The world looks on

Living in Spain, however integrated we might be, if we come from another country we'll always be outsiders on the inside. That, however, gives us the advantage of looking at current affairs from both vantage points: we know what our friends, neighbours and the media here are thinking and saying, but we can also see how people around the world, and their respective media, are perceiving events.

In recent years Spain has been scrutinised from abroad quite frequently, from government turmoil to rescue operations, and this week, the ongoing Catalan independence issue has been thrown back into the international arena. The trial of 12 pro-independence leaders jailed after the 2017 referendum that was deemed illegal by the Spanish government, began on Tuesday amid great media expectation.

During the upheavals of autumn 2017 the pro-independence faction showed greater agility in handling social media and broadcasting their claims of Spanish repression and violation of human rights to the outside world.

Meanwhile the strong feelings of the people of Spain and Catalonia, from across the political spectrum, who want to keep their country united are in danger of being associated with the far-right. In fact the strong, no-nonsense attitude towards Catalonia is among the reasons for the far-right party Vox's recent growth in popularity.

Some of the former political leaders in court this week are answering charges of "rebellion". That alone conjures up images from history books and adds to international interest.

Let's hope, whatever the verdict, that the Spanish judicial system comes out of this having earned the respect of the international community.