Friday, October 12, 2012


I went to Barcelona for a short day-trip this weekend (isn't Ryan Air grand/terrible?) and had a chance to walk through the heart of Catalunya just a few weeks after major separatist demonstrations rocked its streets on 11 September.

Compared to the last time I was in Barcelona, I noticed a striking lack of Spanish flags. Unavoidable, however, were variations on the Catalan flag, including the red, gold and blue of the separatists, hanging from balconies and windows.

Catalunya, like many other regions in Spain, is having fiscal troubles and Artur Mas, the Catalan nationalist leader of the regional government is trying to take more control of its tax revenues vis-a-vis the central government, in part by leveraging the large demonstrations of last month and speaking in terms of national sovereignty.

 Also taking place in Barcelona that day was a major match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, football stand-ins for a more complicated political debate. Maybe it means something that the game ended in a 2-2 tie.