Jordi Juan, 27/10/2021
Director La Vanguardia
Archive image of a meeting between Pere Aragonès and Ximo Puig LVE / Arnau Carbonell
We Catalans are not inferior to anyone, but we would do wrong to believe ourselves superior to the rest. The process has caused a clear distancing between Catalonia and the rest of the autonomous communities that has already been discussed and debated at length. Many people of good faith residing outside of Catalonia have felt offended and rejected by the Catalan independence sentiment. It may have an explanation, especially if it is exposed to anti-Catalan messages from politicians and the media on a daily basis.
Already in the distant 1983, the then president Jordi Pujol inaugurated in Madrid an exhibition entitled Catalonia in modern Spain, 1714-1983, which sought a mutual understanding between the different communities. “Catalonia is not an invention,” said Pujol. Many years and many educational campaigns later, the Generalitat decided in 2000 to invest 2,400 million of the old pesetas in a vast media operation to improve the image of Catalonia in the rest of Spain. “There are prejudices in Spain, based on ignorance of our reality, which play against us,” Pujol insisted again.
And a day came when Catalan nationalism decided that it could no longer try to make Spain fall in love any more and chose another path that has led to the current situation, where the image of Catalonia has deteriorated in many corners of the State. There will be readers who will tell me that the reverse is also true. Undoubtedly: many Catalans do not feel Spanish today and have totally disconnected from what is Spanish.
But going back to Catalonia, the forms are very important. Every time the current president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, chooses to decline to attend a multilateral meeting, be it the conference of presidents or, now, the business meeting in Zaragoza, which we are reporting today, he leaves a halo of arrogance that leads nowhere. Pretending to negotiate only face to face with the central government and avoid mixing with the rest of the communities does not make any sense in the current autonomous state and only serves to grow anti-Catalan sentiment. Gestures are very important in politics and today businessmen from four communities are meeting but with only three presidents.