The Blind Cow

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This film deals with the latest socio-political movement in Spain: The Catalan independence movement and the reasons behind it.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Salvador Boix, Musician and Bullfighting Critic: “During the demonstration on September 11th, 2012, I noticed that in fact there was an important segment of the Catalan population saying “enough” And “goodbye”.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “That whole summer people were talking about this demonstration. There were even calls from media about this demonstration. Everything indicated it, and I believed that it was a demonstration that exceeded expectations.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “I…Inde…Independence!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “I believe that there has been a social change on this subject. Listen, it also affects me. It concerns the future of my children, my colleagues, my friends and my parents.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “But, especially in these moments it has become a question of dignity that the people who have come here feel they own it. They feel this land belongs to them.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “I…Inde…Independence!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Salvador Boix, Musician and Bullfighting Critic: “I felt that it was a part of all that is, that whatever the case, we have to try to publicly express our feelings, which is a feeling of belonging to a country, which is not Spain.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “Long live Catalonia! No, no, now we are not Spanish!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “The young people needed it; the young people needed a political project because the politics as it was, couldn’t resolve their problems. It has been a political project, within reach because of its simplicity and attractive because of its sentiments. The proof is that it is uniting, in this moment, in this project, a host of young people that were born here and also those who were not born here, but their families have come from other parts of Spain or from other parts of the world and they are supporting the independence project. Those things that excite you and mobilize you when you are in your 20s, well, in later years you can explain them, but somehow they are the core of your life’s reference, and here an independence project has been created that belongs to our generation and will last for many years.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “The economic crisis throughout Europe is producing responses and attitudes based on the breakdown of that system. And there are multiple breakdowns: populists, fascists and of course other anti-systems. I believe that independence is a way of directing the system breakdown, which is causing suffering: the transition system here in Spain; and the economic system.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Cañas, Member of the Catalan Parliament: “The best way to resolve the economic crisis is to leave Spain. It has been an element, a very simple speech of xenophobic court, a fiscal ocean, which has concluded that many people have a completely dual identity, both Catalan and Spanish. It doesn’t see any difference in what it means to be Catalan or Spanish. They make this speech their own that it is a paradox of many people that feel they are Spanish and believe that independence is a solution. It’s a strategy that has been very clever and useful out of a very toxic and dangerous speech. But, in the last two or three years unfortunately, it has opened a wound in the Catalan society.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “From an economic point of view, the independence movement believes that there is a grievance, which is called fiscal plundering, which means taxes that are estimated at about 16 million going to the Spanish government, but then these investments don’t return a profit. This is an important factor because it causes a burden for companies and also for the welfare state.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “What do these people want? Independent Catalonia! What does this group want? A new State of Europe! What do these people want? Independent Catalonia!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “A movement of this type that the Catalan nationalists are forming is very similar to the movements of populist regimes. Of course, I am old enough to have seen all sorts of demonstrations especially the Franco ones. The Franco gatherings were the most crowded ones. In Barcelona, Franco gathered a million people. There were bus loads and sandwiches handed out and such things. I don’t give them any importance.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, Film Director: “I see that in Madrid it is very different. I notice that here, when people talk about Catalonia they don’t understand, they don’t know. Imagine when they talk about China where the distance is far away and it is a completely different culture. I don’t know. Here in Catalonia, people don’t know anything. When the politicians talk about Catalonia they make mistakes all the time. Then when they talk about China it should be amazing, it should be incredible.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “Well, I would say that being a Catalan is no different from being a Spanish, Castilian, or Andalusian. That is, I think, to say the statement “I am Catalan” for example, what lies behind it? It doesn’t mean that I am special, but I also feel let’s say, that we form part of this community. It is my place in the world and because of that it is important to me and I feel responsible for what happens in my country. I feel responsible for the cultural and natural heritage that we have inherited, which I think we have to improve upon if possible and then pass it on to future generations.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “Here there is a community, a sentiment in community that is very important. It’s a sense of belonging, it is not an identity question or a community issue.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “This nationalistic feeling has always existed. It’s not like one day you get up and suddenly realize that “oh, I am a nationalist”. No, or “oh, Catalonia is different”. No. We are well aware that they are completely different ways of thinking, acting, planning and expressing yourself.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Now, in the 21st century, the identity sounds like a joke to me. What is the identity of a Catalan, an Andalusian or a Belgian? These things are from the German philosophy of the 19th century particularly of Herder and also of a certain tradition of French school about national character. Those very funny books that said the French people were vain, the Spaniards were proud and the Italians were lazy. The identity is a story. Well, it has neither foundation nor substance.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, A film Director: “It is a role, nothing else. The identity is a role. You are given the identity. If you live in a place, it has been given to you. That’s it.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

