Letter from Catalonia: Candlelight and kitchen pots

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Catalonia

I live in Barcelona. I cannot fly a Spanish flag. I posted objective facts, not opinion pieces, on Facebook, my other half received a note under the door "recommending" that I should desist. I'm sorry Lynn, but I cannot agree. Since 2009, 30,000 companies have relocated out of Catalonia (Economia Digital Ag. 4 2017) and that is not counting the 750 that left this month. Since 2009, of the 11 banks that were headquartered in Catalonia, 0 remain. And since when are the separatists "the Catalans?" In a totally illegal election with multiple voting and a mysterious census and vote counting only by separatists, they declared that 90% of 43% of all registered voters had voted for independence. That's 38%. Since when is 38% "The Catalans" or "a mandate for independence." In a democracy that is called a minority, not a victorious electoral mandate. Catalan separatists have ruined a region that is now only the 4th region of Spain in terms of GDP per capita and despite vastly more land, more population and the port for Madrid produces now less than Madrid itself in absolute terms. As to "oppression," Catalonia has one of the most devolved regional governments anywhere. As to taxes, well Catalonia was offered in the mid 1970's the same plan that the Basque region has had since the 19th century (with a 30 year hiatus) and it rejected it. The constitution is now being applied and some do not like it but, when it passed, Catalonia voted for it: 95% voted yes. London collects vastly more tax than it is allocated by the central government and, guess what, they don't mind if some of those taxes go to support the people in Cornwall. I live in Barcelona but I have halved my investment, and I have now purchased a main home to Berlin, keeping Barcelona as the beach town that it is sadly becoming.

Eric 32 days ago

Compelled to provide some balance

So I am not on the ground anymore having moved to Berlin from Barcelona in January after 9 years living in the city but I am still in touch with friends in the city & have been a first hand witness to the rising tide of nationalism in Catalunya since the separatists started using the crisis & ensuing austerity to ride a wave of populism to the present unfortunate state of affairs in a not too dissimilar way to Farage, Petry, Trump, Wilders & Le Pen. Times of financial crisis have many variables but you can be sure as hell that the nationalists will always come out of the woodwork & start blaming the foreigners.

As for Spanish oppression the Catalans have always had a reasonable fiscal deal with the central government & been give complete political and cultural autonomy & did a great job reviving their language which was banned, but never beaten, under Franco. They have local and state elections, state TV & radio which sadly is even more biased than you're intrepid on the ground journalist. They've also successfully leveraged their port to great effect, built a healthy manufacturing base, developed innovative R&D projects, made the most of their agricultural riches as well as (over) exploiting tourism in a manner similar to the rest of Spain. This is not really what I call central government "disrespecting institutions" & although I in no way want to defend Rajoy and the PP (most right wing parties are nationalistic & this version is particularly distasteful & corrupt), things were running along fairly standard federal terms - the Catalan "have mores" inevitably paying more to the central coffers to subsidise the "have lesses" of which there are many in Spain.

The shit really started to hit the fan in 2015 when the separatists, riding their wave of austerity driven populism, called the Catalan elections a defacto independence referendum. Despite their highly motivated support - much more so than the more apathetic "remainers" who didn't realise the seriousness of what was about to occur, the separatists managed to get 48% of the vote which translated into a majority of seats & a so called mandate for independence.

From that day all rational debate, if there was any, totally disappeared and you were either for or against independence, with the against's being shouted down & abused. The referendum confrontation was the inevitable result, the only surprise being that for once it wasn't the Catalan Mossas d'Esquadra beating the Catalans but the equally reprehensible nationally controlled Guardia Civil. The separatists can now play the martyr card as well as the financial.

Perhaps too little too late the remainers finally found their voice & the week after the violence there was a huge march of the forgotten majority in Catalunya. Too late for friends & families already not speaking & for poor old Lynn's dinner party. Nationalism rarely if ever has a happy ending & when I move south for the sun again I will go to Portugal not to my once happy home.

James 33 days ago

Letter from a Spanier

Dear Lynn,

Please next time you write about Catalonia show at least a bit of impartiality and present more facts than the emotions of your family, which by the way seems to be pro-independence.

Do not forget in your next report to tal about the majority of Spaniards - and when I mention Spaniards are also Catalans included, that feel themselves Spanish and Catalan - in Catalonia, that do not want to be separated.

Please also write next time about the illegalities, that the Catalan government is doing since months, about the control they are doing in the schools and media since years,... also about the level of corruption of their parties, about the consequences of sedition in the Spanish penal code - which are similar as the majority European countries -, etc etc.

Do you know that the Vicepresident of the Catalan government do consider spaniards genetically closer to French and Italians, rather than Spaniards? For me this comment remembers me to the nazi times in Germany.

This is the reality that you are not showing to the readers of Exberliner. So please be more professional next time and less populist.

And to the editors of this website please contrast the reality of your journalists when talking about such serious topics which affect to million of people.

Thanks,
Roberto

Roberto 34 days ago

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