I was wondering today when does democracy begin – at the moment where you are free to express opinions… or at the moment you are free to act upon you opinion?
I did not vote today. But all of my friends along with their parents and grandparents went to express their views on the catalan culture, identity and independence from the Spanish state. And congratulations to all – ot of 30% of the Sant Cugat population (more then the participation on the European vote), 93% were in favor of a constitutional change which will defend better the rights of Catalans to protect and act upon their culture.
I do not know who is right and who is wrong. Not to mention that things are not completely blacck and white on this one. What I know is that I have been easily and equally accepted by nationalistic catalans, and insulted and ignored by educated professional Spaniards.
I am not defending any standpoint. I would not end up in Barcelona if it was not for the Spanish and their fame throughout the world, yet there are certain things that a Spaniard is not open to understand and accept (TO MY K NOWLEDGE AND I AM A FOREIGNER).
I remember, not that long ago, I think I was about 12-13 I decided I want a dog for Christmas. A dog, I did not get… Yet, I refused to accept the present from my parents instead – a pair of sunglasses and an amazing parfume. I wanted a dog and I was not gonna settle for less…
The other day we did Secret Santa and my present ended up with a girl from Madrid. As I knew that the group of Secret Santa Exchange was of foreigners and people from Madrid I decided to buy a mini-cagatio (see my blogpost on the topic). I thought it was fun. Instead of ending up with the 20 Catalan residing people in the room, my present ended up with a Madrillenya. Even better, I thought, now she could take it home as a souvenir from Catalunya (I can onl ybegin to count how many presents I have brought back fom travelling throughout). We all went very excited – in the end the cagatio ended up in the right hands :). Or you would think so. We explained to her what it is, that it brings luck and that it also carries the presents for the children during Christmas in a very “peculiar manner”… She spent some time looking at it… studying it carefully and then she announced: “No, it is really ugly.. too Catalan… I dont understand it… . I do not want it. I will leave it here” – an that infront of 3 Catalans whose culture it is, and myself who had spent the previous week thinking about what to buy, she left it in the office without any consideration, respect and acknowledgement of something different then her own world.
This is exactly what the Catalans were voting against – against intolerans, lack of understanding and recognition. A country recognizes its people and the people are entitled to recognition by their coutnry – the same contry that they are paying taxes to, that they are taking care of, that they are defending in international conflicts as well as world Olympiads.
Some say studying in a different language is wrong. Some say boo-ing the Spanish king when he has come to defend only one of the two NATIONAL teams is wrong. Some say that keeping a souvenir from another culture is wrong. I say it is right.
I do not know what is right about the Catalans neither do I want to take a position in their matters. I am not from here and I am scared that their actions are causing more harm then gain. Yet, isn’t this democracy? The right to speak up and defend your beliefs?
International Media: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8409767.stm