This is a great article that gets at some of the tension in Catalunya in regards to being a separate independent country and in whether or not to support Spain’s national futbol team. There is a long and interesting history of why this is an issue, but I won’t go into that.
After the win over Germany the other night, I was surprised at how few people were out celebrating in Barcelona (To later find out that people were on La Rambla…which is also interesting because it’s a total tourist spot, but it would be cool if it were taken over with a city wide party!). It’s not crazy after a win here like in Madrid or other cities without separatist tendencies. But as this article talks about, we are seeing a change. And if Spain wins the match in a few hours, I’m wondering how many more steps people, especially the young, will be more ok with identifying with Spain as a whole. Spain has never been to a World Cup final. Had never won anything big until Euro2008 and the wounds that divide this country are still fresh…relatively speaking.
I think that this article is getting at something. There could be a change on the horizon. What if the young Catalans (think 18 and younger) are more ok with celebrating Spain than the generation before? Would a ‘Spain’ victory in the World Cup dull the edge of a historically separatist culture? Could it unite people?
There is a part of me that wishes that it would. One half of me would like to see people here more unified and less angry about the past. Just yesterday there was a massive protest by the Catalan Nationalistic Party (the group that wants Catalunya to be it’s own nation-state) on Passeig de Gracia. Hundreds of thousands of people were out with Catalan flags. On my walk home from a meeting I saw people burning a Spanish flag.
I thought, “That’s kind of disrespectful…” The atmosphere was intense. People were angry. At this point in the protest it was mostly 20-somethings with probably a bit too much angst. I wonder what they would be passionate about if they didn’t have this? If there was no more fight.
But there is another part of me that loves the revolution spirit of people here. It’s been within a generation that they’ve even been allowed to protest like this. After learning more about the history of the region, and it is recent history, I understand why they want to be separate from Spain. They are basically a people who were conquered in the past and no longer want to be captive to Spain now that we live in a different time.
It’s a very interesting and complex situation. I’m glad to be here during this time as I feel like it could be a breaking point…if Spain wins. So I’m understanding as to why the Catalans have a hard time supporting the national team (even though 7 of the team’s players are from Barcelona’s team).
But we’ll see what happens in the next 10 hours…it could shape the sentiment of the next 10 years.