Narration: Catalonia is one of the seventeen autonomous communities that make up Spain according to the current constitution of 1978. It is located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula below France and the Pyrenees. It is composed of four provinces, Tarragona, Barcelona, Lerida and Gerona, with Barcelona as its capital. In Catalonia, unlike other regions in Spain, two languages officially coexist: Castilian and Catalan, which is a peculiarity shared with other regions such as the Basque Country, Galicia and Valencia that also have their own languages.

Between 1939 and 1975 Spain was governed by a military dictatorship led by General Francisco Franco. That stage was characterized by centralism and lack of freedom of expression. With the death of the dictator, the democratic transition began and the current Spanish Constitution was approved.

It was 1982. With the consent of the courts and the king of Spain, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was enacted and covered the autonomous communities that make up the entire Spanish state. These Statutes recognize the powers of the governmental institutions of each region and encourage the standardization of Catalan, Basque, Galician and Valencian languages.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Gracia, Literary critic and essayist: “The State of Autonomies is an original, genuine, strange, invented form of the State of Autonomies. I say invented because in Europe there are a few countries with the complicity of the society in Spain and a few countries had to figure out how to get rid of a dictatorship of 40 years to meet their needs. The State of Autonomies that exists now is a form of federalism.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “It is true that the State of Autonomies was a strange invention to move forward with and at the time such a difficult transition for us who have experienced that. For the same reason, formulas had to be found to stabilize this form of decentralized state, and that’s where the problem came. It’s what didn’t happen. At some point, it had to be given a federal or confederal form in a way that the Catalan people could still feel part of Spain and be recognized as such along with the Basque people and eventually all the towns of Spain would ask for the same recognition.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “In all the layman’s books of comparative law written by Spaniards, and especially by foreign professors, it is considered that Spain is a federal state.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Borja De Riquer, Professor of Contemporary History (UAB): “The 1978 Constitution is dead. The regime of autonomy has faced a crisis situation. Therefore, many sectors, not only in Catalonia, but also throughout Spain, question the necessity of reforms or the elimination of the Constitution.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “From my point of view, certain articles of the Constitution should be reformed, especially the ones that affect the State of Autonomies. Substantial issues such as distribution of power would be enough to change the system.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

Narration: Between 1980 and 2003 the political party Convergence and Union with its leader Jordi Puyol governed Catalonia by majority vote. At this time Convergence also secured the governability of Spain by offering support in the Congress of Deputies to presidents Adolfo Suarez, Felipe Gonzales and Jose Maria Aznar in their respective periods.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Catalonia is an invention of Puyol. Puyol understood that he couldn’t defend the old romantic identities. That Catalans were higher class than Andalusians and actually in some of his books he says so. A Catalan is stereotypically a much more intelligent person than an Andalusian. There is a very famous text in which he explains that Andalusians don’t have articulated conscience - They don’t have it. The Catalans are European, the Andalusians are African - but he realized that this way doesn’t work, because in Europe people wouldn’t accept a xenophobic or racist proposal. So he grabbed the only thing that he could as identity, which is language and he used the language as a tool of combat. Actually, Catalan in Catalonia is not a normal language. It’s a language politically tinged. I speak Catalan perfectly, but I stopped speaking Catalan. I don’t want to speak it because I don’t think it’s a language anymore, it’s been politically marked.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “The blind cow. Colliding her head against some dead roots by force of habit moving along the path of water. The cow goes alone. She is blind with a stone thrown with much expertise. The boy has given her one eye and on the other he has put a veil. The cow is blind.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “During World War II or at the end of that World War, I never studied Catalan. I write in Catalan, but only because later on I learned it; but I never studied Catalan because it was forbidden at that time. Because of that, instead of convincing ourselves that it should be abandoned, we have admitted that it’s a language that is in danger and we have to preserve it. So, as usual, when someone is prohibited from something, the determination to preserve it increases.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: Between 80% and 90% of our daily lives happens in Catalan, but it’s because of the environment that we move in. While talking with friends you may start a phrase in Catalan and finish it in Castilian. It doesn’t matter.

