I am Catalan, I have lived in England for 25 years and I am a volunteer for Help Catalonia. My work consists of translating into English and editing articles that have been translated from Catalan or Spanish into English so they are ready for publication and broadcasting internationally.
Help Catalonia tries to explain the situation of Catalonia to the world.
I think that the countries that form the international community have a concept of Spain which is often based on their own democratic principles. It is believed that Spain is a state that respects its nations within -but it never has. When Spain started –at least in name– its democracy in 1978, the people of Catalonia cherished the hope that the democratic process would eventually lead to a real recognition of the Catalan nation within Spain, but unfortunately that has never been the case. Spain, underpinned by its "national psyche" is still insisting and hoping that Catalonia and the other nations within Spain just manifest the Castilian culture with the addition of some regional peculiarities which are to be condescendingly tolerated (having tantrums, growling and mocking when it's disobeyed). Spain continues to be synonymous with "Castille" in most respects, and is a country ruled by a self-interested paternalistic oligarchic caste and a Lerrouxist state that is intolerant towards plurinationality. In the case of Catalonia, Spain has tried and is still trying to wipe out, or at any rate limit, its identity and culture, and has done and carries on doing everything possible to keep it subjugated. Spain has always defined Catalonia as a "problem" for having its own identity.
Current polls show that over 80% of Catalans wish to vote for self-determination, but Spain –a supposedly democratic country which signed the UN treaty– forbids it, claiming that this right is not an option in the Spanish Constitution; a constitution that was drafted in 1978 by the military, among others, and which confirmed the establishment of a monarchy headed by a king that had been chosen by the dictator Franco himself. Also, especially in recent years, Spain has launched a dirty war to discredit the Government of Catalonia and manipulate the public by means of the sinister Centro Nacional de Inteligencia. Together with a corrupt and biased media it works to confuse, frighten and divide us, all with the aim of making us forsake our aspirations for independence.
In many ways, the volunteers of Help Catalonia work hard to report to the world how Spain is actually operating and how this is affecting Catalonia. Hopefully when the time comes and we vote for the independence of Catalonia and Spain wants to crush us and repress us (yet again) for wishing to express our democratic right, there will be countries that have understood our cause, and therefore will support and help us safeguard our right to self determination.
Francesc Xavier Canals@frantasticfx