Today Catalonia celebrates an illegal referendum without voter registration, electoral colleges, election monitors, electoral commission, polling stations, presidents or members, or government neutrality. I understand that, for many Hongkongers, the existence of a group of people who are fighting for freedom and independence from a dictatorship on the other side of the world sounds appealing. It shows them that they are not alone.
I understand the feeling. Hong Kong is intellectually isolated from the outside world, with China and its Confucius Institutes imposing their own view of China and Asia and their history. Yet, Hongkongers always complain that gwailou do not understand China/Hong Kong and do not see the whole picture because they do not know the history, the language, or the culture.
Well, give you a surprise folks: When it comes to Spain/Catalonia, neither do you. Hongkongers do not understand the languages (two also, just like Mandarin and Cantonese, we have Spanish and Catalan), they do not understand the history, and they do not understand the culture and the left/right politics (all parties supporting independence are not only left, they are openly COMMUNIST).
In what follows, I will try to show you some facts about Catalonia and its independence movement, and compare it with similar incidents in Hong Kong, in order to show you that the Catalonia government is trying to create its own Communist Republic (like Mao Zedong did in 1949) by manipulating history, brainwashing its own people, and resorting to terrorism and death threats.
THE ORIGINS OF CATALONIA INDEPENDENCE
According to Catalan nationalism, Catalonia has always been a country, yet it was shamefully conquered by Spain. The original Catalan country included not only Catalonia, but other territories such as Aragon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and regions from France, Italy, Greece, or even Albania. Does it sound familiar?
All these territories, however, NEVER belonged to Catalonia, because Catalonia has never been a country or a kingdom. What they call Greater Catalonia, was in fact the Kingdom of Aragon (now Aragon is another region, just like Spain).
In the middle ages, Spain was divided into two kingdoms: Castilla and Aragon. With the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castilla, Spain became a unity, discovered the Americas, and complete the reconquest against Islam.
The HKU Students Union held and exhibition were they state that the marriage that united Spain 500 years ago was a forced marriage. But the KING was from the Catalan side (Aragon), not the Spanish (Castilla). I have never heard of a King forced into marriage with a Queen.
So how did it all happen? Where did the idea of “independence” come from? Is Spain a dictatorship?
The fact is, Catalonia must be the only place where the oppressed live like kings,and the oppressors live like shit. Some history:
In 1898 Spain lost its final colonies overseas: Cuba and Philippines. Because of its international port, Barcelona was the center of Spanish slave trade with these two colonies -a business ran by the Catalonia bourgeoisie. Did you ever see the Gothic and the Gaudi-like buildings in Barcelona? There were all built with slave money.
Once lost, the Catalonia bourgeoisie was out of business. They were angry with the rest of Spain for losing the revolution for the independence of Cuba and Philippines. That is how the centralist movement (to move the capital of Spain to Barcelona) and the separatist movement (independence from Spain or Federal States) were born.
Many intellectuals left Spain, visiting France and Germany, and learning of the new anthropology theories of Gustaf Kossinna and Jules Soury: the Europeans were the descendants of the Aryan race.
Back to Spain, they applied this idea to their cause: Catalan people were Aryans, whereas Spanish people were Jews. Rings any bells?
This is how the idea of the Catalan race started.
The grandson of one of these slave traders is Artur Mas, former president of the local government of Catalonia, who is himself a racist and, why not, a Nazi -someone who claims to have unique German blood.
When i was conducting research for my book, “Racism and Xenophobia in Catalan Nationalism” (you can read parts of it here for free), I came across more than 200 texts from over 45 independentist authors defending Nazi-like ideas and policies, including war, imperialism, and murder. This is why I am against this people.
CATALONIA VS. CHINA (a comparison)
You may think Catalonia resembles Hong Kong, but in fact it resembles China. The local government does exactly the same China is doing, or trying to do, to Hong Kong. And the victims are not Spanish people: they are Catalan people, like me, who do not agree with the government. Let me show you some examples of these similarities:
Many supporters of Catalonia independence say that “Spain steals from us”. They are referring to government taxes, but as this Catalan guy showed recently, the reason Catalans pay more taxes is not Spain, but the duplicated taxes they also have to pay to their local government.
