Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Separatism in Catalunya

I understood the basics of the Catalunya controversy before going to Barcelona, though I had not followed it closely. Once there, we saw that politics becomes very public. Many people hung the Catalan independence flag (differentiated from the regular Catalan flag by its star) from their apartment balconies.

Other pro-independence residents put up variations on a yellow ribbon, signifying support for the independence leaders who were put in prison. In the Gothic Quarter there were even English-language versions:

By contrast, in the wealthier northern part of the city, like La Bonanova, we saw no flags at all. I don't know the socio-economic or geographical breakdown of support for independence, though my impression had been that it was rather jumbled (as is ideology). In a southern part of the city I noticed there were a lot more Spanish flags, whereas most elsewhere those were not flown at all.

We had a perfect example of how politics is part of everyday public life at a Catalan restaurant in Barcelona. The waiter brought a bottle of Catalan wine and even a printout of a map of Catalunya to show us exactly where the grapes were grown. He labeled the areas around Catalunya as France, Mediterranean, and Spain. In other words, as far as he was concerned we were not in Spain.


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