If you have visited Catalonia recently, you will have noticed that it is not uncommon to find “visca catalunya” (long live Catalonia) or “som una nació, nosaltré decidim” (we are a nation, we will decide) slogans and political propaganda throughout. You may have even had the chance to witness the crowds on Friday 11th September in which 1.5 million people took to streets in Catalan National Day protests. After numerous and persistent debates it appears that separatists have won the vote for Catalonia to become independent from Spain, after the election that took place on Sunday 27th of September.
While Catalan leader, Artur Mas I Gavarró and his people of Catalonia are celebrating, the rest of the country is now worried about its economical state as they may lose one of their wealthiest regions. Being a “Catalanist” is an important and widely heard term in Spain and particularly in the Catalonia region. What does this term really mean and who is behind it all? A Catalanist is essentially someone who is from Catalonia, who regards its culture and language as distinct from Spain and who is pro-independence. Where as some say that football and politics should not mix, Barça football club has a significant role in the movement for independence and they are known as the club that defends Catalan culture and represents Catalonia in society. Its motto is, “mes que un club” meaning, “more than just a club” and this slogan is said to transmit feelings, a political idea of freedom as well as passion. At a Barça vs Madrid match, every 17 minutes and 15 seconds there is a bellowing independence shout, which represents the year 1715 in which Catalonia lost their rights. Barça’s role in society is said to have come about during Franco’s military dictatorship during which freedom of expression, talk of nationalism and speaking Catalan were forbidden. During this time, Barça club was the organisation that led the social feeling.
Whereas most would say that the people of Catalonia are those who have the determination and control to make a difference, Barça is without a doubt considered an essential accompaniment towards this movement as it is considered a maximum expression of Catalanism and of a nation with their own culture and language. Undoubtedly, this is currently an extremely prevalent topic in the news in Spain as it has significant implications on the future of the country.
Taking a few moments to sift through some articles or to glance at a video or two on Spanish related news and events is a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary and keep up to date with latest happenings in these Spanish speaking countries. There are plenty of Spanish news websites online aimed towards native speakers if your Spanish is at an advanced level, but there are also plenty of websites where you can read lower level texts and watch videos with subtitles or explanations of vocabulary for beginners or intermediate students. So don’t sit still, take a moment to find some good Spanish learning websites or better yet, come back next week for some tips on great Spanish online resources. Fins després!
Evie Oswald, Language Co-ordinator