Marcos Ondarra 10 February 2021
Professor Tomas Macsotay has created a file that includes the recent attacks on Vox in Vic. E.E.
Riots, violent demonstrations, harassment of opponents and journalists, politicized festivities, political symbols on the facades of town halls … There are so many episodes of secessionist harassment experienced in Catalonia in recent years that it is impossible to remember them all.
For this reason, the Dutch Tomas Macsotay, professor at Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona, has decided to collect them in the recently created Audiovisual Archive of the Nationalist Oppression in Catalonia, a huge work of documentation and compilation of materials that illustrate the separatist harassment of the last years.
This sort of online museum already consists of 34 folders with 250 documents, including videos, photographs, sound recordings, surveys, reports, testimonies … In short, a virtual newspaper library on the harassment of Catalan nationalism.
The documentary focus is freely accessible through the website of the Foro de Profesores – a civic association composed mainly of academics that emerged in October 2017 as a reaction to the process – and is constantly updated. “It continues under construction and will continue to be fed, but I think the time to publish has come, before the Catalan elections,” explains Macsotay to EL ESPAÑOL.
The professor confesses that the project “has little originality”, inasmuch as it has been limited to “collecting many press and audiovisual clippings that can be found on channels such as Twitter or YouTube”: “It is a mere compilation of existing material but not it was stored in a file that is searchable through a system “.
-What has prompted you to create the Archive?
-I have mainly thought of offering information about the process to those who are new to the subject in an organized way. For example, a reporter trying to write for the English, French or German press and who has to become familiar with what happened in a short time.
-Do you think that in the international arena -journalists, academics …- there is a rough idea of the degree of violence that the separatist movement has reached in recent years?
-I would say not. I am Dutch and when I speak with my colleagues from England, France or Holland, they tend to assume that I am exaggerating and that the process is something remote that is affecting me greatly.
“You cannot imagine how omnipresent is the occupation of public life in Catalonia and the aggressiveness against those who express constitutionalist ideas or in favor of the unity of Spain,” the Dutch professor abounds in his speech with EL ESPAÑOL.
-In what sense will the material help you better understand Catalan nationalism?
-This material helps to describe what the political climate is like in Catalonia; How are those conditions to which all of us who do not allow ourselves to be carried away by independence are exposed. That nasty climate is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t lived here. They are exposed in the workplace and in the street to harmful situations, which lead to a certain inhibition when expressing any criticism of the independence movement.
The teacher has taken four weeks to collect it. Thus, he collects from the street riots of the CDRs in Barcelona, public harassment of members of Ciudadanos, or harassment of young people from the constitutional entity S’ha Acabat! It also includes the recent attacks on Vox in Vic.
Of all the episodes that he has had to revisit, Macsotay highlights two “because of the interest they have from the point of view of the process and the logic of events, which have come to us in the correct order, but not in the correct intensity.”
The first, when the independentistas planted yellow crosses throughout Catalonia. It was the summer of 2018 when they invaded the beaches and other public spaces. Constitutionalists came close to ripping them out, and conflict often broke out.
“The Assemblea Nacional Catalana-ANC had created the symbolism of the funeral cross in 2016, before October 2017 arrived, to prepare the population to demonstrate through a ritual of mourning against the oppression of the State,” explains the Dutch professor. And he adds: “In this example you can see how the independence movement was already designing its own victimhood.”
The other paradigmatic episode of the violence of the “procés”, in the opinion of the author of the file, is the accusation suffered by Ana Moreno for asking her children to have 25% of the classes in Spanish. “It is important because it shows the degree of depravity of a community that turns against a mother with two young children in order to cause fear, harm and make her suffer,” says Macsotay.
“This captures to what extent has reached the idea of some people within the independence movement that they have the right to destroy the life of a person who does not agree with their ideas,” he explains in reference to a “destructive logic for the fabric of a society “.
Tomas Macsotay Bunt has been living in Spain for 10 years, when he moved to work at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Before him he had studied at the University of Amsterdam. There he won an award for his doctoral thesis from the Institut de France and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds (England).
His research work has always oscillated around the evolution of sculpture. Specifically, he has studied the relationship between this, materialism and drawing, as well as execution and its visual cultures in the secular and enlightened legacy. At present, he is preparing a monograph on ornate Spanish ecclesiastical interiors under the theoretical notion of affective space.
From the above, it is clear that Macsotay’s concern for the process stems from his experience in Catalan universities and not from his training and / or field of study: “I have seen trends that have posed a personal problem for me within the workplace” .
In this sense, the professor points out “what happens from the rector’s office in some universities”, where he has perceived “a collaboration to try to be in line with Catalan Government” which is manifested in a “lack of incentive for a neutral and good moderate debate allowing all voices and ideas. “
But what has scandalized the Pompeu Fabra University professor is that on a campus “it is possible to intimidate and attack students,” in reference to the attacks that members of S’ha Acabat! sometimes suffer. It is inadmissible from the democratic point of view; I am sure that it does not happen in any other country of the European Union, he censures.
“How can one group of students openly show intent to physically attack another group of students?” He wonders. “There is a climate in which this is excusable and excused. This is a source of shame because I am linked to a university and I need to know that I am part of an institution that ensures the well-being of my students and their freedom of expression”, adds the professor, who highlights the work of Universitaris per la Convivència in this regard.
-Aren’t you afraid to mean yourself as a university professor?
-I am not afraid, it is more a question of scruples. What I don’t think is pertinent is to express my own position because I feel that my first responsibility with my students is that my lessons are liberating and help to create community.
“If I had expressed a very declared opinion, the routes would have been cut with those students who support the independence movement”, explains the professor, who clarifies: “For me the independence movement does not pose a problem, but there are some aggressive ways in which has manifested the phenomenon. “
-Do you think the most violent time of the procés has passed?
-The episodes where people yell at each other and hit each other are not the ones that frighten me the most. One of the most terrifying landscapes is the center of Pyongyang, precisely because nothing happens there. There is peace because all opposition has been eradicated. The worst that could happen is that the culture of silence is consolidated in Catalonia and, therefore, of internal exile of those who are not satisfied but have to keep quiet.