Narration: The language immersion has been a program and a method of teaching that has its origins in the 1980s. This program is adopted in Catalan in the schools of Catalonia.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “Language immersion has worked very well for the past 30 years. Catalan is recognized in Europe. If people hadn’t accepted it as their own language and also if in schools only Catalan had been used, there would have been problems that never before existed. It’s because of this that any attack against the linguistic immersion is seen as an attack against the nation.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “All the efforts that have been made over the years by the institutions have helped keep the language alive and growing a little, but not significantly. And the percentage of people who consider Castilian as their language decreases and what increases is the percentage of bilingual people.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Gracia, Literary critic and Essayist: “The method consists of something as simple as changing the language repressed during the Franco regime into a language of cultural, institutional, public and common use for every single citizen in Catalonia. For example, every citizen of Catalonia can use and know their local language, which is what seems to be common sense in any modern democratic society.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “Now, the same school promotes a book in Catalan, and a book in Castilian. And when they have both languages, the children won’t be swayed by the language, they will be led by what they want. For this same reason the language is not a problem for us. No man! Of course it is not going to be a problem! Of course not! It is one of the morbid nonsense fantasies that the two most radical sectors like to support. The Spanish reactionary right wing wants to create a problem in Catalonia, which is pursuing Castilian and independence. From my point of view the reactionary view that is unsupportive toward its own society wants to allege that there are problems in relation with Catalan.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “Here the children learn pre-writing, writing and primary reading only in one language. And here it is done in Catalan. The children’s first steps into language are basically in Catalan.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manel Parra, Civic Movement of Spain and Catalans: “The president takes his child to a trilingual center. Why can’t the citizens of Catalonia choose for their children a trilingual center? Why isn’t the right to use our mother tongue not recognized or the number of people who learn their first letters in Spanish or Catalan?  Why aren’t the feelings of the majority and the positive attitude of the citizens of Catalonia considered?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Salvador Boix, Musician and Bullfighting Critic: “What I know, because I have suffered in my own flesh as a fan of bullfighting, is that it has created an image of Catalan for the past 30 years, which a significant portion of the culture doesn’t fit. And I have felt this from a young age. And it has been effectively an act of affirmation of an inner moral superiority of what is Catalonia, of what is its culture that has resulted in certain measures taken that excludes certain parts of this culture. It has changed at a very low intellectual and artistic level.”

Narration: The cow is blind. She goes to drink at the same fountain that she used to. Not like other times with certainty nor with her friends but alone. Her friends on the hill and in the valleys, in the silence of fields and banks, ring the cowbells while randomly they graze fresh grass. She would fall; puts her nose in the old bowl; becomes offended and leaves, but she returns to bend her forehead in the water and drink calmly a little and almost without thirst; then raised her horned forehead to the huge sky in a gesture of tragedy; blinks on the dead pupil, and returns, in the hot sun and the orphan fire, on the path that she doesn’t forget, staggers and waves about her long tail with weakness. 

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manel Parra, Civic Movement of Spain and Catalans: “What happens in Catalonia? There has always been in Catalonia a separatist sentiment. It has always been a minority. The majority has been the federalist or autonomist movement because we have always maintained a commitment to the nation of Spain.”

