Catalonia President Artur Mas does not hide what is the reason he has written new elections before schedule. He wants out of Spain.
Saturday 25th November, residents of the autonomous region northeast of the country vote on whether to give Mas mandate to hold a referendum. It looks like the Catalan president has good punch behind his requirement: In September the 1.3 million people for the independence of the regional capital Barcelona. In a football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the beginning of October, broke Barcas spectators into independence sang 17 minutes and 14 seconds into the match – to remember those who died when the Catalans fought against the kingdom’s troops in 1714. Football match ended 2 – 2 Artur Mas and his countrymen is not going to settle for a draw in the main match.
Polls show that over half of its population supports the dream of independence. The new country would have had 7.5 million residents, and Artur Mas compares it with Denmark, Finland and Austria. In line with those countries, the Mas that Catalonia should become an independent country, firmly rooted in the European Union. The problem is that the Spanish authorities threatens veto. There is not much support to gain from EU-hold, either, in Brussels are many slightly collar: What happens to EU membership if a country split up? It has never happened before. When Artur Mas was visiting Brussels earlier this month, he came with a slogan like invitation: “Catalonia has never disappointed Europe! Now, not Europe bucket Catalonia “He hopes they can become an independent EU countries by 2020. There are several that have similar plans.
Home to many kinds of people in Flanders, the northern half of Belgium, but it is first and foremost flamlenderne that belong there, according to Bart Wever and his party colleagues. The conflict is old, it goes back to the formation of Belgium, but it has gained new industry in recent years. The economic crisis makes it worthwhile to recall slogans relax French-speaking south-Belgians and demanding immigrants who live by what the hard-working flamlendere produce.
The most militant Flemish separatists have often been overt racists, but neither the right Vlaams Blok party radical or successor Vlaams Belang succeeded in gaining broad political influence. Bart De Wevers Flemish alliance is more pragmatically oriented. De Wever has several ex-politicians from the extremist parties on their lists, but he has also given people with backgrounds from the established parties, the former liberal successor Christoph D’Haese. He was mayor of the town of Alost after election landslide in the fall, and he is keen not to be seen as extremist. “If we represent 30 to 40 percent of the vote, is not extremist. We are not aggressive, “he said in an interview with the French-language newspaper Le Soir after the election in the fall. But that Belgium must be changed, there is no doubt: the moderate mayor knows well how his heart beats for the matter: “I have always had independent blood in him, like thousands upon thousands of flamlendere.”
A similar independent blood rushes in the years from people in many parts of Europe. In Italy warns party Südtiroler Freiheit struggle to get a referendum on independence for the region called Alto Adige or Südtirol depending on whether you prefer Italian or German. Most residents prefer German and arguments to secede from Italy and instead become part of Austria, is increasingly seen as a symbol of the division between north and south of Europe is about to sit down because of the economic crisis.
The Italian freedom seekers that focus on blood ties and soil we find still further south: party Lega Nord has since the 1980s fought for a free and independent Padania, a mythical kingdom, based in the Veneto region and roots in Celtic culture. The party has lost some of the attraction for a huge corruption scandal in the summer – it was rather unfortunate for a party that has served well to present themselves as sincere, honest and hard working people, in contrast to the south of shabby-Italians. The driving force behind the independence struggle, however, has not diminished. It has neither the power of symbols Lega Nord likes to use: One of my favorites has long been the Mel Gibson movie “Brave Hart,” the heroic and a bit pompous big movie about Scottish independence struggle in the 1300s. This is where the Lega Nord has found many of their role models. And it is in Scotland the new breakaway wave in Europe has come the furthest.
In mid-October, it was clear: More than 300 years after Britain became, the Scottish people to decide on their independence. The referendum shall be held in 2014, and although it could mark by recalling William Wallaces real Braveheart efforts in the 1300s, there has been little of the type symbols in election preparations.
The modern Scottish nationalism, such independence party leader Alex Salmond fly it, is not influenced by the ancient battles and kilts. If the Scots have something in common that separates them from the British, is no longer in the blood, but the basic political values, one can get the impression. Salmond project is nationalism with a human and progressive face. And with an eye to potential economic gains, of course: If Scotland were to gain ownership of all oil and gas resources located within its borders the North Sea, the vision of an enlightened social democratic and self-satisfied rich, not unlike Norway, will be fulfilled.
Economics, history, old conflicts, new identity struggles. The new release wave in Europe has many and sometimes very different reasons, and for many is a possible secession far ahead. It does not mean that it is very unlikely that both Belgium, UK, Italy and Spain may have other limits in a few years. As historian Norman Davies recently revealed in an entertaining bestseller about all the European nations that no longer exists, “Vanished Kingdoms”, is not eternal nation states. Borders moved, changed loyalties. Perhaps the future of Europe in a number of smaller regional units within a larger political size? Catalans Mas uses U.S. states as an example. Comparing the population, should a federal EU could have 60 or 70 states, said Mas – a totally new composition of Europe.
Mas and his followers have a lot of challenges to be addressed before you get there. Football is normally not the least important. The Scots have it easier – they already have their own teams. But what about the Belgian national team, the Red Devils, who have so often held the nation together symbolically? And if Catalonia should be out of Spain - what happens when the big meetings between Real Madrid and Barcelona? It’s not as fun to play in their own league. To win in the struggle for independence means canceled football matches.
There are many of small nations strugling to be free, we are not fighting for oil, money or glory. Liberty is all we want. A decent and independent Somaliland for our children and future generations. We should unite and cooperate, we have different foes but the same stuggle.
By Dr Jama Guled