when they won the championship of handball and showed again some Catalan flags.
Another example happened recently with our educational system. Here, in Catalonia, we have a educational model with the Catalan as its vehicular language. It is an immersion-based educational system that encourages social cohesion between the students but specially between all Catalan citizens, regardless of their origins, preventing the discrimination of people for their lack of knowledge of Catalan. However, on February, the Spanish judicial system queried the use of Spanish as a vehicular language and the 2nd of September the Catalan government was given 2 months to apply measures to finish the immersion system. So, I don´t know what will happen in schools, but teachers might be asked to use Spanish as the vehicular language because there is only one vehicular language possible. In Spain, they want to remove our immersion system.
I mentioned only two recent examples of how Spaniards underestimate Catalans, but it is their way of life, they cannot stand that Catalonia has historically been more prosperous and the economic motor of Spain and they will end up killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. This is the main reason why I feel Catalan instead of Spanish and why I want the independence of Catalonia.
Elisabet Terrades Boix
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