Narration: For many the start of the nationalist drift began in 2003 that led to actual independence claims. In the autonomous elections, the Convergence and Union lost the majority and a coalition of political parties formed by the Socialist Party of Catalonia, the Republican Left of Catalonia and Initiative for Catalonia Greens reached the autonomous Catalan government. This is what is known as the Catalan Tripartite that would govern the country during the following two legislative periods. The president of the first legislature between 2003 and 2006 was the socialist, Pasquell Maragall. Later, another socialist, Jose Montilla, would rule the second term between 2006 and 2010.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Cañas, Member of the Catalan Parliament: “The Tripartite was formed to achieve what they couldn’t achieve in the polls: a social majority that would support a party that could have an alternative.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pere Macias, Convergence and Union (CIU): “I think it was simply a matter of political change. Convergence and Union had been ruling for 23 years, it is normal for there to be political change at some point. Back in that time the other choice was the Socialist Party, but somehow it was never able to win the Convergence and Union by itself. And then, alliances were sought and made.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Until then, the Separatist Nationalism party numbered 15 percent, not more, maybe 20 percent, exaggerating things. At the time when the Catalan Socialist Party moved to the right, and passed the Convergence and the Nationalists, a big change occurred in the country firstly because many of the voters of socialists believed such lies – At least to my understanding they are lies - And then in turn they decided to become separatists. At that time, there were a number of socialists, not so many, but enough socialists who were separatists. This was the first breakdown, which I believe is very important.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “The Tripartite, the foundations of the left-wing government and the supporters of Catalonia autonomy was precisely driving a left-wing Catalanism meaning if we know who does what and what they do; if we rely on an explicit agreement of the distribution of resources, power and responsibilities and therefore manage resources based on cooperation, health, education and politic cooperation, everything will be much easier and also we can offer higher quality services. And the project of the left-wing government and the supporters of a Catalan autonomy was based on that.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pere Macias, Convergence and Union (CIU): “The natural alliance that already had an initiative for Catalonia at that time was basically allied with the socialists in most municipalities. But to destabilize the balance they needed Esquerra Republicana. Logically it made the Socialist Party form a new statute. And it meant that the explicit support of Ezquerra Republicana, would secure enough votes in the margin of the Tripartite. I think from a democratic point of view it is absolutely legitimate.”

Narration: 2006. With the consent of the majority of Catalan parties and the agreement of support of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, a new draft for a Statute of Autonomy, which was later voted on by the Catalan society, was approved in the Catalan Parliament.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Cañas, Member of the Catalan Parliament: “You cannot govern with separatists. A left-wing party cannot govern with a separatist party. And what cannot be done is to make a statute to please someone who wants to go. That is, the Tripartite was an example of political malpractice Political malpractice of the parties that wanted to gain power.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “It has always seemed to me - and in this case I may probably think differently than many other people - the only one who had the courage to face it was Zapatero. Zapatero put the issue on the table and tried to find out how to make progress in the Basque issue in its own way, and in the Catalan issue in its own way. But probably he did not have the necessary support, neither by the Popular Party, of course, nor by his own party in many cases. So it seems to me that here is something extremely dangerous and it’s been a while now that I’ve noticed the parties have used the issue of nationalism in a favorable manner.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Zapatero promised to accept what would come from Catalonia. Some of us who have lived all our lives in Catalonia put ours hands on our heads and said, are you crazy? But do you know what was proposed; sure, they practically proposed independence to him!”

Narration: 2006 is also the year in which the Popular Party, five autonomous communities of the Spanish State, and the Defensor del Pueblo presented to the Constitutional Court a resource of unconstitutionality referring to some of the articles in the new draft Statute of Catalonia.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Gracia, Literary critic and Essayist: “To compare the PP and the PSOE when one party promotes the renovation and upgrading of the Statute and the other party leads the Constitutional Court with an anti-Catalan campaign of propaganda - not anti-statute, but anti-Catalan - there is no comparison possible. And I think the debts, the errors and the faults of the PSOE are far worse than the ones that can be attributed to the Spanish right.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “The anti-Catalanism hasn’t changed in the last 10 year - how it has grown; how they have explained their lies to the rest of Spain. I have seen it. People who believed that Spanish can’t be spoken there; that we do not understand each other when we talk among ourselves.”

