I write to you as a native of the Cayman Islands, three small British Islands in the Caribbean. I have been made aware of your website through Valencian friends whom I have developed a great rapport with during my two-month stay here in Valencia. They have suggested that I make a contribution to this forum and I am glad to participate.
Before I do so, I would like to express how truly blessed I feel to have the amazing opportunity to emerse myself in the beauty of this city - its culture, language and lifestyle of the Valencian people.
The purpose of my trip to Spain was to be able to submerse myself in Spanish heritage, meanwhile improving my spoken Spanish. It was shortly after arriving that I noticed there was another language spoken here in Valencia, a native Valencian tongue. Soon thereafter, through speaking with friends here, I came to learn of the political rivalry that exists between Valencianos and Catalonians, and that they, the Catalonians, also have their own tongue and a separate heritage. More importantly, I became aware of a Valencian feeling of urgency to protect and retain their own identity.
As I am a new-comer to Valencia, I will be reserved with my comments. However, I hope I may be able to begin to contribute to the solutions to the current conflict which exists, or at least strengthen what others may have said before.
As a person who comes from an island/country which also shares similar struggles to protect its heritage, its native people, its own manner of speaking, meanwhile still maintaining an amicable relationship with its mother country, England (not to mention also maintaining respect for the customs of 100 different nationalities who live in Cayman - the results of mass immigration into Cayman in the last 30 years - a situation which has now been placed under control by a recently elected more "Pro-Caymanian" government), I fully support ValenciaÂ´s right to maintain its own identity. Although the Caymanian situation may be different in many respects, I believe that the struggle is the same: The preservation of a culture, its people and their way of life.
However, I also believe the bigger picture is this. Valencianos and Catalonians are both Spanish. Yet they are different and unique. It is important that there is an acceptance of their difference in history, culture, and modern day political runnings. But more importantly, these differences must also be publicly acknowledged and respected. Yet in the same breath, as Valencianos and Catalonians are both Spanish, not just by nationality but also geographically connected, they must find a way to collaborate with one another for the greater benefit of Spain.
I hope this has been of some help. I look forward to hearing of some of your comments.