For a few hours in Barcelona today, visitors could see kilts, bagpipes, scotch, and even haggis, as the people of Spain's Catalonia region celebrated Scotland's historic vote on independence. Sure, the vote failed, but that's not what matters to the Catalonian people: it was the fact that the vote took place at all. Perhaps emboldened by the Scots, the Catalans are moving forward on holding their own vote for independence.
Gabriel Herredero, who wore a kilt to a bar for the day's festivities, according to NPR, said that the Scots have done him proud.
"For one day, I would like to be Scottish. As Catalans, we would be proud also to be able to vote for something we really want."And it appears they're going to get their wish: Catalonia's parliament passed a law allowing the region to hold a referendum on independence. Catalan president Artur Mas immediately signed the bill, and the Catalonia independence referendum will be voted on November 9, according to Eurasia Review.
As recently as March, Madrid had said emphatically that a Catalonia independence referendum was "not going to happen," according to this Inquisitr report. And they appear to be holding to that stance; Spain's highest court, according to the L.A. Times, is almost certainly going to rule the Catalonia independence referendum illegal. The Spanish constitution does not allow for any of its regions to secede from the country without a vote by the whole nation.
Mas isn't concerned.
"If in Madrid they think that by using the legal frameworks they can stop the political will of the majority of the Catalan people they are wrong! It's a big mistake."If the Catalonia independence referendum succeeds, that doesn't automatically mean that Catalonia will declare itself independent. Instead, says Mas, he will work with the Spanish government to create a pathway to independence.
Catalonia is a region in southeastern Spain of about 7.6 million people. Unlike the rest of Spain, its economy is prospering. According to the L.A. Times, the people of Catalonia have long believed that their prosperity is subsidizing the poorer parts of Spain. The people have different customs and speak a different dialect of Spanish than the rest of Spain - a dialect and culture that were brutally suppressed under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
Still, Catalonian independence is far from a foregone conclusion. Recent polling suggests that the region is split down the middle on independence.
But for the Catalans, it's not the eventual outcome that matters. At least not for today. For today, it's simply the chance to have their voices heard. And on November 9, the people of Catalonia will say what they have to say about independence, whether Madrid is listening or not.
[Images courtesy of: Kalsooni, Eurasia Review]