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “Then you also have to say something. An ultraconservative right-wing party has contributed greatly to aggravate the situation. You may be from a right-wing party, but you can see that the society has changed.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, A film Director: “Things occur in this country in reverse. The right-wing doesn’t want nationalism and the left-wing is willing to admit it anyway. But do not think that it is not part of their ideology; it is not part of their program at all.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Cañas, Member of the Catalan Parliament: “The problem is what each party has done - both the Spanish Socialist Party and the Popular Party - when they had the governmental responsibilities of the nation. Well, first we must accept a lie, that the nationalists represent all Catalans and Catalonia.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Salvador Boix, Musician and Bullfighting Critic: “I think it's evident, the use of this historic moment of expansion of the Catalan national feeling and independence sentiment. It is being used by the government of Madrid, also, to instill fear and to keep this imperial concept of one unbroken Spain where small regions do not leave the fold. I think the use that is being made of the feelings is evident.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Ricardo García, Historian: “National Day is celebrated because September 11, 1714 was the last day of the War of Succession. It was the day when the Bourbon troops entered with great violence after a year-long siege of Barcelona. They entered the city. Thousands of people - about four or five thousand - were killed.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marina Subirats, Sociologist: “It was between Bourbon and Austracists, but to tell the truth, it happened because the central forces imposed themselves on Catalonia and Valencia, etc., which meant they give the orders and you have to shut up.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Ricardo García, Historian: “Felipe V, in fact, is the king who ruled in this terrible year of 1714. He is the king that put an end to the statute and the Catalan autonomous institutions.  He is the king who became the imaginary Catalan and the deliverer of evil deed and wickedness. In other words, he was the bad guy of the movie. To understand Felipe V, you must understand that until 1704, the Catalonian society had totally surrendered to Felipe V, and he came to Catalonia to marry his first wife. He was called on by the courts in Catalonia, which ended in a decision that a king would be required at that time for Catalonia. But unexpectedly, in 1704, Catalonia changed its strategy and openly put in place another candidate in the War of Succession, which was the Archduke Charles. Felipe V, an absolute monarch, a king of the old regime, always considered this act by catalonia a crime of treason and all his anti-catalanism came from that resentment against a society that apparently in his early years paid tribute to him with all kinds of flattery, but then because of a series of mainly economic interests clearly turned to support the rival, the candidate who was Archduke Charles. It was something that Felipe V never forgave.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “The Catalanism known as political Catalanism is a movement that goes back to the late nineteenth century - A recognition within the romanticism of the time, a recognition of the historic and cultural identity of the Catalan character, which differentiated them from the rest of Spain.”

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Borja De Riquer, Professor of Contemporary History (UAB): “Some political voices started to say that "Spain is the state, Catalonia is the nation", emphasizing a differentiation. That is, within the Spanish state there are different nations, one of which is Catalonia. That's the degree of maximum politicization of this Catalanism that had already changed to a nationalist conception. Various Catalan attempts to modify the centralist model, the authoritarian model and Spanish Castilianist, all failed.”

Narration: June 28, 2010. The decision of the Constitutional Court about the appeal filed by the Popular Party against the new draft statute declares unconstitutional several articles, which resulted in Catalonia's political and social reaction that we have seen to this day.

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “The journey without return began with the reforms of the Statute of 2010. These reforms drove more than a million people out to the streets in protest. At the time, the expression that was used by the press and many people was "Angry Catalan”, “the angry Catalan”, because we didn’t understand this rejection; because it was a democratic attempt to explain what we wanted to be and how we wanted to be positioned with Spain.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “Indeed, there was a parliamentary initiative of a complete reform of the Statute. It was taken to the Congress and the Senate in Madrid. These reforms were made and later as the same Statute states and the Constitution permitted, were voted on in a referendum. As the Constitution ordered, it could be appealed against at the Constitutional Court; and the Constitutional Court ruled that in certain aspects this Statute did not comply with the Constitution.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “The contempt of Catalan identity and the constitutional errors in the Statutes of 2010, exasperated tempers and frustrated the Catalan society to such a level that, in a way, caught us all a little by surprise.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “In Catalonia, the people and the Constitutional Court, some citizens and some judges wanted to put their will forward, well, this is true. That is the law. It is similar in other federal states. A few months ago, a law passed by referendum in California was also rejected and considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Statute of Catalonia - it’s better to say the draft Statute - was voted affirmatively by 36% of Catalans in a referendum in which 48% of all Catalans voted. So it's not like the people of Catalonia overwhelmingly supported, participated or voted affirmatively.”

