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Why the strength and courage of the Catalan fight for Independence so torments the Government of Spain

Why the strength and courage of the Catalan fight for Independence so torments the Government of Spain

... and why a strong minority represents such a threat

Earlier this week, a million Catalan people gathered in the streets of Barcelona in a show of their support and determination for independence from Spain. The video below shows the nature of that event; and it's reflective of what I have already come to know and love of the Catalan people; strong, peaceful, courageous, joyful, family oriented, all of which traits are reflective of their culture and traditions.

If, like me, you have been largely unaware of this situation between Spain and its integral state of Catalunya, it dates back three centuries, to a period of war when Spain defeated the Catalans and incorporated it by force in to its own constitution. Despite this Catalunya has maintained its own identity and has retained its strength and integrity as an economic force.

Cataln Flag in Vilanova i La GeltruAnd it's that strength that so frustrates and angers the Government of Spain, which is so adamantly determined to retain Catalunya as apart of its sovereignty, that is prepared to renounce the vote scheduled for the 1st of October, as illegal. Spain's President, who is attempting to prosecute Catalunya's 700 Mayors for supporting the vote, has called the Referendum "an intolerable act of disobedience", which declaration is in itself enough to demonstrate a leader so desperately inept at creating a unified Spain that he must admonish the Catalan Mayors like children and attempt to send them to the naughty step. 


Spain is exploiting Catalunya's economic strength

It is this economic power that makes it so dangerous for Spain to relinquish its control over the region. There are 18 states in Spain and yet Catalunya contributes 19% of Spain's GDP. In return, Spain only delivers half of that back to support Catalunya's infrastructure and growth. And further than that, Spain steadfastly refuses to support Catalunya's desire to retain its cultural identity, implementing punishing policies that oppress this proud people's rights to their traditions, blocks their development and prevents them from implementing local development plans that will allow them to flourish. In fact, I have seen with my own eyes, how the Spanish Government manipulates the media to unfairly represent Catalunya in the eyes of wider Spain, by which it is largely treated with disdain, even though it is quite obviously one of the strongest regions in the country. During the recent atrocity in Barcelona, some of the vitriol that was aimed at the Catalan people was almost beyond comprehension with comments such as there should not be too much concern over what happened since "it was only Catalans that died."

The Spanish Government is exercising the same kind of dictatorial control and oppression that seem so dangerously prevalent in other major Western countries in recent months and years. The US and UK included.

If Spain, by contrast, had accepted the Catalans right to their culture, adopted some of their strengths as a nation and treated it with equality within the context of wider Spain, then there is a chance that Catalunya would not be seeking the vote as it currently is.


Growth and stability of the whole is compromised by lack of integration

The need for oppression comes out of fear and the recognition that you have little positive influence. Oppression is a sign of weakness. It is the typical human response of the majority over a strong minority that we see not just in politics but in every form of human interaction. From the family group upwards. When a minority defies the rules of the majority, even if the reasons for that defiance are positive, that minority will generally be either controlled by the majority to comply with its rules, or ejected and rejected. There are few circumstances under which the minorities differences will be acknowledged and incorporated so that the group can stay together as an evolved whole. Despite all our incredible achievements in this world, in terms of science or economy for example, we seem inexplicably incapable of evolving our human ability to co-exist with equality. And it seems the lowest common denominator prevails. Intelligence and strength is met with disdain and dismissal, ridicule and punitive control and oppression. Ignorance cannot negotiate, it can only seek to contain.

This inherent behaviour not only massively stifles our growth and development and inhibits freedom, it is a fundamental prevention to individual and human development that threatens to undermine our very existence.

Spain is just one example of this catastrophic inability to live with basic humanitarian rights as a core of our social and political rules, but it will soon be tested for its ability to adapt and adopt a more globally acceptable understanding to the rights of people to exist within their own culture and be accepted for who they are. I for one, hope that Catalunya not only receive the right to their vote for independence, but also to win it and to show the World what can be done if we are allowed to flourish within our own culture, accepting that we must co-operate with those who live differently to us.

Belief is more powerful than Truth

Belief is more powerful than Truth

Illusions, believe your own Truth

Over the past few weeks, watching Donald Trump start a dangerous and painful period in human history, one of the most difficult things for many to grapple with has been the search for the truth. In classic narcissist behaviour, Trump and his team have used a number of techniques to manipulate, hide, and alter information to leave a largely confused population scrabbling to establish just what the truth is. It’s a cruel and masterful control tactic. It creates confusion, fear and division as the various factions fight to defend the position that, in their belief, is the truth. Perhaps what we need to learn to understand, is that the most powerful word in the previous sentence is not truth, but belief.

