Letter to My Foreign Friend about Catalonia

Emilio Campmany

Dear friend,

I know you have been following the news about Catalonia’s attempt to gain independence from Spain. I am sure you have been upset by TV images of police officials beating people whilst closing polling stations. You probably also feel sympathy for the Catalan independence movement. But if you want to know more in depth what it is all about, you will have to hear some home truths.

The Catalan government has built a huge propaganda machine. This, of course, dominates the public media in Catalonia, constantly spreading messages of hate to Spain and to Spanish people. They also control the private media through generous subsidies.

Through this cumbersome apparatus, the Catalan government have been spreading the motto "Spain is robbing us". Some people have been convinced that if they could be independent, they will be richer. In truth, part of the taxes collected in Catalonia do not return to the region. This is normal because Catalonia is rich and there are far poorer regions in Spain. There are other rich regions in Spain too but no one protests there because their taxes are spent helping other Spanish people in poor regions.

So, separatism is not about the feeling of belonging to a different fatherland. It is a selfish movement based on the idea that they do not want to share their wealth with the rest of the Spanish people.

To get this selfish and contemptible objective, nationalists have been placing importance on all those things that, in some way, made the Catalans different. For instance, the Spanish language is forbidden in Catalan public schools and isn’t permitted in the signposting of shops.

Catalonia is a rich region. Its wealth came not only from the hard work of the Catalan people, but also from the fact that it is Spain. Catalan industries have been protected by high tariffs imposed by the Spanish government, forcing the Spanish people to buy the expensive Catalan products for centuries. The opening up of the Spanish market after our entry into the European Union has not been well assimilated by the Catalan economy. Catalonia, compared to other Spanish regions, is currently not as rich as it was during the Francoist era. This backward slide has been caused by nationalism and corruption. The most important nationalist leader in recent years, and his family, received hundreds of millions of euros in bribes. All high Catalan society is involved, some way or another.

Dear friend: please take care to search for information about the Catalan rebellion and try to understand the feeling of this old people that, in 1978, built this expensive and wasteful political system that we call "Estado de las Autonomías" (State of Autonomous Regions) only to give the Catalans a really autonomous government in order from them to be happy being Spanish. And now we have to see our common language forbidden in Catalan schools, our anthem booed by the Barcelona football team supporters and our flag and the portrayal of our king burnt in the streets of Barcelona.

Warm regards from your friend Emilio.

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