Thursday, 08/29/2019 | Updated 08/30/2019 – 22:08
Catalonia is not in the best of times and knows it. The international community and Spain, which also is not in the best of times, know it as well. That does psychologically a lot of damage because we Catalans have always lived pending – and proud – of how we looked because we knew we projected a positive image of a living, rich, cultured, dynamic society with an interesting personality of its own. Now it is not like that. They know us as conflictive, disjointed, touchy. A certain slowdown in prosperity and an upward shot in inequality, an inoperative own government and a discredit of the Generalitat presidency are noticeable. To put it in a fine way: Catalonia has lost charm.
Politics has a lot to do with it. Seen from the outside, an epic flavor created by the propaganda that sold us as protagonists of a beautiful ‘procés’ in search of independence has already been lost. Now the international community already knows that this was done against the contrary will of the majority and violating laws passed by all. It also knows that the trial that at first drew so much attention only seeks to punish technically criminal facts and not ideas, since independence ideas have lived in the light of day for many years and even ruled without problems before those allegedly criminal acts. The unfortunate punctual excesses of the Spanish police are reduced to their exact dimension because other police officers from other countries have normalized them, by removing originality and strength because they do the same thing unfortunately in other democracies, as we have seen this week in Biarritz-Bayonne when the police acted against the more or less pacifist civic wall protesting against the deterioration of the climate.
Barcelona also contributes to the declining image. Possibly due to political ill will, the Spanish Government of the PP significantly reduced at the time the number of police officers in the city and the secessionist Catalan Government then disregarded requests to compensate with more ‘mossos’. This move perhaps sought to create problems and discredit the alternative mayor Ada Colau, but in the end it has become a very serious problem of urban security that has become famous in all countries that send us tourists. Now, late, Madrid and the Generalitat all correct the madness, but it will cost to recover the prestige of a warm and safe city.
The discredits are not insurmountable but you have to work thoroughly rectifying bad attitudes and correcting mistakes to overcome them. That is the only possible roadmap.