08/07/2019 00:59 Actualizado a 08/07/2019 06:40
In 1898, after the loss of Cuba and the Philippines, Joan Maragall wrote his ‘Oda a Espanya’, the poem that begins with “Escolta, Espanya-la veu d’un fill / que et parla en llengua- no castellana” and ends with his well-known and more than cited last verse: “Adéu, Espanya!”. It’s better not entertaining myself in deciphering the Catalanist but also the Spanish regenerationist thought of the poet, because for the purposes of this column it is enough with the fame and prestige of that ‘Adéu, Espanya!’ so much invoked even if it is decontextualized and even removed from the rest of the poem and its author. Nor will I go into what was supposed to be the loss of Cuba for the commercial and economic interests of a Catalan bourgeoisie which by that time lamented mostly precisely the fact that the inefficient Spain had not been able to preserve and maintain its colonies. Paradoxes of history, like the starred flag coming, you know, from there; from Cuba, Puerto Rico and the new flags independent of the metropolis…
But let’s open the focus without forgetting Grandpa Maragall. Between 1898 and let’s say that at least until 2017, Barcelona in particular and, by extension, Catalonia in general were considered to be the most European part of Spain. After the last civil war, it was so clear that many of us remember when Spaniards arrived from other latitudes and proclaimed through the streets of the Eixample that “How can you tell that this is Europe!”. Europe started in the Pyrenees. And Spain was something else, almost African, in those days when Madrid was a mixture between the La Mancha village it was and the Caracas it began to appear at the end of the fifties or first sixties.
For many years, after democracy, Catalonia and above all Barcelona maintained that plus and prestige of European capital, of more European people than the rest of the inhabitants of the peninsula. Our old superiority, yes, that made us proud and that in these days we should review urgently. Because what was lived almost a week ago, last Tuesday in Strasbourg, was the conversion of the new Catalan nationalism into an anti-European movement that, like almost all those who are now, invokes freedom and direct democracy to criticize institutions. I will apologize for the relief, but it was especially painful for me to listen to Carles Puigdemont giving lessons to the European Union. And I am also sorry for the few thousands who went to Strasbourg, with ample representation among them of retirees who, another paradox, continue to receive their pension still guaranteed by a State they want to leave. And they do not care anymore if they drift away from being European. Moreover, this Europe is no longer of interest … Review the nonsense written and hung (never better said) by nationalist politicians and even members of the Mossos in the so-called networks…
“Adéu, Europa!” Seem to say some. Never had the Catalanism lost so much the north. I never thought I would see it. The last veil has fallen.