11 February: Patriots

I am struck by the enthusiastic glee with which any bad news from Catalonia is cheered by some Spanish patriots

Every time there is any bad news coming from Catalonia, I am struck by the enthusiastic glee with which it is cheered by some upstanding Spanish patriots, never mind if the story is true or not. This includes news about tech companies ditching Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress [due to the coronavirus scare] and FC Barcelona getting knocked out at the play-offs. It feels as if they have declared Catalonia an independent country and they are behaving accordingly.

Just so we are clear: if Catalonia is part of Spain and they are Spanish patriots —as they claim to be—, how can they possibly welcome something that negatively impacts a Spanish region? Let’s pull out the time-honoured simile of the couple that splits up. After a break-up, many times the one who got dumped rejoices at the problems which their former partner has encountered following their separation. But if nobody has been dumped, if the hypothetical misfortune occurs while they are still a couple, surely it cannot be put down to a divorce that has not happened, but to a marriage that still exists.

If any extraordinary problems were to befall Catalonia, surely independence would not be to blame: quite clearly Catalonia is not an independent country. If anything, Catalonia’s woes should be blamed on the existing status quo (i.e. being a region of Spain).

Therefore, their cheers cannot be the result of conventional patriotism but, rather, a sort of colonial expression: the colony deserves be punished, not for having dumped them, but for merely having entertained the thought.