Adéu, Espanya? The road to independence of Quebec, Scotland, Greenland and Catalonia

Adéu Espanya

As we speak I’m still impressed by the documentary “Adéu, Espanya?” just watched online on live broadcast from the Catalan TV3. It portraits the realities in Greenland, Quebec, Scotland and Catalonia and the current situation on their paths to a possible future independence. I think this is the first time a catalan television discusses this topic so openly. The documentary compares our situation to other national realities. There’s a bunch of excellent interviews, including Scotland’s Primer Minister, Alex Salmond and excerpt of the history of every country, very enlightening and entertaining.

To me the most important message is that Catalonia is perfectly viable as an independent state, and refutes the only argument the unionists keep inisisting on that Catalonia would not be able to survive independently. The documentary proves that this is laughable because of Catalonia’s strong economy and vigorous cultural scene, not only it would survive but independence will improve Catalonia’s quality of life substantially.

On the other hand, it also shows how while the states containing the other countries in the documentary respect the national realities of Greenland, Scotland and Quebec and above all would respect their decision should they wish to become independent states in the Catalan case the Spanish State doesn’t. Also, Spain is the only country of the four that specifically threatens with and armed intervention in their constitution against a secession attempt.

Thank you TV3 and thank you Dolors Genovès, the director.

Unfortunately as we speak the documentary only includes Catalan subtitles and I don’t know if it will ever include english and since it’s not Youtube I don’t know hot to download it and do it myself. But I promise I’ll try. In any case, the production, soundtrack and photography are excellent and the panoramic views of the countries portrayed are reason enough to watch it.


UPDATE on 2010/06/04:

Seems like the documentary was an absolute success: 733.000 people watched it on average, , audience leader in Catalunya and the most viewed showof the year on a thursday for TV3.

Also, the hashtag #adeuespanya to tweet about the documentary got to #1 in twitter trending topics in Spain! Awesome!

#adeuespanya #1 trending topics

38 thoughts to “Adéu, Espanya? The road to independence of Quebec, Scotland, Greenland and Catalonia”

    1. Thanks Ferran, agreed, unfortunately the quality of Spanish democracy has nothing to do with the Danish one.

  1. Adéu Espanya? (Goodbye, Spain?)

    Has been one of the Catalan television programs most watched so far on Thursday.

    Because then, politicians, saying that the catalans has not the desire of freedom or that Catalunya has not the desire to be a new European state!

    The Catalans, in a few months, we will have the opportunity to vote for parties that they say us that want the freedom from Catalonia and they want that Catalonia be a new state in Europe.

    Long live the Constitution Catalan!
    Long live freedom!
    Long live the state Catalan!

  2. Thanks Vicenç, I hope the new parties will represent Catalan society desire for independence

  3. The state of democracy in Catalonia can be measured by this piece. Independent media? Legality as in fulfilling the legal mandate to serve as a public channel? All down the drain for the simplistic presentation of a complex issue in order to support the ideology of a minority.

    And where is it written that Spain “specifically threatens with and armed intervention in their constitution against a secession attempt”? Please quote.

  4. Yep, thought you might…

    That’s what armies are mandated to do all around the globe. I fail to see the threat you mention, even less its being specific in the sense of your words.

    Thing with the Spanish army is that Catalan nationalists are happy to call it the bogeyman, while it is their leaders who are whipping up the emotions of the people in disregard for the possibility that one day the situation might get out of control and ultimately escalate up to a point when the army could intervene.

    Faraway scenario still, yet the responsibility for having made the first steps in this direction is clearly on the Catalan nationalist side.

  5. Even though that article was written with aiming to disuade from secession attempts there’s no real threat of violence, Spain’s army is integrated in the EU and UN so an armed intervention to stop a democratical secession is unthinkable.

  6. Do you see Spain’s army as a threat or do you not? Please make up your mind.

    I do think that the army would not be used against democratic movements. Unthinkable, indeed. But a problem arises when this movement is not democratic, which is beginning to be the case. CiU, ICV, ERC and PSC have left democratic grounds because they have left legal grounds in their criticism of the Constitutional Tribunal, and so has the Catalan parliament when it declared the Tribunal not to be competent in matters of the Estatut. Even worse, Catalan media, from the newspapers through the radio stations to TV3, have taken the same approach. They have said goodbye to professionalism, plurality and legality; you cannot have democracy this way.

