It is a mistake to lump Catalan nationalism with far-right communitarian ideologies. In fact, it is more Spanish nationalism that fits that description.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
-Charles Dickens: A Tale Of Two Cities (1859)
Living, as I do, in Barcelona part of the time, I am struck with how Dickens’ wonderfully descriptive opening could apply directly to what has become our surrealistic daily lives in Catalonia over the past 2 years – because yes, it has been over two years that I have been trying to write this blog post, and over two years that have found me paralyzed, trying to even know where to begin – so thanks, Charley!
So much of what has gone on here over the last while is governed by perception, emotion, “belief” and “incredulity,” as Dickens points out. But really, it’s a battle over two vast opposing concepts of what a “nation” is.
Warning: long post ahead
To begin with, here are a few facts:
- Nine pro-independence political and cultural leaders have been sentenced to 9 – 13 years after being held since October 2017 in Spanish prisons in “preventive detention.” This was possible because they were charged with “rebellion” – a crime that requires violence to have been committed, and for which they were acquitted. Many of those in prison are the parents of small children, who are growing up with only two hours of contact per month with the missing parent.
- Over 100 members of the recently ruling Partido Popular (founded by Manuel Fraga, a former minister in the Franco dictatorship) have been convicted of corruption in scandals that involve hundreds of millions of euros. None of them is in prison. Wikipedia has a page devoted to political corruption scandals in Spain that is worth checking out.
- Six pro-independence leaders have fled into exile. Various attempts by the Spanish government to have them extradited to Spain on “rebellion” charges have all failed. Spain has now reissued warrants for them, only on “sedition” charges.
- The Spanish judge in charge of instructing these cases, Pablo Llarena, was charged in Belgian courts by exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and other exiled leaders with violating basic human rights. He was ordered to appear in Brussels, the Spanish government is paying his defense for refusing.
At the time of this writing there have been two weeks of demonstrations and protests in Barcelona. The vast majority of them have been peaceful. Over half a million marchers from all over Catalonia converged on Barcelona October 18, and 300 thousand demonstrated on October 26. A few hundred direct action activists who burned garbage bins in the street got way more attention, though – from media and politicians alike.
Continue reading “A Tale of Two Nationalisms”
It is a day of anger, a day of sorrow, a day of lost potential, a day of betrayal.
Today in Spain, the supreme court sentenced nine political and cultural leaders in Catalonia to sentences between 9 and 13 years in prison, with political ineligibility over the same periods, after two years in “preventive detention,” for what? For wanting to vote.
Continue reading “Franco’s Children”
With the entry of Boris Johnson to power in the United Kingdom (or “United Kingston,” as Ivanka Trump tweeted), and the possibility of a hard, “no deal” disconnect between that nation and the European Union, I am posting here links back to three older posts that continue to offer my synthetic view of the situation.
There is also a new European Commission and European Parliament in place, which also means changes in other key posts like the European Central Bank, and the officers of the European Council. At the time of this writing I have no idea how this will change things. I only hope (against hope?) that it will be for the better.
Anyway, here are the links:
Yes, friends, it is so nice to finally be able to put a label on one’s condition, isn’t it? I’ve long believed that in today’s world, you’re nobody if you don’t have a condition described by initials ending in DD. Mine is SMCDD. Never heard of it? Well, I added the DD (“Deficiency Disorder”) so I could join the party. But SMC stands for Sensory-Motor-Coupling. And I’ve had problems with this all my life. In some people, it can be disabling. In my case, it’s pretty light weight, a minor annoyance. But an annoyance, all the same…
Continue reading “I Finally Know What I Have!”
Last May, I attended the STC Technical Communication Summit in Denver. It had been a couple of years since my last Summit, and it felt good to be there. I was among friends, on familiar ground, sharing expertise and tall tales, reveling in a kind of homecoming. But it was also a bittersweet occasion. At the end of my presentation on living in volatile contexts, I announced my farewell to technical communication.
Continue reading “Farewell to Technical Communication”
As I indicated in my last post, it has been hard to write. Things seem too bleak, or simply too overwhelming to explain.
At last, I have something to communicate and share with you, that is both simple and hopeful. I have been in Melbourne, Australia for the last two weeks, visiting with friends I haven’t seen in years, and attending the conference of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education – WFATE, or World FATE as they like to call it, with good reason.
This conference has been spectacular in many ways, but right now I’m just going to write about one. Today, we went out to the town of Sunshine, in the outskirts of Melbourne. They say it is the most diversified municipality in all Australia. We were there to visit an art gallery.
Continue reading “Communication from Down Under”
Not for the first time, I break a long silence. Perhaps my longest silence ever.
In the past, I’ve written about being busy, lots of excuses for not writing, etc. All the experts on blogging say it is an error to not post regularly. I am in error.
Continue reading “A Long Silence”