Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There are a whole lot of people around here who are absolutely obsessed with the Catalan-Spanish identity conflict. Everything takes second place to that, no matter how important an issue it may be, and they'll work nationalism into the discussion about every single issue.

So former Catalan premier Jordi Pujol accused the Spanish media and Spanish politicians of "fomenting hatred for Catalonia" by blaming the Catalan regional government for the Great Transportation Snafu of 2007. Actually, I think Pujol is doubly wrong: first, it's not anti-Catalan to blame the Generalitat for making mistakes on a specific issue, and second, I think people are blaming the Socialists and the Tripartite, who are in control of the troika of the central, regional, and local governments, more than they are the Generalitat in itself.

(Comment: I have always held a certain admiration for Pujol, who was one hell of a good machine politician, sort of like a classier Mayor Daley. Yeah, there were a lot of financial scandals, and his government put in the laws that discriminate against Spanish-speakers, but a lot of positive things got done in a reasonably democratic manner. No incompetent could have stayed in power for 23 years.)

La Vanguardia has already pulled in 339 comments on their website on this story. There's nothing that will get the commenters all heated up faster than waving the Catalan flag. Check out some of these. I think some of them are pretty reasonable, and some of them aren't. Let's see what you think!

A. (Original Spanish): Most of the blame for our bad image belongs to the independentistas' childish stunts and the self-interested manipulation that the right-wing media makes of them.

B. (Spanish) You aspire to your own State, one more. A great advance for the world. And besides, from an ethical point of view, a questionable obsession. State-of-the-art hospitals, absurd millionaire salaries for athletes, a port, an airport, and you go around telling the world what victims you are. No one is listening to you.

C. (Catalan) 2014, goodbye Spain and enough already of putting up with this rubbish. We don't need to go around justifying ourselves, and we don't have to explain what it is to be Catalan...independence!

D. (Spanish) A question for nationalists. When personal sacrifices are demanded in the name of the glorious fatherland, how far are you willing to go? Let's see who has the guts to answer.

E. (Catalan) This hate, Mr. Pujol, is innate, they carry it inside them like a gene. We will never be friends because by definition we are different, and the larger one (the Spanish empire) oppresses the smaller ones who resist (the Catalan colony). Luckily we are in the 21st century and now sovereignty is possible without a war. There are more and more nations with their own state in Europe and now it is our turn.

F. (Catalan) The future is self-determination, since with the Castilians as friends we are going nowhere...They want Catalan and its culture to disappear.

G. (Spanish) What do the excluding nationalists want? That in addition to spending all day working against community among the citizens, we non-nationalists are going to reward you with recognition? Pujol complains about hate but that is exactly the fuel that moves nationalism. As nationalism prospers more and more, hate spreads to more places. That is the dynamic of nationalism, which the 20th century made clear.

H. (Catalan) INDEPENDENCE NOW! And stop whining, little Spaniards, "God's empire" and "united, great, and free" fortunately failed. Good-bye Spain, and good luck (you're going to need a lot...)

I. (Catalan) Can you imagine being married to a fat, dirty, stinking, ignorant, violent, and crude broad? Well, that's what living with Spain is like. We want a divorce! And we want it now! Freedom!!!!

J. (Spanish) When in my building things don't work, it's the superintendent's fault. When my city doesn't work it's the mayor's fault, and when my region doesn't work, it's the regional premier's fault. In Catalonia, when something doesn't work, it's not the fault of anyone inside...it's Spain's fault!

K. (Catalan) And what should we expect? We spend all day putting down Spain, saying Spain robs us, we whistle when the speaker at the Mercé ceremony speaks Spanish or when someone sings in Spanish at the Diada celebration, we don't respect the Spanish flag, which we don't fly at town hall buildings when there is a law requiring it, we say nothing when photos of the king are burned, et cetera...What surprises me is that they let us cross the Ebro river. Pujol, Carod, and company, why are you surprised?

L. (Catalan) An independentista is not born, he is made by blows like insults, manipulation, injustice, disrespect, boycotts, hate, and scorn. All of this is what Spain shows toward Catalonia.

M. (Spanish) Spain is indescribably disgusting. We want independence and we want it as soon as possible. No one can stand you. Not Gibraltar or anyone.

N. (Spanish) Catalan independence is unstoppable and inevitable. No sane person wants to live tied for life to such a repulsive and oppressive entity as Spain.
O. (Catalan) Spanish nationalists have enjoyed themselves shooting people, above all Catalans. I don't know how many Spanish nationalists CiU or ERC shot, I would say none, and not because they didn't have a good reason to.

P. (Spanish) Without the Spaniards we would live much better, and we're working on it. Soon we'll achieve it.

Q. (Catalan) Keep dreaming about your eternal Spain. In the long run all totalitarian states end up getting what they deserve. Look at the Serbs, so happy with Greater Serbia. Look at them now. Montenegro has left them and Kosovo is next. Here the Spanish-Falangists won't wait one moment to come and massacre us. They'll end up like the Serbs, alone and humiliated. This isn't 1936 any more.

R. (Spanish) It is insulting to see the nerve of the new Spanish ultra-nationalists. Now they are pretending to be democratic and modern when they are nothing more than Franco's puppies. Spanish nationalism is murderous by definition. Catalan nationalism is democratic by choice.

S. (Spanish) Today there are few Falangists left, but there are plenty of Escamots and Maulets. Why do you separatists tend to radicalize? Something tells me that after the hypothetical independence of Catalonia, all this hate will be turned first on the non-Catalanists, then on the moderate Catalanists, etc. I don't want my homeland to become a slaughterhouse.

T. (Spanish) Accusing Catalan nationalism of being violent can only come from a sick mind. Violent, crude, ignorant, anti-democratic, and militarized nationalism has always been Spanish.

U. (Spanish) It's all Bush's fault. That dumb Texan has created most of our problems. I know because one of my relatives works in Washington.

I hope the last one is a joke.

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