Last week T.Dan and I met twice to discuss two different topics, Catalonia and the Basque region. The week before we discussed more about the history of these regions as well as Spanish history as a whole, this past week we narrrowed down our area of study. I read a few different articles prior to our first discussion. I read,”‘Global y Catalanista’ El nacionalismo del FC Barcelona en el siglo XXI” by Hernán D’alessio, “Nacionalistas y antiindependentistas se posicionan en las elecciones de la peñas del Espanyol” by an unknown author, “Anger in Barcelona after Spanish police arrest Catalan minister and 12 officials in raids over referendum” by Hannah Strange, and “Deportistas que quieren la independencia de Cataluña(y no se cortan en manifestarlo)” published by La Marca.
While this week I studied a lot of soccer history and the importance of rivalries in different cities, it was hard to ignore the very current and immediate news of the arrests made in Barcelona. The referendum that is, as of now, still planned for October 1st is creating a lot of global interest and awareness of Catalonia’s fight for independence. One thing most people might misunderstand from briefly skimming the news is that Catalonia is pretty evenly divided on whether or not to vote for independence. The rivalry between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona represents a huge part of the divide. I learned about RCD Espanyol’s political roots and how the rivalry between them and FC Barcelona is not just due to being in the same city. RCD Espanyol represents all the people in the city of Barcelona who’s families moved to Barcelona, people who’s families feel 100% Spanish. The club crest adorns a crown, representing its affiliation with government and regality. FC Barcelona does not have a crown on their crest, nor does club have affiliations with past or present political powers in the capital, Madrid.
We studied a similar rivalry in the Basque region as well, between Real Sociedad and Athletic Club Bilbao. The week before I learned about a lot of the Basque region’s history and the pride and uniqueness of that region. Real Sociedad is a similar team to RCD Espanyol politically, founded in roots of the government, Real Sociedad also has a crown on the club crest. These two rivalries have a lot of deep roots and meaning for many families in these two regions. Unlike many American sports team’s rivalries, these rivalries mean more than just putting out your pride of where you are from. These rivalries and teams mean more to the national history of Spain.
For our second meeting I did some research on my own and brought what I found to T.Dan. I found an article that retold a story of the legalization of the Basque flag in the 1970’s. http://thesefootballtimes.co/2016/02/19/how-a-basque-derby-brought-about-the-legalisation-of-the-basque-flag/. Once again a theme I have found in the early part of my research is how wide seen and public soccer is, and more importantly how it is used as propaganda time and time again.
For this coming week I have started work on a paper in Spanish regarding why FC Barcelona is so important in the referendum and the impact the referendum will have on Spain and Europe. As well as working on this paper, I am working to prepare my first lesson for T.Dan’s Spanish 2 classes about the Basque region because not a lot of kids are aware it even exists!