A lot of people ask me what is going on in Catalonia about the independence. Why Catalonia wants to be independent? Some think, that the country has woken up one day and all the movement began. But independence goes far beyond that and the feeling of the nation starts long ago.
One of the crucial moments in history for Catalans was Franco's regime, Catalan culture was banned, our language could not be spoken and the police could beat you if they heard you speaking in Catalan.
My grandad always explains that he was walking on the street speaking Catalan with a friend back in the 50s and he was beaten up to speak his own language. You might think that this was long ago, but sadly it wasn't, on 1975 was the end of Franco's dictatorship, so only 40 years have passed, is recent history.
My mum does not know how to write in Catalan properly because the language was banned from education, so the only language they learned at school was Spanish. Thank God that we had and have strong believes in our nation and the language remained alive in houses even if it was banned "legally", so people kept speaking Catalan in their houses and the language remained.
Thanks to people who wrote books and did copies in catalan in secret, the catalan culture remained even in tough times. There is a poem in catalan culture very famous that says:
La meva terra: CATALUNYA (My land: Catalonia)
La meva parla: EL CATALÀ (My language: the catalan)
La meva dansa: LA SARDANA (My dance: la Sardana)
El meu desig: LA LLIBERTAT ( My desire: Freedom)
I think this is the perfect summary of what independence is about, protecting your roots and what is yours, being tired of fighting for something that has been taken away.
Why claim independence now in Catalonia?
The Independence feeling has always been in Catalonia but now is stronger, the strongest ever because people are tired of being mistreated by the rest of Spain (not always and not for everyone of course, but I had to hear things like you are "very nice for being catalan"), there have been boycotts to Catalonia's products, we have fought for the Estatut d'Autonomia (catalan constitution) where Spain had to adjust the money they have to give back to Catalonia -that they never gave back-.
The economic crisis has been a detonator as well for the independence process, there is no doubt about that, but the main point is always the same: the feeling of being mistreated nationally, economically etc..leads to a dark point of no return.
Fight for Catalonia's independence in 2012
On 11th September 2012 -the national day in Catalonia-, there was a demonstration in Barcelona organized by La Assemblea Nacional Catalana that gathered more than 1.5 million people all around the country that were in favor of Catalonia, a new state in the European Union.
In this demonstration all the debate started as the political situation started changing in Catalonia, it was clear that the population spoke up about their concern and ideas. This is when Artur Mas (the president of Cataloni'as government) listened to that demonstration and decided to call for elections in advance.
That is when Catalonia voted for Independence, the elections were a crucial moment as the population voted with one key point in mind: right to decide the future for Catalonia yes or no.
Outside Catalonia and some foreign countries saw that Artur Mas did not get the majority of votes so it was a defeat when the truth is: it wasn't. It was not only Mas party that was pro independence (CIU) but also other parties that have been pro independence for a long long time: ERC and ICV. If not pro independent, at least the democratic right to decide your future. Sometimes this part is not understood, as even if you are against independence you should have the right to vote for it, right?
I would love to see what all Catalonia thinks about it, so it would be good to be able to do the referendum in Catalonia to decide our future. However, Spain is not eager to let us do that, in my opinion let people vote and express themselves shouldn't worry anyone as in fact this is what democracy is about. I believe, the fear is in what results would be.
Fight for Catalonia's independence in 2013
In 2013 on 11th September, the catalans went to the next demonstration for Independence organized by Assemblea Nacional Catalana -an association built to by the population to fight for independence-. The demonstration called La Via Catalana was a human chain that united the country from north to south to demonstrate in favor of the Independence for Catalonia.
Fight for Catalonia's independence in 2014
After that demonstration, the president of Catalonia Artur Mas compromised to have a referendum for Independence for Catalonia the next year on 2014, the known 9N, the 9th of November of 2014 catalans voted in a "fake referendum" for independence.
The Spanish governement was completely against the referendum and it was competence of Spain to be legal and agreed, but Catalonia's government went ahead and did it anyway using all the legal resources they had, but in the end it was ilegal in the eyes of Spanish law.
We voted in 9N, but since it was not legal, neither official or recognised by the Spanish government the votes coming out from that referendum where not considered as the true action to declare the indepence.
Fight for Catalonia's independence in 2015
This lead us to 2015, in 27th September 2015, Artus Mas, the president of Catalonia organized the elections of 27th September with a clear message, to vote parties that want independence and parties that are against. This is the true legal referendum for Catalonia.
Parties in favor of independence have agreed that will work to build institutions a state need and proclaim independence if they have the majority in the Catalonia's parliament. This election there is a coalition for yes for independence called "Junts pel si" where ERC + Covergència parties are united and CUP also has independence in their
I know this is very controversial topic and there are opinions of all kinds on the process and I would be glad to hear your thoughts. I didn't mean to offend anyone, opinions is all they are opinions and there are millions of them, the important thing is respect yourself and others.
Have a look at this interesting videos on the process of Independence and the feeling of Catalans:
Why does Catalonia want to become independent?
Catalan independence step by step
Foreign people learning catalan and the history of the language
A New Yorker Opinion on Catalonia's Independence
I wanted to show as well videos with the opinion against Catalonia, but I didn't find any video in English or with subtitles. If anyone knows any I would love to show the other side of the story, as always there are so many colors on one thing and as good to show all angles.
Please let me know your thoughts and if you think it is an interesting toppic please share. Thank you, I hope you enjoyed.