Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Catalan Independence Flags as a Metaphor for a Colonial Situation


On 23 May at dawn, the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Police) took down Ripoll's independence flag. The town, in the Pyrenees, is symbolically important, being known as “the cradle of Catalonia”. They did so after the ERC (main Catalan opposition party) and the CiU (Catalan ruling coalition) had announced that they did not intend to withdraw it. Many local councils have done so themselves. It is yet another episode in the series of Catalan acts of submission towards Spain. Spanish power, in the shape of a Central Election Board which is everything except neutral, has imposed the withdrawal of this symbol. It has done so against the explicit will of the people, democratically expressed through its local elected officials.

A court made up of twelve individuals imposed the withdrawal of Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy. It did so against the will of a majority of the Catalan people. It was accepted.

Other courts, usually headed by unjust “judges” have put an end to teaching in Catalan (language immersion). They have done so against the massive will of a parliament where more than 90 percent of lawmakers support it. These judges who have decided to put an end to schooling in Catalan, most of them, practice in Catalonia without knowing the Catalan language. The Generalitat's Education Ministry is kowtowing to their decision.

On 9 November an absolute majority of Catalan parties called a referendum on independence. Once again Spain imposed that it not take place. It was exchanged for a symbolic, harmless, consultative vote.

Estatute of Autonomy, Catalan language schooling, independence flags, referendum. It all follows the same pattern. First step: democratic, majority affirmation. Second: denial, by means of a colonial-like imposition. Third: submission.

Only once has Catalonia not submitted. The ban on the 2009 Arenys de Munt unofficial referendum was not obeyed. And that act of disobedience prompted a turn in the recent history of our nation. How much Catalonia has changed over the last five years as a result of that dignity-driven action!.

The fallacy that “one can only disobey once” or that “one must do it right” feeds this kowtowing attitude towards Spanish courts, which are devoid of any ethical and political legitimacy. It is not true. One must disobey as many times as it takes. Failure to do so reinforces one's adversary and gives him legitimacy. Withdrawing Catalan independence flags while leaving in place the Spanish flag, the same Franco-era flag, legitimates post-Francoism. Only by disobeying shall we achieve anything. Furthermore, it will not be necessary to do it much, since Spanish authorities in Catalonia are a giant with feet of clay. It only has the strength of our fear.

Ireland disobeyed 18 times. Today she is independent.

Jordi Vàzquez
@JordiVazquez

As you can see, history repeats itself in Catalonia...
 

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