A YouTube video featuring an Andalusian Spanish blogger criticizing xenophobic attitudes in Spain toward the region of Catalonia has gone viral.
Blogger Mel Domínguez (@focusings) uploaded the video [es] to her Youtube channel [es] on April 8th, 2013 as a response to anti-Catalanism she has encountered in Spain. It has so far garnered more than two million views and more than 35,000 comments.
The video comes at a time when tensions are high between Spain and the autonomous community of Catalonia. With economic crisis ravaging the Iberian peninsula, the movement for independence in Catalonia has gained popular support, straining relations between the region and the rest of the country.
Domínguez, a 23-year-old Huelva native, has been living in Barcelona for two years. In her video, titled “¡A mí me hablas en español!” or “Speak to me in Spanish!”, she deconstructed what she called “false myths” about the Catalan people:
She began by asserting:
Estoy en contra de los españoles que odian a los catalanes por inercia, pero también estoy en contra de los catalanes que odian a los españoles con la misma intensidad.
She asserted that, in her native Andalusia, she was “raised to hate” the Catalan people and Catalonia as symbols of all Spain's ills. Domínguez explained that after moving to Barcelona, she came to believe that another people's desire for political independence is perfectly valid:
¿Es que están ofendiendo a alguien por pensar que su tierra merece un estado propio? Mientras no sean radicales que van insultando a España, su pensamiento independiente me parece totalmente respetable. [...] Cuando crecí y empecé a conocer esta tierra, me di cuenta de que es una tontería odiar por odiar.
Domínguez also sought to set the record straight about “false myths,” such as a commonly held belief that Spanish speakers in Catalonia are marginalized and face discrimination, or that the Catalan-language is a dialect of Spanish:
Un dialecto es el andaluz, el canario, el murciano. El catalán se rige por sus propias reglas ortográficas, sus propias conjugaciones verbales, su propia escritura.
Domínguez also explained that when she was young, her desire to watch the Catalan-language television program “Crackòvia” [ca] led to often heated arguments with her father, who would say, “I'd watch English television before anything in Catalan” — an attitude Domínguez qualified as radical: to hate “just because”, in her own words. She concluded:
Sé que no voy a cambiar el mundo grabando este vídeo, pero me he desahogado.
Chica, et felicito per la teva inteligència, simpatía i sentit de l'humor. M'has fet pasar una bona estona. Si hi haguès a Espanya molta gent que pensès com tu tot aniría millor. Moltes gràcies guapetona!!!!
Nevertheless, despite clarifying her position against all forms of radicalism, Domínguez wasn't able to evade criticism — and in some cases, personal insults — from those who don't share her vision. It should be noted, however, that her detractors continue to fall in the minority of those who reacted to her video.
Víctor García Glez (@uvejeje) wrote on Twitter:
@uvejeje: Su vídeo sobre la “catalanofobia” me parece una de las chorradas más imbéciles y victimistas que vi en años. Enhorabuena.
Some netizens, such as Twitter user Santiago Sánchez (@murcianista77) went as far to question her own national authenticity:
@murcianista77: si eres andaluza no eres neutral, gilipollas.una buena andaluza es antiindependentista.
Beyond the blogosphere, various media outlets, such as El País [es] and television channel 8 TV [ca], have reported on Domínguez's video. La Vanguardia [es] has even hired her to offer her videos as scoops to its readers.
This video coincides with a broader initiative in Catalonia to fight perceived anti-Catalanism. Beyond displays of national and cultural pride, such as the region's traditional Diada holiday and last summer's controversial grassroots translation of Twitter's interface, activists have been deliberately pushing back against a rising tide of anti-Catalan sentiment in Spain's public and private spheres.
Aside from the Domínguez video, a notable case has been the website Apuntem.cat [ca], which has had far-reaching success in denouncing anti-Catalan activity online by collecting and sharing racist tweets and blog posts.