Narration: 2010 is also the year in which the tripartite lost the autonomous elections. Convergence and Union came to do things hand in hand with the government of the Generalitat and its new leader, the successor of Jordi Puyol and current President Artur Mas. President Mas! Independent Catalonia!

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Convergence and Union, from the outset of the presidency of Artur Mas, moved to the far right and started a movement of massive agitation. It was like the typical movement of European nationalist parties that are extremely right-wing - the Italian Northern League and such parties. Then Mas began to pay for demonstrations. They spent a huge amount of money on propaganda, especially abroad.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “And it was the first government to implement major cuts in health, in education and in fact, we see it more day by day. Here the Popular Party and Convergence and Union both readily agree on this issue of austerity.” 

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pere Macias, Convergence and Union (CIU): “The process is not an excuse at all. The process is very important and I think that the government tries to maintain a double open front. The process is completely normal; very important in times of such a difficult crisis, isn’t it? Now the government needs to govern much more than the times when things go well. When things go well, as it is said, governments should not be noticed. Like a football match. When a football match goes well, the referee is not even noticed. When a football match is hard, the referee has to be fully utilized.” 

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “I must also say that the Populist Party not only used the crisis to cut out, but to re-centralize. We had over 70 laws established in a two year term, which was an atrocity. It was a futile process in all sectors and almost in all sectors there were abuses of power, obvious disloyalties, and recentralization.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “The blind cow. Colliding her head against some dead roots by force of habit moving along the path of water. The cow goes alone. She is blind with a stone thrown with much expertise, the boy has given her one eye and on the other he has put a veil. The cow is blind.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Josep Colomer, Catalan National Assembly: “When last year 1.5 million people marched through the streets or when this year 1.5 or 1.6 million people came back onto the streets, it is very important quantitatively, but qualitatively it is even more significant. The important thing is a referendum that has a very clear question, along the lines of: Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state? That can be answered with a yes or a no.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Gracia, Literary critic and Essayist: “I think accepting the idea of the right to decide is a rhetorical trap because a democratic society makes decisions constantly and especially when the political parties with explicit independence programs have been part of the electoral market of the Spanish, Catalan democratic society, since there has been democracy in Spain.

From a political standpoint, I personally feel that the enquiry issue could alleviate this tension and could highlight that perhaps there is less independence today in Catalan society than what apparently seems to be portrayed by the media.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pere Macias, Convergence and Union (CIU): “I think right now the citizens are in the minority. No, no, we are already well engaged in the current situation of Spain. And we don’t even want autonomy. A very small part of the Catalan population wants that, a part of the population that says no, no, we are satisfied with an autonomous regime. Surely there is more than a small percentage. On the other side, we in an autonomous regime, tend to have more powers, etc. Then there are the Federalists and Confederalists; and then there are the separatists. Therefore there is a wide range.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “The constitution only allows two types of referendum which are the ratification of the constitutional reform or the statutes of required autonomy. And then there is a consultative referendum that is in Article 92 of the Constitution, which the government has convened twice because of NATO; and then the European Constitution, from which you can ask questions about what happened in Quebec or what is happening now in Scotland - they are more or less similar cases.”

