20 May 2021
Miquel Iceta and Salvador Illa greet Jordi Cuixart on the day of the investiture of Aragonès. PAU VENTEO EUROPA PRESS
“You are the Scots of Spain and you want to be the Irish”, said an English journalist at the Ateneu Barcelonès at the dawn of the First World War when demand for Home Rule was growing on the emerald island. At that time, an ironic story was circulating in Barcelona about the relationship between “oppressors” and “oppressed”. A Catalan explains to a foreigner the political situation in Catalonia. During the sermon, they pass by a road. In the ditch, a brigade stings, gravels and sweats, guarded by a foreman. “Ah! Exclaims the stranger. These – pointing to the workers – are those of the oppressed race!” “No, no”, replied the other, “these are those of the oppressor”. “So who is the well-dressed figure?” “The one of the oppressed race”, says the Catalan, to the astonishment of his companion.
Today, part of the population in Catalonia wants to be like the Scots in the British Empire, others like the current Scots and vote in a referendum on self-determination. And others want to be like the Irish of the early 1920s or, directly, those of the 1980s and “pull the tail of the lion,” as Gerry Adams said in his memoirs, Before Dawn. That is why he despises a gentleman who is suspending himself from running for the presidency and the government and will risk losing support for his party and voters to try to track down a mess created by others.
Of course, as Jordi Cuixart has expressed, partial pardons – which in public the pro-independence guys will not thank Pedro Sánchez for – will not resolve the conflict, but they open a way. As did the embrace of the president of Òmnium Cultural to the minister Miquel Iceta in the inauguration of Pere Aragonès. Otherwise, with parliamentary arithmetic and a state of political tension in Spain, how could prisoners return with their families sooner rather than later?
Oriol Junqueras rightly regretted this week on Televisió de Catalunya the little time he has spent with his children in the last three and a half years. The same is supposed to feel the other pro-independence politicians imprisoned even though they publicly stand firm. But the fact is that, according to the president of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, if the pardons “arrive, it will not be a success”, but a “politically intelligent decision of the Spanish Government against the pro-independence sector” because “it will disarm us politically and it will be disastrous internationally”, as she tweeted on Thursday 27.
The influence of Irish politics, which has radiated for a long century on nationalist movements throughout Europe and even India, has led Catalanism of different coats to make many mistakes. In this mirror, the ANC has gone from being a pressure group that breathed joy into the path of Arcadia to be closer to being one that wants Catalonia to have its own Bobby Sands.
Our private Irish are annoyed by the Generalitat because the institution of self-government breaks the oppressor-oppressed scheme. Also the Mossos d’Esquadra. Since its inception, Catalanism has pursued the powers of public order and, now that it has achieved them, they are hindering, because having other security forces in front of them would make it possible to present in a simpler way the scheme of struggle against a colonial army.
Catalanism has called for a more competitive airport in Barcelona with international connections and now that AENA is finally proposing to expand it and address the comparative grievance with Barajas, this is not good either. It turns out that it is a ploy by the Spanish government to reject it and thus be able to justify a new investment in Madrid. And it is that, when one wants to be Irish, everything that is complex and comes out of the Manichean scheme of black and white is a hindrance. It is clear that, for some – as the writer and music critic Rossend Llates titled his memoirs – Being Catalan is not at all easy.
In recent weeks, Jordi Llovet has shown in a couple of articles in the Quadern of this newspaper his concern about the impotence of reason in front of a part of the (ill) enlightened citizens. Without high expectations and, at the same time, without forgetting that the antagonist can also have some certainty in his arguments, the only thing that these intellectuals and columnists must not stop doing, out of responsibility, is to persist. But the teacher already knows that.