Manel Manchón July 9, 2021
Historian Roberto Villa, in the center, at the SCC event with Josep Ramon Bosch, Jordi Canal and María Ángeles Pérez Samper / CG
It could have been different. But the situation, at each moment, drifted towards a Catalonia dominated by nationalism that caused the independence procés in recent years. Four historians have been discussing on how to achieve “a possible Catalonia”, which recovers the characteristics that it did have at a key moment, in 1992, with the Olympic Games. Josep Ramon Bosch, Jordi Canal, Roberto Villa and María Ángeles Pérez Samper have shown their views on contemporary Catalonia in a debate organized by the Catalan Civil Society (SCC) in its summer school.
One of the barriers that should be overcome has been pointed out by the historian Josep Ramon Bosch, ex-president, precisely, of SCC, when defending the Catalan language. “The great division that has been established in Catalonia is between Catalan-speakers who are mostly pro-independence and Spanish-speakers, who for the most part are not. And that must be broken and I defend it, with the idea that Catalan is vindicated, which is the only tool that the pro-independence movement clings to”, said Bosch, speaking in Catalan, and provoking, at the beginning of his speech, a slight rumor among the attendees.
But it has been Jordi Canal, author of the book July 25,1992, who has set a border, strongly defending the “possible Catalonia” that could have been built from that date with the Olympic Games, with a Barcelona “open, mixed and cosmopolitan”, which provoked, precisely, a reaction from Jordi Pujol’s nationalism. In the opinion of Canal, Pujol intensified his project of “nationalization” based on TV3 and the “patronage” that made possible the development of the regional administration to combat what could be born of that Olympic Barcelona, ”which showed a loyalty to Spain and a great collaboration, despite some differences”.
Each of the participants has defended their academic work, with that common denominator, that of seeing Catalan nationalism as a project that, from the beginning, wanted its own state. That is the vision of Roberto Villa, who has harshly criticised Francesc Cambó, while Josep Ramon Bosch has expressed his reluctance, highlighting the contribution of the leader of the Regionalist League in Restoration Spain.
The four historians have pointed out that history offers lessons that must be taken into account now, at a time when entities such as the Catalan Civil Society intend to start a new stage in order to avoid a confrontation in two blocks in Catalonia. Its president, Fernando Sánchez Costa, has asked that “constitutionalism” regains its vigor, the one exhibited on October 8, 2017, and which, subsequently, has been diluted.