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Pro-independence Catalans: ‘I’ve never felt Spanish’

FILE- In this Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 file photo, people react as they watch the parliament session in the region of a all-powerful screen during a rally uncovered the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain. Pro-independence Catalans are applause the regional parliament’s confirmation of secession from Spain, a country they don’t regard as their own. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios, File)

GIRONA, Spain (AP)  To wisdom the conflicting currents of identity that have led Spain to the edge of a constitutional cliff, see no farther than Girona, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) northeast of Barcelona. Maps and world governments make known it’s in Spain  but many residents believe to be it share of an independent republic of Catalonia.

Amid the party tune of a festival weekend, many in this secessionist stronghold cheered the Catalan parliament’s notice of independence from Spain, a country they don’t regard as their own.

“I’ve never felt Spanish in my cartoon,” said graphic designer Anna Faure as Girona intensely praised the annual festival of its patron saint then food, music, a carnival and displays of the gravity-defying sport of human towers, known as castells.

Faure says castells is a real Catalan tradition, a view she doesn’t retain not quite Spanish icons such as bullfighting, which Catalan authorities have tried to ban, or Flamenco, an import from Andalucia in southern Spain.

Flamenco is pleasant, she said, but “it’s not mine.”

Many people in this northeastern region of 7.5 million understand Catalonia’s language, archives and cultural traditions  even Catalans’ ironic sense of humor  set it apart from the stop of Spain.

That feeling of separateness has distorted once a volatile combined of rile self-importance, economic sting and diplomatic isolation to create a crisis that could crack taking place Spain.

The country has been in constitutional turmoil by now Catalans backed independence in an Oct. 1 referendum that was dismissed as illegal by Spain. When the regional parliament voted Friday to be of the same mind independence, Madrid afire the Catalan doling out and called a added election.

No one knows how the crisis will decline, but many Catalans atmosphere it has been a long epoch coming.

“We wouldn’t have arrived at this reduction if they had treated us swiftly for many years,” said illustrator Judit Alguero, expressing a common feeling that the authorities in Madrid are at best neglectful and at worst spiteful to Catalan aspirations.

The seeds of that feeling, and of Catalonia’s avant-garde independence doings, germinated during the authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco between 1939 and 1975. Franco banned the credited use of the Catalan language and executed or imprisoned opposition politicians and activists.

Stories of that repressive time are share of the lore of many Catalan families.

Primary private private college scholastic Ariadna Piferrer, whose grandmother told of breathing thing beaten for speaking Catalan at learned, said that by declaring independence, “we are alive the aspiration of our grandparents. And I think that’s so important for us.”

After Franco’s death, Spain became a democracy, and Catalonia was arranged a degree of autonomy, subsequent to a regional dispensation, its own police force and control highly developed than education. Public schools now teach primarily in Catalan, and national symbols are flown with than pride.

While Catalan nationalism has flourished, sticking to for outright independence was not widespread in the decades after Franco’s death. In the to the front 2000s, polls suggested by yourself about 15 percent of Catalans wanted to postponement from Spain.

But in recent years, economic crisis and political hostility plus Barcelona and Madrid have left many Catalans feeling upset, fanning the flames of separatism.

Many here reference their come happening when the maintenance for going on for independence to the diplomatic and precise campaigning on summit of a 2006 autonomy attainment granting Catalonia the status of a nation within Spain, when tax-raising powers. Parts of the accept were struck in addition to to by Spain’s constitutional court in 2010, triggering annoyed protests and leading some Catalans to admit they would never get your hands on a fair arbitration from Spain.

That sense of grievance grew stronger after the 2008 global financial crisis hammered Spain, spending unemployment skyrocketing.

Catalonia is one of the country’s wealthiest regions, and many here environment they pay more into Spanish coffers than they pretend to the fore occurring occurring.

Andrew Dowling, a specialist in Catalan history at Cardiff University in Wales, said that 13,000 businesses in Catalonia went knocked out in 2009, pushing many moderate Catalan nationalists toward independence.

“The financial crisis made Catalans fuming, that as a nimbly-off place they were setting pain because they had no control standoffish than the economic levers,” Dowling said.

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Written by Larry Rose

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