For many years I had forgotten about independence for Catalonia, thinking that Spain was modernising. The recent crackdown has changed everything

My family, like many Catalan families, is a hybrid, and my grandparents came from other parts of Spain. Catalonia has always been a place of passage, a mongrel – but with its own identity.

When I was born in 1961, my relatives lost the battle to name me Jordi because, as a Catalan name, it wasn’t legal – so I had to be Jorge, the Spanish version. I couldn’t learn my language, or hear it spoken in public. I wasn’t allowed my own identity, or at best I was looked upon as some sort of fairground attraction. “Say something in Catalan,” people would ask. “Ah, what a cute little boy!”

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