TIME CODE: 45:00_50:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Borja De Riquer, Professor of Contemporary History (UAB): “You cannot always argue "because the law does not allow it." The law did not allow women to vote, until women were mobilized and got the vote. Therefore, if there are laws that do not allow certain things and there is a mobilized society, the role of the politicians is not to seek shelters by laws that may be obsolete, but to address problems regarding what happens among citizens.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, Film director: “Nowadays the politicians are discredited very much, but almost always it has been like this. And it is s people that we have to trust a little.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “The wonderful thing about the entire Catalan problem is that it demonstrates the mediocrity of our political class. The thing is very simple. The right ... right to what? Man! If it were prohibited in Catalonia to have an independence party, well, you might think, yes, a referendum is necessary to see if there is a lot of separatists. But, of course, there are three independence parties in the Catalan parliament. So if you can already vote for a pro-independence party, what is the need for a referendum?”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manel Parra, Civic Movement of Spain and Catalans: “They want to talk about the right to decide as a right to self-determination and that is not covered either by our Constitution or by international law. We are neither a colony, nor a suppressed people. There is no democratic deficit, like what Mr. Mas would have us believe.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “Now what is being requested is the right to decide. We want to vote. Yes to the ones that we want and no to the ones we do not want. We just want to have that ability to express our opinion. And just like we can express our opinion, anyone who wants to campaign, should be able to do that, to run a campaign for yes, or a campaign for no.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, A film Director: “The mistake is in the Constitution, which says that in any case if a portion of Spain wants to become independent it has to be consulted with all Spaniards. That is wrong - it seems to me that it’s a mistake. It's like if I had to ask you about my marriage. It would be absurd, it would seem absurd and would be absurd.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] JORDI CAÑAS, Member of the Catalan Parliament: “The problem of the independence of Catalonia doesn’t have any solutions. It means that you can’t convince someone who wants to leave to stay.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Laia Ortiz, Initiative for Catalonia Greens (Icv): “I do not see the bad side of that. In any case it would be a deficit of democratic culture with which all the ghosts will be able to make an inquiry.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Vicente Aranda, A film Director: “It will be one result or another, that is, we will se an outcome because even if people say they support the independence, at the time of voting it is possible they may change their idea.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Borja De Riquer, Professor of Contemporary History (UAB): “There are forms of Catalan sovereignty, without the necessity of completely breaking with Spain and not necessarily independence, federalist and confederalist forms, etc. I think there are many things to negotiate; the problem is that if you find that parties are not willing to negotiate, what does it do? Well, it radicalizes more extreme positions.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “But I hope there is a way that will mark what the majority of people want and I think the Catalan society will accept that one way or another.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “In a time when there is a tendency, especially in Europe, towards unity, towards European integration, when a part wants to separate from a state, of course it is a problem. From this point of view, I don’t think the problem is Catalonia, but of Catalan nationalism sectors that seek this separation.”

TIME CODE: 50:00_53:35

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Salvador Boix, Musician and Bullfighting Critic: “They have really tried to clean the Catalan culture of certain shared elements with the culture of the peninsula. They have tried to exploit a certain Catalan way of feeling, to feel rooted in a culture and a country that is Catalonia, with parameters and a framework, which does not fit all. Among other things, I've felt outside this framework.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Félix De Azúa, Writer: “Think that we are talking about real separatists who want to go all the way knowing full well that it could cause the ruination of the country, and expulsion from Europe. And this is what the nationalists do not want to talk about at all. None of them say what we will do and what will happen the next day, and how to solve this or that.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Francesc De Carreras, Jurist: “In 10 or 15 years, it would be a new Catalonia, but economically much more impoverished and certainly very different.” 

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carme Prims, Bookseller: “We're not just talking about independence; we are talking about changing processes, changing democracy and participation and hopefully changing the political class.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Carmen Bassolas, Professor of Secondary Education: “It has been the realization that maybe everything we believed was achieved, is not actually accomplished.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jordi Gracia, Literary critic and Essayist: “Yes, I can imagine the possibility of establishing an independent state in Spain. It seems to me a rather clever idea; possibly productive and fertile. It is rather consistent with the traumatic and in return happy with leaving the Spanish society, because we have the immediate example of the Franco regime, but we forget what we had in our cultural history, the ‘Silver Age’ of Spanish society in which Catalonia had an overactive participation. That is, the years of 1910s, the 1920s, the 1930s being the first time in three centuries that Spanish society seemed to react according to the parameters of contemporary Europe. And it means that a Buñuel, a Picasso, a Dali, a Miró, a Juan Ramon Jimenez, a Antonio Machado, a Ortega y a Gasset do not clash at all with what is happening in contemporary Europe. And that is part of the Spanish culture that we have inherited that of course I can imagine a new independent state in contemporary Europe that is called Catalonia; however, this seems a little undesirable.” 

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Protesters: “Long live the free land! Kick out, kick out, kick out, the Spanish that doesn’t kick out! For independence!”

Narration: The National Day of Catalonia, Listen Spain. No one deserves the treatment that we have received from you. We have shown to the government and the world that we want to be a new state in Europe. No matter what they say, they can’t stop us. They won’t stop us because an independent Catalonia has started. And when a nation starts, absolutely no one can stop it. I ... Inde ... Independence!



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