6th of October 2017
I hit my wall today. I’ve been holding up pretty well, and suddenly today I feel like it's all a bit much and I’m not managing my personal health (mental, emotional and physical) very well. I’m in a coffee shop in Mataro beside the sea and I’ve just eaten what can only be described as comfort food.
So, I’m dedicating Fridays for research and writing and today and for the next month or so, I will be looking at Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett. I’ll be using his book as a means to get a sense of history of what’s going on for Spain and Catalonia. If you are interested, obviously I recommend you just buy the book. But for those of you that want a quick summary of the relevant ideas, this is where you’ll find it.
I can identify well with Tremlett because he has a family in Spain, and as he writes concerning his children ‘Spain’s future matters to me. It maybe theirs.’ It’s this, that has begun this deep rooted feeling here in Granollers Catalonia. My son is Catalan by heart, and my daughter by birth. This is their country and I am here to defend their right to be heard.
‘Spain is different’ – If I happen to question something about the culture here, or ask, in honest confusion about historic matters that don’t add up to my simple mind, Catalans here often laugh dryly with knowing eyes ‘Spain is different’. It’s a blanket approach to the myriad points that foreigners don’t grasp and it’s a psychological full stop – perhaps even a survival phrase- that stops their own spiral into injustice and repression and despair. I’ve often thought that if some of the things that have happened here, happened in Australia, we’d have taken to the streets in violent screaming. Australians are not so well known for holding their temper. And it’s my opinion that this shrugging acceptance of corruption and injustice in Spain by the Catalan people rises out of survival. Let’s remember that during the civil war Catalans who stood up for their rights were quite literally put up against a wall and shot. Or perhaps taken out onto a hill and shot. Or just butchered in their homes.
All of the revolutionaries, the ones with courage and conviction died, the Catalans who survived were the other sort. The ones that fled, or the ones that shut up. Now, we have survivors. The Catalans who are with us today developed survival skills, survival psychology of adapt or die. And they have survived by developing a black sense of humour, of speaking quietly (much quieter than the typical Spanish), of saying ‘ba!’ to anything they don’t care about and shrugging it all off.
Now, again, it’s my humble opinion that there has been enough time since the civil war for another generation of rebels, of courageous fighters, of people with conviction and courage to take up where their forefathers left off. To remind everyone that they are still here. To remind people that they really do have a voice and that they will have their say.
And, in a country that deems it illegal to talk about breaking from the sovereign unity of Spain, I think, reckless as it is, this threat of announcing the Independence of Catalonia from Spain is a well thought out plan that does not have the immediate Independence of Catalonia on it’s agenda. It’s a way to force the Catalan problem into the spotlight. It’s a way to get people like me to start writing to people like you. It’s a way to get Europe involved in and aware of the overwhelming injustices of the Catalan people. It’s a way, for the Catalans, finally, after years of shutting up, to shout at the top of their lungs ‘we are here, and we have a voice, and we will be heard’.
You might think the action extreme. But once you become aware of the history of Catalonia you’ll wonder how they have held their peace for so long. I personally, burn with indignation for them. I burn with indignation when I see the leader of Spain treat them like unruly children who need a firm hand. The Catalans are not undisciplined children, and Spain is not the heavy handed old fashioned father from the days of old when children were seen and not heard.
All institutions are there for the service of humanity. All laws are there to help us, protect us, serve us. When the law is upheld beyond it’s expiry date as sovereign , to the detriment of millions, we see deeply the treacherous hold power has over these leaders. Let us remember, it’s not human kind we must be afraid of, it’s the institutions that become like gods held high as untouchable and inviolable. People say no one is above the law, and I say, there is not one law that is above a human right.