Many of my friends abroad are having a hard time understanding why Catalunya wants independence from Spain. People think it’s a weird separatist movement that idolizes an ancient language and goes against the wave of history. I know, that’s the same thing I thought when I first arrived. Many people even compare the upcoming referendum with the Brexit one, in which the UK decided to leave the EU.
Well, nothing furthest away from the truth. Sure, there’s a bunch of old radicalists in every movement, but the large majority of Catalunya independentists today are young people wanting a better future for their region.
They claim that for many years Catalunya has been paying way more taxes to the Spanish government than it has received back in public financing, to serve its citizens and the region’s infrastructures. While there are several topics on the table, the main point is that Catalonians are tired of this situation, and believe they can manage things much better if they have the freedom to do so.
Whether that is true or not, only history will tell. What is sure is that so far the Spanish government has not addressed the problem, letting it compound and grow through the years. Even worse, the repression operated in the last few months against any initiative supporting independence, has had the opposite effect of leading a majority of neutral citizens to sympathize for the cause.
In fact, the referendum has symbolically transformed itself from a vote for the region’s independence to a vote in support of civil rights and the freedom for people to choose their government.
Catalonians want to be part of Europe. They just don’t recognize themselves in the Spanish government. Is this a big problem? Can we have a federal Europe formed by a different configuation of States that agree on a common strategy? Honestly I don’t see why not. In the end borders have always changed in history, what matters is peace, progress, welfare and an efficient administration. Is this the future of Europe, and are the Catalans up to it?
To be or not to be: the vote for Catalonia’s independence. was originally published in pensierinmusica on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.