So I’ve had another … “I’m such a sheltered American” moment while in Spain. Well, not so much a single moment, as much as an on-going thought. Sitges and Barcelona are actually in Catalonia, which is a province of Spain. According to Wikipedia, “Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain on the northeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain.”
I was also very surprised to learn there’s technically a civil war going on right now in Catalonia. Before leaving for our trip, I admittedly checked out of the US news cycle, so maybe everyone else knows this, but I had no idea. Considering the history of Catalonia goes back to the 8th century, it’s only relatively recently, the last 300 years, that Catalonia has been part of Spain. The Catalonia people very much consider themselves a operate from Spain, on October 1, 2017, Catalan independence referendum. The referendum question, which voters answered with “Yes” or “No”, was “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”. The “Yes” side won, with 2,044,038 (92.01%) voting for independence and 177,547 (7.99%) voting against, on a turnout of 43.03%.
On the day of the election, this happened — WATCH — it’s actually really hard for me to watch. No exaggeration, my stomach aches and I get tears in my eyes to watch it. These people were voting and the police are dragging people out by their hair. This happened last year — 2017. Again, I feel like such an ignorant American when learning and researching more about the Catania people. Soon after the vote, the entire Catalonia government was arrested and the president fled.
Walking around Barcelona, and Sitges, you’ll find yellow ribbons and the Catalonia flags everywhere. I found it very humbling. We’ve got our own mess of problems, but at the end of the day, I am thankful to be an American.
My point in writing this post is to two-fold. First, yet again I am humbled to realize what an ignorant American I am, and second, encourage others back home to stay connected to what’s happening outside of the United States. Fake news aside, find a news outlet based outside of the US and learn about what’s happening in the world.
If you’d like to read more, check out this great Washington Post article.