The most typical reaction to the Catalan sovereignty debate I am hearing on the Spanish side is “Fine, why don’t they just leave and get it over with?” But this is just bravado. The 16 remaining regions of Spain would be immensely poorer in the event of a Catalan secession, so as an adopted Madrileño I take the liberty of making this jilted lover’s plea:
1. I will not consider it rude when spoken to in Catalan next time I visit. In fact, what is rude is my not responding with a few hastily learnt pleasantries in your language.
2. And I wish all of you Catalans would be more willing to take a good look around Madrid. We need to get to know each other more.
3. I know that lately things “haven’t gone well,” as Artur Mas said after meeting the prime minister, but we must beat the crisis together.
4. I am glad all those national funds were spent on beautifying Barcelona before the wonderful 1992 Olympic Games, launching the city as one of Europe’s most glamorous destinations today.
5. But sorry that so many years were allowed to pass before a decent high-speed train connection was finally made between the Spanish and Catalan capitals. It is there now, though.
6. It is great that your region has contributed so much to poorer parts of Spain through the concept of “solidarity.” Please maintain this idea.
7. I refuse to believe that a story like ours is going to end badly over money…
8. It is appreciated that Catalan nationalism has spurned the path of violence. Politics will find a solution.
9. We have the same enemy. Both the governments in Madrid and Barcelona are using the crisis as a pretext for slashing at the welfare state.
10. Spain is Europe. Catalonia is Europe. Spain is a little Catalan. Catalonia is a little Spanish.
11. Gaudí, Dalí and Miró. Goya, Lorca and Picasso.
12. Catalonia has been the entry point for new influences in Spain. Thanks for bringing the likes of Orwell and Cruyff to our shores.
13. There are so many things that only happen between the borders of France and Portugal, like being able to find a small bar to have a drink in after a football match that ends at midnight.
14. Talking of football, how can we even be thinking of cutting the Spain team in two at this glorious time? Ramos without Piqué? Iniesta without Xavi..?
15. Well done for banning bullfighting, by the way (not all Spaniards think this, but they will).
16. Barcelona is where don Quixote saw the sea, our Mediterranean.
17. I will learn some Catalan so I can say things like: “Tots iguals, tots diferents.”