Buscando Barcelona

La Vanguardia: Regional News

Posted on: December 15, 2009

One article I found online in regards to the region of Catalunya is not directly about it but rather a comparison to another separatist region. A correspondent reader writing from London discusses the similarities and differences between Catalan separatism and Scottish separatism. The introduction of the article put my thoughts on the matter best, “From the US perspective, Europe is arguably the only part of the world where the maps have to touch it up every 15 to 20 years because of the fickleness of the borders.” Political rivalries have caused the original European nations to change borders, evolving like an amoeba. I first experienced this separatist sentiment of Catalunya (something I knew nothing about when I came to Barcelona) on September 11, the state’s holiday. I could not understand why CAtalunya would want to become its own nation away from Spain until I began this class. With Barcelona as its capital, CAtalunya easily became a political, cultural and economic hub outside of Madrid. The threat to this strong power is a classic issue of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. The article discusses the similar situation going on in Scotland. Nationalists want to withdraw from the UK and while they are technically their own country, they want to be completely separate of England, much the way Catalunya is its own state but wants complete freedom. While I am of the opinion that this will never happen because Spain would be stupid to lose such a lucrative area of their country, its certain that the proud Catalans will continue the fight no matter what.

            The next article I found was a little bit surprising to me. I have become incredibly accustomed to the beautiful weather of Barcelona and tend to forget (ok maybe neglect…) the fact that cold even exists anymore. Especially in the Mediterranean. It seems that the great weather can’t last forever and that winter does in fact come around this time of year. In the smaller towns outside of Barcelona, several small crashes and other incidents have occurred on the roadways because  of a snow storm in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Thirty seven trucks and nine cars were caught in the weather between Reus and Falset  and were forced to wait in Reus overnight waiting the arrival of the snow plows. The storm has also left 1,634 school children advised to stay at home in Tarragona, Girona, Horta d’Ebre, and Lleida because of the high winds and the cold. Fortunately, this wind has not caused any structural damage like it has in the past. Meteorologist are predicting that the storm will be over by Wednesday and are hoping for no more crashes and school cancelations.

On the same line of thought in regards to school, an article yesterday outlined the plans by the Minister of Education, Angel Gabilondo, and Regional Minister for Education of the Generalitat Ernest Maragall. They signed the Convention School 2.0 plan which aims to digitize the classrooms of Catalunya through installation of more computers and software in both Catalan and Castilian, along with other more advanced technologies. Both the central and regional governments will invest a combined total of 30.8 million euro. However, parents in Catalunya will pay half the cost of the computers as an initial contribution. The  Ministry has an agreement with Microsoft and hopes to get free software, or at least discounted software. The program will be implemented through Educat 1×1 which is for secondary school aged kids and will distribute 60,000 laptops. This program also includes teacher training, WIFI in classrooms, and installation of other necessities and will begin this September.


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