Beatriz Silva. 16/4/2021
The writer Javier Cercas, in Seville / @JMSANCHEZPHOTO
When I first came to Barcelona in 1995, Catalonia was very similar to what Gabriel García Márquez and José Donoso described in their chronicles. An open land that enthusiastically welcomed artists, writers and journalists who came from Latin America attracted by the literature produced by the publishing capital in Spanish that spoke in Catalan. Conversations were bilingual and nobody saw a problem with it. There was still an ideological division between left and right and ties were created by common struggles. Coming from the country of Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda made many people open their hearts to me and offer me their friendship.
In the last decade I have seen how this friendly Catalonia that welcomed me was replaced by a much more sour, loaded with an intolerance difficult to explain. Our public television is perhaps the mirror that best reflects the monster that the identitary nationalism has created in recent years that now seeks to devour Javier Cercas. His mistake has been to go to one of the most sectarian programs of TV3, FAQS, to explain with education, respect and arguments difficult to refute, the point of view of a large part of the citizenry: those who do not aspire to independence and do not have a place in the mental framework of our public television and of the people who watch it, who are the ones who have caused the lynching.
Francesc Trillas said in an article entitled ‘From the revolution of smiles to the lynching of Cercas’ that it is as when a drop of pluralism fell into the magma of uniformity: a sudden chemical reaction had taken place. Because those who direct and those who consume TV3 on a daily basis do not want a plural television that reflects the diversity and wealth of the country. They are unnerved by the arrival of a successful Catalan, who is internationally respected, who speaks perfect Catalan with a Girona accent and writes novels in Spanish that are sold like hotcakes in bookstores in Barcelona, because it dismantles the story that they have worked so hard to build.
The latest CAC report on political pluralism shows that FAQS interviewed 17 supporters of independence between March and August 2020 compared to 4 who were not. In the ‘Tot es mou’ program, the proportion was from 53 to 15. The report does not analyze the pluralism of the talking shows but it is easy to see that the rule is that there are three or fourpro- independence participants against one or none who are not and that the presenter enthusiastically join the first group. The report also does not analyze how it affects pluralism (or the lack of it) the fact that a person like Pilar Rahola had more than twelve hours between March and August of speaking time 57 speeches to pontificate on the official discourse.
In the creation of the monster that has now been launched against Cercas, efforts to hide what is uncomfortable have also had to do with it. There is no coincidence at all that TV3 has taken six and a half year to program specific content on the corruption that surrounds Jordi Pujol and his family. Nor is it by chance that the result has been a report in which the person who has acted as a common thread has been one of the accused sons of the former president, which began with the director of the program warning that the case “may come to nothing” and it has ended with ten minutes dedicated to the “patriotic police” without a single voice that disagrees with the point of view that Pujol has been the victim of political persecution.
Perhaps it is not wrong to point out that Pujol: els secrets d’Andorra was not an auteur documentary. It was a 30 Minuts report subjected to criteria of neutrality and pluralism like those that the rest of the programming should have. It also came after years of silence from our public television around a case in which there is no presumption of innocence: Jordi Pujol is a confessed capital evader. It is a case that has made headlines and covers due to its seriousness and because it is unprecedented in Europe that a former president, his wife and his seven children are accused of accumulating a fortune of 290 million euros with illegal activities.
But the image of a Catalonia that has had a fraudster president for 23 years does not appeal to the monster. Nor that the most prestigious writer in the country does not embrace the official story, Javier Cercas has already said that he does not intend to shut up or leave because this is his home and it is what all of us should do: work so that tolerance and respect return, to recover our institutions, the public media and language, because they belong to all citizens, not only to that part that has decided that there are people like us who are not needed.