Saturday, April 22, 2006

Vendrell: Catalonia's new CEO

We, Catalans, are masochistic by nature. We not only have lost every single war in the last 600 years (we did pretty well before that time), our national day commemorates a defeat and guess what, it falls on September 11th (do not take it personally, it's been like that for almost 300 years, but it kills me that I cannot even celebrate my national day in the States) , but also we have a broken hand when choosing our politicians.
Our last achievement in the political arena has been the appointment of Xavier Vendrell, the famous alleged CEO (Chief Extorting Officer) as our new Interior Minister ("Conseller de Governació").
As you may remember, Xavier Verndrell allegedly sent letters to all those who had been hired to work in the departments ruled by his party (Esquerra Republicana Bananera de Catalunya) telling them that if they did not contribute part of their salaries to the Party, they would be fired on the spot, and some were indeed fired.
This guy is now responsible to appoint the chief prosecutor that will investigate his alleged crimes. It is believed that he is close to a deal with the former prosecutor in Aruba of the Natalee Halloway case, but he is still open to other options if they are proven to be even more incompetent.
Should I have a Catalan passport (something that I have longed for some times), I would tear it to pieces right now. I love Massachusetts more and more.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Andalusia: national reality

In the new Andalusian Statute, Andalusia will be defined as a “national reality”. What’s a national reality (“realidad nacional”)?, have I made an error in translation? Did I actually mean a national realty? No, they really mean a national reality, what is a euphemism for nation.
Yes, Andalusia has defined itself as a nation. To be frank, I could not care less how the Andalusian people define themselves. I like people from Andalusia and I like their land, even though I do not share many of their values and priorities in life. But diversity is what makes the Iberian peninsula such a wonderful place.
But the big surprise to me is that there is no uproar in Spain because of this. I would have expected a call by the Spanish hardcore nationalists to boycott the Jabugo ham, the Seville olives or the Andalusian ‘fried fish” (“pescaito frito”) and the proliferation of websites attacking Andalusia for its attempt to create a nation within a nation. But nothing of this has happened. Most of the Spanish right-winged press have criticized it a little bit, but they all have put the blame on Catalonia (!?), as you can read by yourselves in the linked article that appeared, guess where, in ABC newspaper.
As I said, I do not care how the Andalusians call themselves. No matter whether they are a nation, a region, a nationality or an empire, I will continue to consume their products and visit their land, even if sometimes I am called names, because I am a Catalan. I will continue to eat as much Jabugo Ham with cava, whenever I go back home and cry every time that the US customs officer confiscates my 2 pounds of Jubugo ham at the port of entry.
But it is obvious that in Spain there is a triple standard, a virulent reaction against Catalonia, a subdued reaction against the Basque country (most probably out of fear) and tolerance vis a vis the rest of the peoples in the Iberian peninsula. Why? I remember that about 20 years ago I saw a program on Spanish TV where a reporter was asking people in Andalusia what they thought about Catalans in a point of time where the political situation was extremely quiet. Many people responded: “los catalanes son muy suyos”, that literally translated would be “Catalans are very themselves” and in a free translation I would put it as, “Catalans are different”. Food for thought.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Catalan - Spanish equalizer

My perception about nationality is most probably different from many other people. Objectively my nationality is Spanish. The funny thing is that, according to the Constitution and the body of the Catalan "Estatut", Catalonia is a "nationality". According to the preface, you all know that Catalonia is a nation. However even though Catalonia is a nationality and a nation, this does not make my nationality Catalan. I admit it is messy.
The way I feel my nationality is exclusive and not additive. I do not think that someone can be Spanish and Catalan at the same time. I think someone can feel 50% Spanish and 50% Catalan. In a normal day, I feel 70% Catalan and 30% Spanish. When I read some of the statements made by the thugs of Esquerra Republicana, my Catalanity descends to a mere 50% (that's my minimum, no matter how upset I may be). When I read ABC, EL Mundo, the trancripts of the COPE radiostation or I listen to politicians like Acebes, my Catalanity moves to 90%, leaving a mere 10% for my "Spanish Nationality".
Some Spaniards may get upset about it, but I cannot help it. The Spanish flag and the Spanish national anthem do not resonate with me at all, I feel absolutely nothing. When I see the Spanish flag at Boston national airport (among many other flags there), my eyes go directly to the Catalan flag that appears in the royal logo. But if I see a Catalan flag or I hear the Catalan national anthem ("els segadors"), that makes my flesh creep.
There might be a psychological reason for that. Most probably it is related to the fact that many Catalan babyboomers like me (the Catalan babyboom was in the sixties) unconsciously relate the Spanish symbols to the Franco dictatorship.
For those of you who did not understand anything, because you are not familiar with Catalonia, Spain and our futilities, I would like to provide this comparison as a reference:

Catalonia = Massachusetts = state
Països Catalans (I like to call them Baleària) = New England = A conglomerate of states with common culture and origins
Spain = United States of America = country

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Brigand - El Bandoler

It is tough to be a Catalan nationalist. You bet. Our biggest enemy is not the conservative Popular Party or the government in Madrid, our biggest enemies are the Catalan politicians. Many of them are dishonest, arrogant, inept, clumsy and with the IQ of an ant (I hope that those ants who read my blog will not be offended).
There is no party in Catalonia who escapes from this pandemic disease. However, there is one that shines above them all, ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya), soon to be known as ERBC (Esquerra Republicana Bananera de Catalunya). They are the worst, like Tom Delay to the 5th power, a bunch of bandits or brigands. As W.H. Hudson would put it, a typical ERC politician is "an ignorant ruffianly gaucho, who... would... fight, steal, and do other naughty things without a qualm".
The latest event that proves their criminal activity is the discovery of the fact that top ERC politicians who have key positions in the Catalan government have been sending letters to all those contract employees who work in the departments they manage asking for compulsory contributions to the Party, otherwise they would lose their jobs. Some of those refusing to pay what I would qualify as "revolutionary tax" (similar to the ones imposed by terrorist organizations to business owners), have been already fired from the Catalan institutions.

What a shame, what a terrible shame. All leaders of ERC should go to prison and spend there 30 years. And they still try to justify it. They say that being financed by party members and supporters makes them independent from the business contributions and this maybe true, but extorting law abiding citizens instead, makes them criminals.

I cannot imagine a Catalonia governed by those crooks. If they ruled the country on their own and you would like to get a governmental job, anything from an administrative assistant to a Secretary of State, you would only need to fulfill three relatively easy pre-requisites: speak Catalan reasonably well, be a ERC party member or supporter and agree to pay the revolutionary tax. All the rest is secondary, your qualifications, your international experience, your expert knowledge, all useless if you do not meet the three basic conditions. I told you, a bunch of bandits. We will get rid of them sooner or later.

I know that some Spanish nationalists will turn this article against Catalonia and the Catalans. I do not care. I just want to influence the politics of my nation, Catalonia, so that they are Sarbanes Oxley (SOX 404) compliant. We will get there, no matter what those who hate Catalonia think or say.

Lluis Llach's song, el bandoler (the brigand) is playing obsessively in my brains. It is a good song and suits this posting very well.