Catalan society polarized

Catalonia declared and revoked -for further negotiations- the independence of Spain on October 27 after holding an illegal referendum on October 1st. Today, those who are suffering the consequences are the Catalan people.

From its beginnings, Catalonia has been part of Spain. Its first attempts at autonomy emerged in the 20th century. Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship regime, after the civil war, limited the rights of the Catalan province and, although Franco’s system ended in 1975 and Catalonia received a broad autonomy, these events triggered the attempts at autonomy.

Catalonia has been acquiring during history its own parliament, public administration, education, health and police and has converted in one of the richest provinces. So why was an independence referendum needed?

The arguments of those who advocate independence are based on the theory that Catalonia contributes more economically to Spain than Spain does to Catalonia, to the point that one of the slogans that have triumphed most in recent years is “Spain steals.”

Another argument is that Catalonia is a historic nation, with its own culture and language, and that the will to become independent is not a last-minute whim, but that it is necessary to go back a century to find its origin.

The problem is that the October referendum is not legal, the Spanish Constitution does not contemplate the self-determination of a Spanish territory, and only a modification of the Spanish Constitution could allow the convocation of a referendum in which the rupture of the unity of Spain would arise. The Government said several times that they would never change the Constitution to open the door to the independence of a Spanish territory.

Catalans have a democratic argument that hardly has a reply: they only want to exercise their right to something as democratic as voting and deciding – regardless of whether is a yes or a no.

The president of the Government has ignored for years the voices that warned that in Catalonia there was a very serious historical problem that had to be resolved as soon as possible. He has not agreed to sit down and talk to the highest Catalan authorities to find points of the agreement being impossible to reach a consensus.

As a result, Catalan society has become polarized between the Spaniards and the independents. Several banks and businesses have moved their legal headquarters to out of the region. Catalans are the ones suffering the consequences were citizens have been divided, especially after the imprisonment of two politicians involved in the independence process and the exile of the former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in Brussels trying to get political asylum.

What comes next? After the declaration of independence and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announcement of the application of Article 155, which dissolved the Parliament, Catalonia will hold regional elections on December 21st. The independence parties are debating whether they should contest the elections or boycott them and risk remaining absent from Parliament in the next legislature.

Veronica Lopez Trensig

University student in Boston

Hyde Square clarification

Thank you for reprinting mine and Michael Halle’s letter regarding the lack of green design in the Hyde Square rotary project, and for publishing the letter to me from the DPW.

I want to clarify that the letter from the DPW was written to me as a response to a previous document that they had received about the Hyde Square project. That document had a list of recommendations based on what had already been built, and the current situation. The letter that Michael and I wrote was about the bigger picture of the mismatch between the Complete Streets philosophy and what has been built in Hyde Square. The letter from the DPW did not address this failure of service to the public welfare.

Citizens need to be vigilant in contacting their representatives, being involved in community processes, and holding our city departments accountable for following through on the visions and principles they say they are working towards. In this case, the pavement and concrete-covered space has already been increased, but there are still some areas where this impact can be decreased. The public art, for example, is not likely to require both islands at the northern end of the rotary. One could be opened up and could accommodate a tree. Perhaps the art installation does not require hardscape, and could be seated on a porous surface, enabling a small portion of more environmentally sustainable design.

The dying linden tree that was preserved in the rotary will need to be replaced, according to the DPW reply. When that happens, the tree pit should be shifted over to achieve better aesthetics with symmetry, and at the same time it should be widened to gain back some of the paved-over soil where neighbors had planted sunflowers.

It is not too late for the city to spend a little more money and time here to demonstrate some commitment to environmental sustainability.

Lauren Ockene

Jamaica Plain resident

Yet another irony

For anyone who is concerned as I am about the contradictions we witnesse daily in this country when it comes to policy and our so-called values, read the brilliant book and then watch the movie, BILLIE LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, to appreciate the irony (and superficiality) of these paid-for military tributes between the halves of Sunday, Monday, and Thursday football games (yes, the DOD has had to pay the NFL for such pageantry) .

And nothing’s changed. Among the many fine books on Vietnam is the Cat from Hue. The author, a young CBS reporter, gets some R&R after having survived an attack that took out most of the platoon he was covering. He returns to New York where he can’t help but notice what appears to be the frivolous and carefree lives among hip New Yorkers at this one particular bar. He wonders how these young men managed to avoid being drafted and his friend, also a war journalist, reminds him that connections and $$$$ will get you anything in this country … the U.S.A., that is.

While we no longer have a draft, much of the nation seems perfectly content to stand up and honor these volunteers who put their lives on the line, but not demand a change in policy that continues to put Americans in combat situations because of decisions that were based on LIES. … and then go back to their relatively comfortable lives complaining that some NFL players are kneeling during the anthem. How dare they.

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain resident

Let’s have some chill

I love reading those letters from Michael Spitzer because it brings some levity to all the real news impacting our lives. Reading his commentaries make me smile. Whatever happened to folks reading that great old book, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking.”?

As an aging baby boomer, I watch all that is happening in America today and all the shananigans by our elected officials both Democrat and Republicans. Am I happy that I voted for President Trump? If faced with the samne choice I was presented on November 8, 2016, like what another Jamaica Plain resident said, “I’d Do it Again.”

I have not been had and  I am not worried how future generations will view the Trump Election. If mR.Spitzer thinks that I  or other Trump voters are misguided or greedy, good luck to him. I think Mr.Spitzer needs to calm down. We don’t all think alike and arriving at different opinions is who we are as Americans. We need to be more tolerant of one another and put hateful displays away. We are better than that.

i might not even vote to re-elect President Trump. Many of his policies are not my policies but I am not sorry or worried about what others including Mr. Spitzer think of my political decisions

Don’t be a party pooper, get a life and have some fun once in a while.



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