I am #AlsoCatalan

I invite you to make being Catalan more inclusive

Catalunya in a Nutshell

Some people in my region want independence from the nation state. Why? These are some arguments I have heard:

  • The state does not represent some regional values
  • The region pays more than it receives
  • The nation state oppresses the region
  • Smaller units are more representative of the true opinion of the populous

The political discussion between the pro-independence Catalans and the central government is a total diplomatic failure. All formal channels of discussion, debate and negotiation have stagnated at best, rotten at worst. The state is in “computer says no” mode, while the pro-independence crowd are edging closer and closer to what could be described as a coup.

There has never been a proper referendum like in Scotland so depending on who you talk to you will get different picture of the majority opinion — should Catalunya be independent?

This giant question mark has been dangling in the Catalan air for decades — inflating and deflating occasionally. But in recent years it is ballooning, big time.

The Catalan

It is already difficult to question independence as the silver bullet solution as a genetic Catalan. But as a non-genetic Catalan, it is near impossible. A bit like questioning the female oppression as a man, or questioning black oppression as a white person. It’s not kosher. Not done.

Language is a huge part of the independence movement, speaking Catalan is a political statement. The independence movement talks about enforcing Catalan and shuns Spanish from, for example, schools and public signs.

I want to invite people to express their Catalan identity.

Can you be Catalan and not believe that independence is a silver bullet solution? Can you be Catalan and not speak Catalan?

I do not speak Catalan, I have no genetic ties, I do not believe that independence is the answer to all my problems. I understand I could be cheaply dismissed as a disengaged expat. I am multi-local, genetically mixed, nomadic. But, I am also Catalan.

Inclusive Identity?

A group is only a group when some people are excluded. I have a sensation that the pro independence Catalan identity is defined by exclusive entry with a superiority complex.

There is a traditional dance that sums it up for me very symbolically. The dancers stand in a circle, looking inward with a big pile of their stuff in the middle.

Navel Gazing?

Nationalism never solved anything, it is societal mental disorder.

Borders are imaginary, a figment of the human imagination. Invented. Yes, they impact us, but less and less. Companies do not see borders as major restrictions, our economy is becoming more and more international, as are our lives.

Foreigners in Catalunya

What? Why do tourists buy Mexican Sombreros from Pakistani businessmen in Spain?

There is an anti-tourist movement in Barcelona. In part, I get it. I would not miss the rowdy drunken packs of obnoxious stag parties wearing Mexican sombreros sold to them by Pakistani business men on the Rambla. It’s weird. On the other hand, tourism has brought affluence to Barcelona. The city has been spruced up exactly for them, because rich Northern Europeans come down and splash out on their holidays with salaries that are double, triple, quadruple our Southern salaries.

If there are no immigrants in a city I seriously doubt if I could live there. A city without immigrants is a village. If a significant percentage of people did not decide that the city is worthwhile to move to, you are not doing well as a city on a global level. Receiving an economic immigrant is a HUGE compliment. Nobody really, really, wants to leave everything unless there’s a very good reason.

Are the Spanish speaking Pakistani businessmen Catalan?

I invite offbeat Catalans to voice their Catalan identity.

I love the rhythm of my life in Catalunya, I love to see my family here, I love to wake up and taste the familiar tastes and hear the familiar sounds. I feel attached to Catalunya, not as an semi-welcome tourist enchanted by novelty, but as a part of the fabric of the city and the society.