    It is not unimaginable anymore that at a certain point some group in Catalonia resorts to violence. This violence can come from those who are now being armed ideologically, as described above, or from others who want to oppose them. Which is when the intervention of the police, and later the army, would not be out of the question anymore.

    Catalan nationalists like to see themselves as victims of the central state, but it is obvious that they have started a process that is vulnerating the law now, and might be vulnerating the peace later.

  7. You have a very short memory. The current Spanish army won’t resort to violence because it can’t but the Spanish army back from 30 years ago did a quite successful coup d’etat which indirectly denied most of Catalonia’s self-government. Why would catalans want to be in such a country?

    Again, using laws as excuses not to accept the democratical will is a very weak argument. Of course Catalonia will break Spanish law by declaring its independence and will generate a new legality by doing so, this is normal in independence processes.

    About Catalan mainstream media, it’s all in the hands of dependentists like Grupo Godó, Grupo Zeta, etc. If catalans reach the conclusion of independentism with such pro-Spanish media I guess it’s because there are not many arguments for Spain.

    You are irresponsible by suggesting that Catalans would resort to violence, it is the Spanish who have used violence against Catalonia during the last 400 years.

  8. I think it might surprise many that you call the intended coup d’état of ’81 “successful”. It is also interesting that you do not see that it was not directed against Catalonia alone, but against democracy itself. Catalan nationalists never get this point: whenever democracy was at stake, the rights of all citizens, including those of the Catalans, suffered. You always fail to see the unity of suffering offerd by this fact, and the unity of possibilities and rights democracy offers on the other hand; you only care for those “national rights” of yours. Which also means you have never realised what democracy really means.

    In any case, we are not “in such a country”. The coup failed, we’re in a state which is defined by its constitution. Now, you might not like this constitution, but it is indeed binding: The security and wellbeing of all citizens rely on that single document, therefor it is not a weak argument to bring it up.

    There is nothing “normal” in secessionist processes. There is no norm! Every single one has its dynamics, its reasons to be and its pitfalls. I concede you one: it is not impossible to secede, even though by its own logic secession breaks the current rule of law. A higher legality might apply, and you are indeed putting your hopes on it. But that is in the moment of secession, which you would like to come through peaceful means and, ultimately, by ways of a referendum. Before reaching that stage, breaking the law is breaking the law without any justification. Which is where we are now. No higher legality applies when you have not gone though all the motions it demands.

    I am certainly not irresponsible to point out that violence could be resorted to. I have seen such things, and they are ugly. They are a reality you and me do not want to see repeated here; so I have to bring it up. You cannot hide behind History as an excuse for your victimism: Spain is what we see today, a new situation which is not comparable to anything of the past, and the autonomous community of Catalonia forms part of it by the free and expressed will of its citizens. You will always fail to explain yourself, to be understood by others, especially abroad, if you seek explanations by using impossible comparisions.

    And one last remark: we have had Terra Lluire here. Yes, also Catalan nationalists have resorted to acts of violence and terrorism. There is no black-and-white as you so conveniently try to suggest.

    The short memory seems to be on your side.

  9. The difference between us is that while you try to block democracy Catalans want to exercise it.

  10. I take that as a no. Anyways, I hope you had a good laugh with the typo.

    Permit me to say that I observe a somewhat strange attitude of Catalan nationalists towards the concept of democracy. You seem to be happy with calling the very blunt argument of majority rule “democracy” itself, and that even nonewithstanding the issue of participation/turnout.

    To me, democracy is the protection of the rights of the minority. And many more things.

    To me, democracy is also the rule of law. I do not see this anymore in Catalonia. Example: language policies. It is at least questionable to have monolingual schooling in a bilingual society. It is even more upsetting that you give no choice between both official languages in language courses for the integration of immigrants. These and other measures are designed to make Catalonia a monolingual society.

    Now, if the Constitutional Court rules against such things it has all my understanding, for I see these measures as vulnerating the law and the freedom of the individual.

    The real difference between you and me is that I would also accept if the Court ruled against my convictions. That would not change my convictions, but I would abide by the Court’s decision.

    Because the rule of law is one essential element of democracy. And as long as the courts’ rulings are not in flagrant breach with basic human rights I would see no way of appealing to any higher legal authority.

