Every year on 11 September, Catalonia celebrates its Diada, its National Day. But the Diada of 2012 was like none other, as an enormous crowd calling for Catalan independence took over the heart of Barcelona. Despite the carnival-like atmosphere that day, the people were very serious about their demands. On the back of this show of force, Catalonia's governing politicians turned secessionist claims into a new headache for a government in Madrid that had only just survived a near-meltdown of Spain's financial system. Four years later, the separatist challenge has neither come to fruition, nor faded away. This book looks at how and why Catalan separatism reached the top of Spain's political agenda, as well as its connection to the broader European malaise generated by flawed political responses to financial and other crises. Through extensive travel and reporting, as well as over fifty interviews with leading Catalan personalities, Raphael Minder explains how Catalans feel about their economy, history and culture, and how secessionist forces have tried to reshape Catalan identity.
Raphael Minder is a journalist who spent ten years as a staff correspondent for the Financial Times in Paris, Brussels, Sydney and finally Hong Kong, as regional correspondent for Asia. Since 2010, he has been New York Times correspondent for Spain and Portugal, covering a financial crisis that has turned political, including the territorial conflict over Catalonia.