Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Wednesday, 20 june 2012 | Financial Times


Reply to the Financial Times, by Toni Strubell

Col·lectiu Emma would like to recommend the letter sent to the Financial Times by our good friend Toni Strubell, arguing against some of the notions expressed in Simon Kuper´s article about the Spanish football team ("Spain’s football unity shows regions the way").

Recomanem la carta adreçada al Financial Times pel nostre bon amic Toni Strubell, on es rebaten algunes de les idees expressades a l'article de Simon Kuper sobre l´equip espanyol de futbol ("Spain’s football unity shows regions the way").

Dear Mr Kuper,

Over the years I have followed your books and articles and share your interest for the more political side to sport. I too am an Oxford man. My first co-authored book was also about a figure who had one foot in sport and the other in politics.

In your latest article on “La Roja”, in the Financial Times, you seem to have opted for a more moralistic line, indeed with earnest recommendations for Catalans regarding our (lack of) support for La Roja. You seem to have no qualms about openly prescribing behaviour patterns for our sports and maybe even political allegiances. You wish to correct, it would seem, our perverse sporting inclinations..

However, may I ask you if you know anything about the sporting history of Catalonia? Do you know Catalonia had Olympic contacts and offices long before Spain did? Do you know 500.000 Catalans signed for the right to sport our own national sides? Did you know that Catalonia was a founder member of the International Rugby Federation? Do you know what happens to Catalan sportsmen who refuse to play for Spain, however undefiant their attitude? Indeed, what happened to Barcelona defender Oleguer Presas? Did you also scold Catalans in the FT for booing the Spanish Royal family at the last Cup Final?

Do you also write instructions for Welshmen about their sporting loyalties and feelings? Have moves been made for Cardiff Arms Park to be dismantled in favour of grand old Twickenham? Should the Welsh be advised to do away with their red shirt so as there to be no doubt, worldwide, about which is THE red shirt to sigh over?

Whatever the case, I’d love to send you my latest book What Catalans Want if you would be good enough to give me an address. There are interviews in it with people from all walks of life, some of whom British, which I am sure will cast some light onto the dim view you seem to have of us Catalans. I’m sorry, but all that many of us Catalans want is to be allowed to be Catalan. We have had to put up with a hellish relationship with Spain that no European in his right mind would consider entertaining, if ever exposed to. God forbid. Please try and get some good backgound information before writing about what Catalans should and shouldn't do, feel and applaud.

Best wishes

Toni Strubell i Trueta MP for Girona / Diputat per Girona al Parlament de Catalunya

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia