Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Catalans chant "independencia" on their national day
After months of resistance Barcelona finally surrendered on September 11, 1714. Modern Spain was born, but Catalonia was to pay a heavy price for its support for the Austrian candidate: Catalan language was forbidden and Catalan institutions abolished. Every year, on September 11, Catalans commemorate the day on which Barcelona fell, honouring those killed defending the country's laws and institutions.
In 1931 the Catalans regained their freedom with Catalan being taught in schools and Parliament reopened. Sadly, this was not to last. Catalunya once again found itself on the losing side, this time in the Spanish Civil War. The Franco dictatorship came down heavily on all things Catalan. It was forbidden to even speak Catalan, let alone teach it in the schools. Everything was governed from Madrid. The Civil War was a particularly bad time for El Port de la Selva, which was bombed twice.
The barbecue's had been fired up and now everyone formed an orderly line for a giant sausage on lovely, fresh crusty bread accompanied by a glass of red wine. We sat on one of the benches overlooking the beach and thoroughly enjoyed our food. Independencia.
Wednesday, September 11 dawned, Diada Nationale. Today was the day of the Catalan Way, where hands would be joined in a giant chain running from the French border in the north down to the province of Valencia in the south to mark solidarity for Catalan independence.
Following Franco's death Catalans regained some of their independence but today they give more to Spain financially than they get back thus spurring on the independence movement. When we returned from our coffee young and old were waiting for the bus to take them to the spot where they would join the human chain. In the square the sardana band was playing and people were performing the traditional Catalan dance, which is always performed on special holidays.
It was a lovely experience to see such a well organized event with people obviously enjoying themselves in a such a calm and friendly fashion. It will be interesting to see how the government in Madrid reacts to this show of Catalan solidarity.