Living in Spain, it is impossible for me not to write about the current crisis in Catalonia. I am far from an expert on politics, but I have tried to get a broader view by reading news from different English sources (my Spanish has a long way to go!) and speaking to Spanish friends here.
Spain has been our home for the past year and half, and Madrid was my home on two occasions in the past. I have a strong love for this country, its climate and culture, so it saddened me to see how it came across so badly in the news after 1st October. The sickening images of police brutality against the Catalans brought tears to my eyes, but at the end of the day, it was an illegal referendum. All those people were breaking the law, and unfortunately for them, there were consequences. The Spanish president, Rajoy, was wrong not to allow a legal referendum and Puigdemont was just as wrong to push ahead with an illegal one. He incited the chaos and therefore the resulting violence: notice how he wasn’t among the 900 injured? The police brutality painted a despicable picture of Spain, making it appear to be a place where people cannot express their wishes and opinions.
Now, after a tense two and half weeks, the Spanish Government is planning to trigger Article 155. (All these bloody articles in the EU!) This will start to remove some of the devolved powers that Catalonia currently has. Apparently, this is unchartered territory and I am a little uneasy about what might happen. Last week on Valencia Day (9th October) there was a clash between two groups of protesters: extreme left and right. We were watching the Valencia Day procession, taking photos and enjoying the bank holiday, while 5 minutes down the road the riot police were trying break things up. I’ve seen other, peaceful, demonstrations in Valencia recently, but I think that if Madrid pushes through with Article 155, things might become pretty unsettled rather quickly. With Brexit in the British headlines and the Catalonia Crisis in Spain, I feel like both the places I call home are politically precarious right now.
So what can we do? Take advantage of being from one culture and living in another. Do the British ‘Keep calm and carry on’ by going for a beer and some tapas with friends, in the warm autumn sunshine. What else can we do?