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October 12th 2017

Catalonia and Estonia have a great deal in common. Both have independence from an immense neighbour as a political leitmotiv. What’s more, both take to the digital world in order to obtain that independence.

Estonia, president of the Council of the European Union as of this July, is celebrating the thirtieth birthday of the Singing Revolution, alongside Baltic neighbours Latvia and Lithuania. Between 1987 and 1991 various forms of protest finally resulted in independence from the deteriorating Soviet Union for the three states. The revolution is so named because songs were sung publicly in people’s native Baltic languages. The Estonians sang “Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm” (‘My homeland, my pride and joy’), which has since become the national anthem.

The Catalonians, too, have let themselves be heard: at both last year’s and this year’s referendum they tirelessly banged on pots and pans.

The comparison does not end with noise. For both, the internet seems to be a suitable power-tool for protecting national heritage and mobilising the nation.

Since the 1940s the Soviets have burned millions of books in Estonian in order to ‘clean out the libraries’. The Estonians are still feeling that threat from Russia. So as to prevent a new wave of large-scale cultural destruction they are in the process of digitising all books that have ever been published in the Estonian language. The Estonians are, in fact, generally ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to digital matters: their government has been fully digitised, including elections. To make sure that the government can continue to function when disaster strikes a back-up will be made next year. A building full of servers in Luxembourg might be granted the same status as an embassy, and will have the option of completely ‘rebooting’ the Estonian government from within the cloud.

I think it’s a genius move: in the future, the country might be invaded, but will remain sovereign. As soon as the nation will also start paying in the crypto-coin ‘estcoin’ annexation will have become practically impossible.

‘E-stonia’ is ahead of the rest of Europe. I would advise the Catalonians to follow in their footsteps and declare the state of Cloudalunya. Doing so, they will prevent the Madrilenian authorities, which apparently still take their cue from dictator Franco’s script, from taking violent action.

Now that further such actions by Madrid seem inevitable, the activists have woken up. Following the Estonian example they are preparing to be able to deflect Spanish occupation. Spanish prime minister Rajoy had better pay close attention when he attends the upcoming meeting of the European Council on 20 October in Tallinn. It’s on ‘a digital Europe’.

In a digital Europe determined, proud little nations, who don’t fear admitting their national sovereignty to the cloud and block chain, are at a definite advantage.

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