Catalonia isn't ready for this fight

“I will not die for a flag, for a country,” Jordi Sellas, who was in charge of cultural projects in the previous Catalan government and now works as strategy director for TV production company Minoria Absoluta. Though Sellas is a strong independence supporter who’d attended all the secessionist rallies and who marked the vote with a jubilant tweet, he told me Catalans were a trading nation, not a fighting one, and its independence drive would always be peaceful. “People will never fight,” he said. “It’s not worth a single death.”

That’s not the kind of attitude I’ve seen in other secessionist regions or in countries determined to take their fate into their own hands. Barcelona in 2017 is not Kiev in 2014, where people were willing to die — and did — for Ukraine’s European choice. That’s why Alfons Lopez Tena, a lawyer who used to lead a secessionist political party and was a deputy of the Catalan parliament between 2010 and 2012, dismisses the Puigdemont government’s moves as “slapstick.”

“Catalans do not want independence, they wish independence,” he told me. “They like to feel good about themselves, and being victims for a good cause gives them this feeling.”