catalonianotspain (1)

catalonianotspain (1) - CATALONIAISNOTSPAIN Flags are...

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CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN Flags are visible in every corner of the stadium. Hundreds of flags of two different colours waving in the wind. Let’s go back to Sunday night, 8th of October of 2006 in Camp Nou, the football-stadium of FC Barcelona. Everywhere people are chanting and supporting their team. There are two varieties of flags waving in the stadium: Senyeres and Ikurriñas - the flags of Catalonia and the Basque country. Over 55,000 fans have come to watch the game between the two football teams. It is evident that the match is not only about football. Banners advocating self-determination have turned the stadium into something resembling an enormous political rally. One banner stands out. It is huge and carries the slogan “Catalonia is not Spain”. In Madrid they only care about Madrid! Catalonia, together with the Basque country and Galicia form part of the historical regions of Spain. In terms of legislation and administration they are endowed with significant power of their own. But it has not always been this way. More than once in its history, Catalonia was forced to give up its autonomous rights and powers. During Franco’s dictatorship from 1939 until 1977 the right of self-administration was abolished by the central state. The use of the Catalan language was prohibited and sanctioned, classes were taught only in Spanish and the names of cities and towns had to be changed. Only when Franco died and Spain became a democratic state in 1978 was Catalonia able to regain its independence. Since then much effort has been made to maintain and promote the Catalan culture and to enforce the use of Catalan as the only official language in administration as well as in schools. In Catalonia, local issues have greater significance than in most regions. During last year’s race, the words “Catalonia”, “Catalan” or “Catalan language” were commonly used in the campaign posters, speeches and electoral programmes of nearly every political party. Among many, this
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regional pride is mixed with a certain disdain of exterior influence. “Those in Madrid are always criticising us and I don’t want them to tell us what to do”, says an 18 year old guy from Barcelona. This is a widespread opinion in Catalonia, particularly among the younger generation. Many young people develop a strong Catalan identity even though their parents may come from other regions of Spain. A survey conducted by the Opinion Research Centre of Catalonia in 2006 found out that a very strong Catalonian identity was most prominent among those between 16 and 34 years of age. An author writing under the username “arrabal” declares on
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catalonianotspain (1) - CATALONIAISNOTSPAIN Flags are...

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