    Catalan nationalists think that collective rights, which are far from classifying as basic human rights, are enough to move outside of the rule of law and, in consecuence, break the peace. They have a sense of entitlement that I see as dangerous in its effects.

  11. Catalonia’s own language is Catalan, hence the schooling in Catalan. Spanish (Castilian) is the language of Castile, not our language. If you want schooling in Spanish you can send your kids to a school in Madrid, Seville or Mexico. Can you imagine England teaching Hindi in shools just because loads of students there speak it? No. Would Spain teach Mandarin if 20 million Chinese immigrants arrived in Spain? No.

    First, you respect the country where you live, if you want rights you also have duties. Noone will ever prosecute you for speaking in whatever language you want, such as Spanish. This is a simple concept anyone who moves to a different country understands except if you have a Spanish colonialist mindset.

  12. Typically, you do not seem to understand the value and importance of the law. Legally, I repeat legally, both Catalan and Spanish are official languages in Catalonia.

    Now, what am I as an immigrant to hold on to? Your gut feelings, ideals or ideology -or whatever you like to name your position-, or the law?

    Sorry mate, but I go with the law.

    You don’t. I know. And so do many who are like you, too many.

    As to “respect”: I speak fluent Catalan out of respect. Out of interest. Yes, also out of the necessity to communicate successfully. I needed no ideological obligation to learn it. Once again, you confound the terms.

    Respect cannot be ordered. Interest cannot be engineered except in a brave new world. Necessities can be politically created, but only to the detriment of personal freedom.

    And as to “respect” for “the country where you live”… The laws I refer to are precisely the laws of that country where I live. They are the laws of Catalonia.

  13. The “laws” that you hide behind are the result of 3 centuries of Spanish invasion in Catalonia and more recently of 4 decades of dictatorship, a Constitution that was overlooked by the fascist army and a coup d’etat from that same army. If you still hide behind those laws that tells me what type of person you are.

    My aim is to democratically change those laws so that people who live in Catalonia can regain their dignity. Obviously you don’t like democracy since you hide behind those laws imposed by non democratical regimes and a king who swore to obey Franco’s ideals but never swore to that constitution.

  14. Oh yes, and in this I am with the huge majority of Catalans who approved the constitution in referendum.

    I respect your historico-political qualms, but can you not understand that there are only legal ways to change a law, and that as long as it is not legally abolished it remains valid for the sake of your own security and wellbeing? You don’t like the Spanish constitution? That’s ok. But what are you putting in its place?

    Simply your good intentions?


    Far West?

    Or another law? But that other law does not exist yet! So no-one can speak of it, less even fulfill it.

    So I am not hiding behind the law, I recognise its validity until your announced “changes” have taken place. I’ll adapt afterwards. Not before. Sorry for that.

    You would not like to see me fail to adapt to your new law, right? I could do so in the blink of an eye, with your very arguments. And declare Catalonia, say, part of England.

    The law is the law. Don’t like that? Make my day. Europe is waiting for you.

  15. The Constitution was not voted by me or my generation. You keep hiding behind the laws to obstruct democracy. Laws are made by people and people change laws when they become obsolote. It is evident that the Catalonia Catalans want doesn’t fit in the Spanish Constitution. Therefore, we need a Catalan Constitution. Simple.

  16. Before you answer, consider this.

    As one of those “people who live in Catalonia” I make an issue out of my dignity by my own self. It’s none of your business.

    Apart from that, I feel assaulted by all those who try to use me as a pawn on the playing field of their collective aspirations. I feel despised, abused of and vulnerated. I certainly have kept my dignity, and I also have gained in insight into how things work here.

    This is what your ideology has done. Proud of it?

    Can’t stand the truth?

    Remember how well I adapted to the place, language and all, before your kind started bullshitting just a wee bit too much? OK, fine still.

    But the law is the law. Take that away and you’ll know me.

  17. Gosh, you did answer so prematurely. Both because you do not consider who you speak to and because you have no idea what you talk about.

    The law is the law, even if you did not vote for it personally. You are bound to change it the legal way. Do that and no-one will have any problems with it.

    Have a referendum today, please.

    Ah, and then apply for the EU. Just to make sure we want you there. We got criteria.

