Viva el Rey

According to Alfonso II (“the Troubadour,” “the Chaste”), Catalonia is an autonomous collection of counties within the Kingdom of Aragon, which straddles the Pyrenees. This was in the twelfth century, slightly before my time. As king he was also styled “Count of Catalonia”; and too, “of Provence”; with interests beyond in Languedoc and oversea in Sardinia. He was not entirely sovereign, however: for he was united with the king of Castile even then, under a bond of vassalage. Moreover, there were no absolute sovereignties, in the subsidial matrix of mediaeval government.

In other words, the socialist romanticists of Catalonia are right to claim a certain autonomy of more than eight centuries’ standing. But in all this time their proposed nation state never existed. The remarkable city of Barcelona has been continuously the centre of this coherent realm, with a language as beautiful as Occitan and others strewn through the interior mountains. For more than five centuries a distinct “principality” (like Wales). But not a kingdom as, for instance, Valencia once became.

Anciently, primitive Iberian; then Carthaginian, Roman, Visigothic; the current identity is a product of the European Middle Ages. Catalans emerged at a Christian frontier of the conquering Dar al-Islam. Their knights took an important part in the Reconquista, driving the Moors back south from where they’d come; freeing their Christian slaves. All Europe is thus indebted to a heritage of Catalan warriors, saints, poets, artists; and as ever, patient and industrious farmers. Within Christendom, their autonomy has always been recognized, most recently by the Kingdom of Spain.

They have been the wealthiest constituent part of that kingdom through many generations, while their attention was focused upon creative acts of trade; of life, letters, religion, and away from the scourge of politics.

We could go on with this little backgrounder, but my only intention is to stress that the demand for an independent Catalan republic is something very modern, wild and evil.

A single glance at a photograph of the current Catalan cabinet — which ordered a referendum in defiance of national law, in which the majority of the population did not participate — explains everything. They are bitter-faced women in pantsuits, and men with that smug, leftish smirk, and the dead look in the eyes. We have seen them before in Quebec, and Scotland, and will see them again.

They are the worst enemies of Catalonia; of everything she has been through the centuries. In their ravenous pursuit of power they have made a peaceful land into a psychic warzone, turned neighbour against neighbour and race against race. And this in a blink of time. The violence has barely begun. More bodies wait to be heaped upon the demonic altar of Nationalism.

There were no serious grievances at the start. No one was oppressed, except in his imagination. Now there will be grievances on all sides, real oppression, and scores to settle through coming generations.

Nice work, Satan. You’ve done it again.