Some 30 years ago, there was a terrorist group in Catalonia called “Terra Lliure”, advocating independence. As you can see from the picture, they were formed by former Communist and also trained by a Spanish terrorist group, ETA. The actions of Terra Lliure were not as deadly as the 1967 leftist riots in Hong Kong, despite being similar in nature and tactics. After 200 attacks, they only killed five people, four being its own members!
Yet, today’s supporters of Catalonia independence still honor and demonstrate to celebrate their fallen terrorist heroes, such as Martí Marcó, a leftist terrorist who tried to smuggle guns into Catalonia to kill people opposing independence.
Not so different from Hong Kong Chief Executive honoring Yeung Kwong, right?
This year, Barcelona major Alda Colau welcome and honor another well-known terrorist, Arnaldo Otegi. Their terrorist group was not from Catalonia, but they supported separatism and trained members of Catalonia terrorist group Terra Lliure. Arnaldo Otegi has been convicted five times on terrorist charges, and his organization killed 54, including children, in Catalonia alone. Our generation still remember the fear of going out on the streets, especially after the attacks of 1987 in Barcelona. ETA killed 829 people in Spain.
Remember Junius Ho calling for the assassination of HK independence supporters? We also have our own Junius Ho. Quite a lot, actually. For example, actor and politician Josep Maria Mainat called for adapting a soccer statium as a concentration camp for after the independence elections. The parents of Albert Rivera, a Catalan politician who does not support independence,received death threats just few weeks ago. This is something common we all live with in Catalonia. We have a saying: Barking dog doesn’t bite, so we usually ignore them.
And just yesterday, police intercepted a pamphlet teaching “urban terrorism” tactics. This pamphlet was written by the C.U.P., a Communist party supporting independence very close to another Communist party, Podemos. They called for the use of stones, homemade bombs, and gasoline. As you can see, the independence movement has very strong ties with terrorism. Does it sound like freedom to you?
Do you remember the kidnapping of the five booksellers from Causeway Bay? Similar regimes have similar tactics. The biographer of former leftist president of Spain, Suso del Toro, a supporter of Catalonia independence himself, called for the kidnapping of Spanish politicians entering Catalonia.
Just before the elections, this sheets start circulating around. They explain what people should do on October 1st for the voting. Yet one of its points talks about making a list of people who do not support independence or do not want to vote.
I am not going to discuss here the fallacy that Franco prohibited Catalan in Spain. Franco was a dictator who made friends with Hitler, killed many people, and forbid Catalan in public administration -but he did not forbid books, music, or even schools in Catalan.
Education in Catalonia is mainly in Catalan -with very reduced classes of Spanish and English, so kids end up in the university with no foreign language skills. If you own a shop in Catalonia and the sign is in Spanish, you will be fined. Please explain to me where is the authoritarian Spanish dictatorship here!
It is something common for supporters of Catalonia independence to burn in public a Spanish flag or a picture of the King. And you know what happens to them? Absolutely nothing! A friend once said: If you claim to live in a dictatorship and you are not arrested for what you do, maybe you do not live in a dictatorship but you are an idiot. Or you can ask Cheng Chung-tai these days.
And last but not least, independence is not always a good thing. Just because you want independence for Hong Kong, it doesn’t follow that all independence movements are good.
In 1920 Mao Zedong advocated Hunan independence. He was from, surprise, Hunan.
After World War II, his Communist Party got so strong that he didn’t have to advocate Hunan independence. He got the whole mainland.
In 1949 the Communist Part of China achieved independence from the Republic of China.
Millions died afterwards, and Chinese culture was almost obliterated.
Today Catalonia is in the same position as Hunan was at the time. If they win, we will have murders and terrorists in our government, and we will loose all the freedoms Spain achieved after Franco dictatorship because we will be outside of the European Union.