Anciently, primitive Iberian; then Carthaginian, Roman, Visigothic; the current identity is a product of the European Middle Ages. Catalans emerged at a Christian frontier of the conquering Dar al-Islam. Their knights took an important part in the Reconquista, driving the Moors back south from where they’d come; freeing their Christian slaves. All Europe is thus indebted to a heritage of Catalan warriors, saints, poets, artists; and as ever, patient and industrious farmers. Within Christendom, their autonomy has always been recognized, most recently by the Kingdom of Spain.
It is important to get that opposing positions actually contribute to establishing a context. In the case of the civil rights movement during the 1960s, for example, all those people who opposed civil rights for blacks actually contributed to creating a national dialogue that demonstrated to the country that the issue could no longer be ignored. Every government official in the South who stood in the doorway of a school and prevented black children from entering had been a cause, a part of the persistence, of the problem, of the oppression. After the creation of a context – “equal rights and dignity for blacks” – the very same action that had been a part of the problem’s persistence became an action contributing to the end of legal discrimination against minority races. Then, every such action contributed to an increased awareness of the issue, to the passage of civil rights legislation and to the gradual change in attitude that ultimately evidenced itself in the recognition that civil rights was an idea whose time had come.
Shifting from being front and center to an observant spectator, I began to see beyond myself, picking up the art of people-watching. As if placing an invisibility cloak on, I would quietly sink into the blue armchair, discreetly watching peoples’ behavior and interactions with one another. I found myself creating whimsical backstories of circumstance for each passerby, intertwining chance encounters and meaningful exchanges. People-watching not only helped me to become more aware of those around me, was also as an opportunity to explore undiscovered parts of myself.