This week saw extraordinary developments in Catalonia’s struggle for independence, leading to what has been referred to as Spain’s biggest constitutional crisis since the attempted “23-F” coup d’état in 1981.
On Wednesday, the Guardia Civil arrested 14 senior Catalan officials in raids against a number of regional government offices. On the same day, police confiscated nearly 10 million ballot papers that were intended to be used for next week’s referendum on Catalan independence. The region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, stated that the Spanish government had now effectively abolished Catalan autonomy altogether and imposed a state of emergency. The background to all this is of course that the national government strongly opposes the referendum, arguing that it is unconstitutional.
The question of Catalan independence is sensitive and highly divisive. Virtually all the Catalans I have had the pleasure of knowing have resented the notion that they are Spanish, and will undoubtedly vote for secession if the referendum goes ahead next week.
A mere five weeks after the horrific terror attacks on La Rambla and in Cambrils, it is saddening to see Catalans (and Spaniards) consumed with hatred for their racial brothers and sisters. One would hope that the Catalan struggle for independence will not become a distraction from the battle against the real enemies of Europe and those who aid them, a battle in which Spaniards and Catalans – along with all European peoples – should be natural allies. Catalans and Spaniards have infinitely more in common with each other than with the people now flooding Spain and the rest of Europe.
As we have seen with other independence movements in recent European history (notably Scotland’s), the striving for secession seems misguided, in that it does not go hand in hand with a longing for ethnic homogeneity or freedom from the shackles of the EU. Indeed, it is revealing that one of the leaders of the Catalan “Junts pel Sí” independence movement went as far as to act as an apologist for mass immigration and “co-existence” following the terror attacks in August. Another prominent advocate of Catalan independence has shown her contempt for Europe and its people by wearing an Antifa t-shirt in public.
Beyond doubt, it would be far better for Spaniards and Catalans to stand united in the battle against those who brought death and destruction to La Rambla and Cambrils, and against those who enable them by promoting mass immigration and multiculturalism.