An Interview with a Proud Catalan

Catalonia, a region in the north of Spain most famous for containing Barcelona, is in the process of trying to become an independent state. There are divided opinions on the subject, so we interviewed Max, an 18 year old proud Catalan who lives just north of Barcelona, to tell us a little bit more.

1. Hola Max! What’s the current situation in Catalonia?

Hi! Well, currently Catalonia is in a sovereignist process in which we are trying to separate from Spain, to become an independent state. This process started after the massive demonstration (more than 2 million people on the streets) that was held in Barcelona the 11th of September of 2012 and the situation is now in a crucial state. The Catalan people are asking the Spanish government to let them vote in a referendum, but the answer is always no. Nevertheless, a date for the referendum has already been fixed by the Catalan government for later this year: 9/11/14.

2. Why do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?

I want Catalonia to become an independent state for many reasons. First of all, because I do not feel Spanish at all. We have our own language, flag, institutions and traditions which are almost 1000 years old. Catalonia has only been part of Spain for the last 300 years. Before being defeated by Felipe V, Catalonia was, along with Aragón and País Valencià, a sovereign country (Corona catalanoaragonesa). Through these 300 years of Spanish occupation of Catalonia, we have been abused day after day and year after year. The Catalan language and the Catalan institutions have been banned several times through these 300 years in an attack on the Catalan nation. Therefore, I don’t want to be part of a state which hates me and which has been unfair to mine.

Secondly, I want Catalonia to be an independent state also for economical reasons. Catalonia is one of the most prosperous regions of Spain, and as an Autonomous Community (AC), each year it gives a large amount of money to the Spanish government. The thing is that, although being one of the AC that gives the most money to the Spanish state, it is the one which receives the least money back. Every year Catalonia loses 16 thousand million euros to Spain. This is a very important amount of money that would prevent the Catalan government to use restrictive policies and to cut the budget if we were independent. We are also abused in many other ways. Catalan students are the ones who are given less scholarships, Catalonia is one of the the few AC with tolls, and the investments in the improvement of the railway system are ridiculous compared to those made in AC like Madrid, Andalucia or Castilla La Mancha, which are AC that give much less money to Spain than Catalonia. The centralism of Spain harms the catalan economy so much, and the situation in unsustainable.

3. Do you think it would be a problem to come from a country with such an unusual language spoken by only 11 million people? Would schools only teach in Catalan or would students learn Castilian too?

Not at all. I’m very proud of being a Catalan speaker. Catalan is such a cultivated and historical language and the fact of being bilingual is so useful. Catalan dates back to the XI century and played a great role in the Middle Ages. Great and famous novels have also been written in the region, like Tirant Lo Blanch, the first chivalry novel ever. Plus the language is spoken in four countries ( Spain, Andorra, France and Italy) which gives the language more repercussion. If Catalonia became independent, Castilian wouldn’t stop being taught in school since bilingualism is one of the things that defines Catalonia. And as former members of Spain, it would be nonsense to stop teaching Castilian.

4. When is the soonest that Catalonia could become an independent state?

I think the soonest Catalonia could be independent is 2015. Providing, of course, that the answer to the referendum were yes. If the referendum eventually couldn’t be celebrated, there’d be plebiscitary elections and 2015 would also be the soonest Catalonia could be independent.

5. Do all your Catalan friends agree with you? Do most people have strong opinions, or do some not care whether it becomes independent?

Yes, the vast majority of my friends are in favour of independence – up to 90% of them. Although there are people who don’t care very much, almost everybody has his respective opinion about the subject. And there are also some people in the region who don’t want Catalonia to become an independent state but want it to become a federal state of Spain, like the Socialist Party of Catalonia, PSC.

Map-Of-Catalonia

Read about a famous Catalan tradition here

Read about Barcelona here

Read about Catalonia’s national day here 

Read about another Catalan city, Girona, here

Read about a novel set in Catalonia here

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14 comments

  1. pedmar10

    Its against the constitution, already voted down by the constitutional tribunal and the Spanish parliament with a vote of 86% against it. The stories mentioned are unbelievable, you need to look at the history of Spain.

    • Max

      Its not actually il·legal since the catalan executive has already found 5 legal ways to hold the referèndum. Plus the constitution can be easily changes(Has already been changed when parties in power are interested). But the anticatalanism problem is so grave in spain. Fascism and ultra rigut is still very present in some places.
      Not allowing catalonia to vote is an attack to democracy.

    • Max

      Oh, that’s nice. You’d rather Catalonia to start an armed conflict like so many countries in europe have done to achieve independence?

      There is no way you can prevent a country from deciding its own future. The quebecois referendum wasn’t either mentioned in the constitution, but nevertheless, it was held. Do you really think its antidemocratic to ask Spain to let us vote?

      • pedmar10

        yes when its against the Constitution. The whole country must vote on changes, not just one region. That is democracy of all rights, the Constitution.

      • Max

        Catalonia is the country who wants to decide its future and therefore is the one which should vote. According to what you say, the scottish referendum should be voted all along the UK, right?

  2. Cheto

    I like this blog and this topic is very interesting, but these answers are just ABSURD! How old is the interviewed guy… 15?
    No doubt about the fact that Catalunya, Catalan and the Catalans are a great nation, language and population that need to preserve its cultural and geopolitical identity, but separating from Spain would just be stupid and useless (unless the real target is to spoil Catalunya of any international relevance).

    Only 300 years that Catalunya was under the spanish domination… ONLY? DOMINATION? seriously???
    Catalan is also spoken in Italy… oh yes, you wish so! Maybe from 3 or 4 people above 90 years old!

    If you want to seriously deal with an issue, you cannot just take the 1st extremist and ask his opinion!

    • the europhiles

      It’s clearly a super controversial topic – and Max is (as the title suggests) an extremely proud 18 year old Catalan.
      Obviously, the general consensus Europe-wide is that separating from Spain is a bad idea, but the point of this article was just to get the opinion of one teenager currently living in Catalunya… I will try and find a different Spanish teen who is very against separating to give a balanced view on the topic!

    • Max

      Hi, I’m Max, the one interviewed. First of all, since you called me and extremist, I must make clear that I’m far from being one. (If I am extremist what are ETA and IRA then?).

      Secondly, as said in the interview, there are quite a lot of reasons to claim for.independence, starting from the economycall ones. I, as a catalan, I want to live better and stop suffering from constant cuts. And that is only possible to achieve through independence.

      And, as far as ideologicall and historic subjects are concerned, the situacions is quite.complex and maybe uncomprehensible for someone who is not catalan or spanish.

      • Max

        Sorry for the mistakes, my catalan phone keeps correcting all the words I write

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