The Truth in relation to fact, is a rare thing and sometimes not as valuable as we think it should be. The Truth in relation to honesty, has a huge value, but more in terms of the honesty itself, than in what it may reveal. Because the truth is, we each have our own truth. And it becomes our truth, because we have been conditioned for it to be so. I have been blessed (and cursed) with a brain that always wanted to know the real truth, to find the answer. And then a few years ago my wife died – and I was faced with the truths and the questions that I would raise, but for which I could find no answer. About the meaning of life, about God, about death. And I kept on trying to find some answers, until I finally realised that there were none and that were no truths – and if there had been, they would have been irrelevant. What mattered, were my beliefs. 

Trump’s fake news, alternative facts and misinformation have brought that period of search back to me. And it made me think about the nature of truth in our lives. Trump is certainly not the first US President or World leader to use the tactics of fear and confusion – far from it, though he is probably one of the least subtle! So I thought about history in general; that we learn about history from the records and from our teachers, we accept what we are told as fact. But actually, all that we have most of the time, is a perception of what happened from one or more persons point of view. A record gleaned from someone having being there and witnessed some part of it, or having seen a photograph or unearthed a relic from the past. But because we receive this information from people or records that we respect, we accept it as truth. But really, it was only their truth. Just like Chinese whispers, that truth has been handed down and reconceived, polished, altered based on the viewpoint of others.

But we do not have to accept the truth of others.

Beauty is Truth
"Truth is Beauty" at The Burning Man - sculpture by Marco Cochrane, San Francisco Bay Area

We can hold on to our own truth, or we can choose to change it if we encounter a viewpoint that affects our understanding. But it is often futile to spend time trying to find “the real truth”. More often than not it either does not exist or is irrelevant.

So what really matters is what you believe. And whatever you believe, remain true to it. And know that you cannot change the beliefs of others. What you can do, is talk about, practice and reinforce your own beliefs. In doing so, you may influence others, but change will be of their own will, not because you tried to control or have power over them. Trump does not care that we might be saying negative things about him, he does not care that he gets caught out in a lie, all that matters is that we keep talking about it – because that distracts us from the reality and keeps us from focusing on our beliefs and making progress with our own agendas. Which is exactly what it wants, to take away our freedom of thought. The way to take that power and control away from him is to stop seeking the truth about what he and his team say and concentrate on your own truth and your own beliefs and upholding them. You are one of many. The force of good in this World far outweighs the force of evil. There obviously have to be controls to deal with extreme and harmful situations, but in my view, the general balance is better cultivated by simply concentrating on upholding the beliefs that you believe to be good.

I can tell you this for sure; that when I looked into the eyes of my wife and saw the light leave her as she passed from this life , the only things she took with her were love and the knowledge that she lived her life fully and being true to herself. And in the end, that was all that mattered.

I have no idea how Trump’s Presidency will ultimately be recorded in history, but what I do believe is that he will teach the world some very important lessons, about the real nature of truth and freedom. And one of those lessons will be to stop trying to find the truth, it is a diversionary tactic that confuses and controls. Instead, think about your own beliefs. Live them, share them and be honest and true to them. The Universe will do the rest.

Butterfly time…

Butterfly time…

Well I guess the first news is my new website!!

Over the years I’ve written many articles for other websites or publications – this is the first time that I’ve written for something that’s mine. If I’m honest it feels a bit odd to have my own domain name and a place that’s so personal, but perhaps that’s the point, it’s time to just be “me” for a while. After all, the last five years have been largely a journey of personal rediscovery. So that makes this a bit of a butterfly moment.

This place is a home for my story, but also a chance to share in a way what will hopefully help and inspire others. It’s also a launchpad, for the creative part of me that has been hidden for a very long time. It feels good to let that side of me fly.

The picture above is from my travels with my niece Natalie in Peru last year – it was one of those moments when an idea clicks in your head and it has become something of a metaphor. We were high up in the mountains after a long trek – one that took us to the edge of sheer drop to a valley 150 feet below, on a craggy ledge. It felt like standing on the edge of the world; exhilarating – and a little scary. This butterfly was sitting on the stone, soaking up the sun. It stayed there regardless of the people around it – like most of the wildlife in the area, it was unused to the presence of humans. It therefore had no fear. It had not been conditioned or affected by the presence of others, the butterfly was just blissfully able to “be” exactly as nature meant it, unafraid of any consequences of ur presence. And everyone there respected its right to sit there in peace.

Lessons from nature. If we become too afraid of the consequences of our actions, we cannot emerge and be who we really are; we stop ourselves doing what we really want to do. And if we each have respect for everyone else’s right to exist on their own terms and expect the same from them, then we are all much better placed to do that.

It seems simple. Here’s to being a butterfly.