"They are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history."
This dramatic proclamation was made by right-wing Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, up in arms over the resolution just passed by the parliament of Catalonia committing that region to proceed with preparations to secede from Spain.
With a population of more than seven million, Catalonia accounts for approximately one-fifth of Spain's economic output.
Of course, given the country’s long history of repression of Catalan identity and nationalism, the whole "unity" bit is rather disingenuous. As economist Daniel Raventos, a lecturer at the University of Barcelona, recalled to me in an email, the constitutional enshrinement of the "indivisible unity of the Spanish nation" is in fact a relic of the era of Francisco Franco.
Among his many claims to notoriety, the former dictator outlawed the Catalan language and even the use of Catalan names, as well as the Catalan national dance and other customs.
Meanwhile, if we want to talk about liquidating things, it's no doubt helpful to bring up the wanton elimination of Spanish livelihoods in the aftermath of the financial crisis, which saw youth unemployment soar to nearly 60 percent. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA ENGLISH.