  18. Thanks for highlighting this documentary Albert which I very much look forward to watching.

    I fully support any moves a region may want to make towards further autonomy and nationhood including Catalonia. However, I think it should be recognized by all those in support of it that it won’t do a great deal to solving Catalonia’s economic and social problems. The real source of power lies in the unaccountable private tyrannies known as corporations and financial institutions that run the world.

    However, if Catalan independence meant that it invigorated the Catalan public into making their local politicians take a greater stand against rampaging capitalism, then it would definitely be a step in the right direction. However, more likely I think is that it would pacify many Catalans into thinking the job was done and we can all go to the beach now and relax (a bit like the election of Obama) and simply enrich and empower local corporate and political elites.

    Basically, I think Catalan independence could be a step in the right direction, if it was done in the interests of the people and not the powerful.

  19. Nick, I understand that the president of the Generalitat earns almost twice as much as the president of the Spanish government. And that is now. How would it be “then”?

    I do not have the feeling that Catalan politicians work for anything else than their power and income.

  20. Then Catalans need to ask themselves the question, would they rather have politicians in Madrid lining their own pockets or politicians in Catalonia lining their pockets? I suspect the answer would be the latter if only because their local politicians are more accessible in calling them to account than those in Madrid.

    Independence for Catalonia wouldn’t end political greed. That would require a complete change in the political system itself – something that I think would be a far more constructive issue for Catalans to strive for than independence in fact. Independence will merely leave the current dysfunctional system intact, albeit at a more local and hopefully more democratic level.

  21. Spain and its system have proven to be a failure, of course there are flaws and corruption in the Catalan system, but no more than in Spain since we share the same system. The low quality democracy in Spain encourages this behaviour.

    Catalunya has the potential to become the wealthiest country in southern europe, a stable rich little country with a high quality democracy. That’s the model we aim for: more Denmark, Finland and Netherlands, less PIGS.

  22. Nick, sorry…

    Nobody needs a manual on how to make a “dysfunctional system” “more democratic”.

    Albert: at present Catalonia bears the potential for “ethnic” strife. Not good for the economy.

  23. Come to think of really comparing Greenland, Scotland and Quebec to Catalonia, the most striking difference is that those territories were integrated into other countries by means of conquest (or the result thereof), while Catalonia was integrated (and remained) in Spain by ways of treaties.

    Oh, don’t put 1714 all over me: Catalonia was not fighting for independence then, but just for a different Spanish king.

    Oh, don’t give me the Franco era: all of Spain was under dictatorship. The hardships all Spaniards of free and good will underwent are being maliciously ignored by Catalan nationalists today.

    For I give you that Catalans voted for the Spanish constitution.

  24. Did you watch the documentary? Go on and read some history before offending the memory of the thousands of people who died defending Catalonia’s independence.

  25. I thought I could tickle you enough to make you come up with any argument. I mean, your writing in English suggests that you expect a world-wide audience. So you might actually want to explain yourself.

    But you’re closed within yourself: nationalist autism. You’re happy to use an accusing tone and let your readers guess that somehow your dignity has been vulnerated.

    That is about all you can come up with. And that, dear friend, is about as convincing as a rebellious adolescent who smokes pot because his parents told him not to.

    I grant you one: your argumentation is on a par and in synch with the puerile nature of the whole debate today in Catalonia. You surely have seen many professionals from the parties, the press, the universities and whatnot hitting the same note.

  26. Candide: I wasted so much time trying to discuss to this Albert guy, that I suggest we both go some place else to have rational discussions. The guy obviously cannot create coherent dialogue and is just stuck on some ideas, on which he is not even able to elaborate. He is the on that should read some history books, as his vision of it is so one-sided. I really hope that his wish of what could be a beautiful bilingual region inside a wonderful country as Spain becoming a monolingual closed region never happens. If you can vote in Catalonia, please do so on the upcoming elections to avoid such thing of happening.

  27. Sorry, Paola, I don’t vote even in my home country. But, as you see, there are other ways to participate in democracy. Debating on a blog is one of them.

    I have a blog of my own ( and as to your invitation to “go some place else” I retort with an invitation to that place of mine.

    With this I do not mean that you should stop visiting Albert’s blog. Matter of fact, I myself don’t, and he comes over to me occasionally. That, too, is democracy. It’s making the effort and not to despair.

    See you, I hope.

  28. At this time I must think that a certain kind of herring has been inserted. Funny how someone might think that I’d bite the bait. Just confirms the lack of class of certain people.

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