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Thread: before living in Barcelona, I did not understand how strongly Catalans felt about Spanish government policies and attitudes
And make no mistake, the resentment is deep seated and strong. And yes historical. And it is not only Franco but goes further back
But of course the Civil War and the decades of brutal repression by Franco crystalised much of the anger.
Catalan institutions and culture, even language was banned under Franco. And yes, the banning was done with imperial ambitions
Spanish state implemented the sole use of Spanish and Catalans were told to 'speak the language of the Empire.' theconversation.com/the-rebirth-of…
Btw similar albeit (with region specific tweaks) policies were put in place in the Basque country. So yes, the repression was real!
It was the crumbling empire turning the policies it had developed and deployed overseas to places closer home (see @redlightvoices's TL)
And after Franco died, the Spanish state never really confronted the issues. Never brought the perpetrators of brutality to account
A kind of comfortable silence was pulled over the past. But no structural changes were made to institutions and agencies, esp police
That is why Spain's military regularly pipes up to threaten various provinces demanding separation, independence+change. They never reformed
Also why if you live in Barcelona, you quickly learn to differentiate between Mossos and the police. The former are often quite friendly
The latter however are just terrifying. I learned one night how much the locals had the fear enbedded in the while walking down Montjuic
All we did was walk past a van full of police. I found it weird that cops were lurking in the dark. My friend however was shaking in fear
And you see the elderly? The yayos? They have first hand experience and memory of Franco's regime
And btw it is even more complicated because Franco came to power after a Civil War. Not everyone in Catalunya was a republican.
And with all Civil Wars, the wounds and scare are internal. Families split against eachother then. And the pain has not gone away
Instead the refusal to confront the events, legacies and brutality has meant the wounds still fester just below the surface
I wrote a short story (Faded Serge and Yellowed Lace) about Barcelona and the repressed fury that lingers below the surface there
Each time I have read that story in Spain (I have read it four times), the room has gone crazy. People shouting at eachother, crying,
The rage and sorrow is SO powerful that nobody even remembers that I am in the room. It turns into emotionally refighting the Civil War
So keep these in mind as you watch #CatalanReferendum events unfold today. These are old wounds, old battles. And very complex ones
One final point: we need to talk about the failure of the Western model of the nation state. Not only regarding postcolonial ones but here
As European empires fade into shadows of their former selves, national boundaries and identities will also be reformed. That is inevitable
How this reformation occurs however is entirely upto the states and the people. But one thing is clear: repression does not work!
You can't force people to be part of a nation-state when they don't want to belong. Long term, it is unsustainable.
Any state that turns its might against its own people plants the seeds of its own demise. Applies to India, USA, Middle East. And to Europe.
End thread 🙏🏽
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