Mireia Esteva – 15/4/2021
Javier Cercas, writer, in an interview with ‘Crónica Global’ / LENA PRIETO
Writer and graduate in Biology. Former PAHO consultant in Washington. She carries out management responsibilities in the Catalan Public Administration.
It could be said that one of the indicators of democratic health is the respectful behavior towards diversity of ideas and protection of minorities. Not only because of the existence of the laws that guarantee it and because of the behavior of those who, from their social positions, must exercise the example, also because of the respect of citizens for each other and the respect of citizens for their institutions and the people who represent them.
That is why democracy cannot be identified with the fact of voting from time to time. Democracy is something complex that tries to harmonize the set of rights and citizen duties, the protection of minorities and respect for the rules of coexistence.
Our democracy, based on the pact of the Transition, started from a general framework of tolerance, the Constitution of 1978, a framework agreed between forces of different natures and endorsed en masse by the citizens. In the context of this framework, Spanish society has been democratizing during the forty years of its development, progressively passing laws that recognize individual rights of citizens and civilized ways of arbitrating them, at the same time that the distribution of power was decentralized and developed the state of the autonomies.
But democracy is denatured if the same politicians who represent us, publicly engage with insults, instead of with the debate of ideas. Also, when public resources are not dedicated to the common good and are diverted for the use and enjoyment of the elites who have to manage it, even if this is done legally. It is also distorted, when from the same Catalan institutions it is affirmed that the independence movement represents the people of Catalonia, denying the Catalans who do not feel independentists something as basic as citizenship.
The situation becomes serious, when these behaviors end up affecting the daily life of citizens, dividing society itself, affecting coexistence and personal relationships and promoting harassment of citizens not aligned with the dominant ideas.
In recent days we have seen the harassment of the Catalan writer of Extremadura origin, Javier Cercas. Cercas has suffered a campaign of intimidation on social networks, by the independence movement, simply for the fact of not sharing its ideas, based on a video from two years ago, decontextualized. Cercas affirms that he will not leave Catalonia or keep quiet. Nor did the filmmaker Isabel Coixet leave, at the time when she, harassed by the independence movement, she could not even go out to walk the dog. But we have seen other cultural professionals, journalists, politicians, judges, businessmen and even anonymous citizens leave, fed up with neighborhood and media harassment or institutional tension.
In June 2019, when Ada Colau was invested as mayor for the second time, the councilors of Barcelona en Comú, when they crossed the few meters that separate the City Hall from the Palau de la Generalitat, heard how hundreds of people – summoned by pro-independence parties and entities- – They shouted “whores, sluts and bitches.” A few days ago, Colau left his Twitter account, claiming that: “On Twitter, insults, threats and harassment of women who do politics have become normal.” It was elegant In saying so, since this does not happen with all women, let’s say that political harassment of non-independent leftist women is also reinforced by “machismo”.
Paola Lo Cascio, historian and political scientist and professor at the UB, referring to the elections of February 14 in Catalonia and in relation to the pact signed by the pro-independence forces not to agree with the socialist PSC to govern Catalonia, said: “… looked at with a little distance, it is still very surprising and atypical in the panorama of consolidated European democracies that there are health cords not with respect to the extreme right – as in many places it is being done, with or without papers in between– but against a political force of the social democratic family ”. By the way, this historian, political scientist and leftist suffers profusely and systematically the harassment of the independence movement. The initial confidence of the independence movement in achieving its goals due to its own privileged situation – the dominance of public resources, the silence for decades of a large part of the Catalan population, the dominance of the media, the ability to organize itself and mobilization, or the use of a systematically fallacious and confusing language, more intended for emotional ascription than for sensible reflection – has become aggressive in the face of failure. Not only failure for not having achieved independence in the proposed time, it is also the ideological failure as the fallacies on which the independence argument was based were dismantled, one by one. Everything was going to be achieved, through the union of the independence movement, in a few months; the movement was peaceful; the independence base would expand; there would be an international movement of recognition, the Spanish government would not dare to intervene, etc. The reality is that we have seen physical violence in the streets and verbal violence in the networks. We have also seen that, progressively, non-independence voices have begun to speak and the harassment, initially suffered in silence, now dares to be denounced in public. Although the independence movement continues to call those who do not think like them fascists, the reality is that the left has been especially persecuted by the independence movement, as the previous examples show. Fascism is precisely the exacerbation of nationalism, synonymous with intolerance, single thought, an attempt to homogenize society and annihilate the adversary and minorities. Well, that, as the popular saying goes, “tell me what you boast about and I’ll tell you what you lack.” Obviously, the independence movement has the right to exist, precisely because we are in a democracy. But it is by no means admissible that, for the sake of their freedom, they harass those who do not think like them. For the sake of our freedom, these undemocratic and fascist behaviors have to be denounced. Our obligation, as democrats, is precisely to defend those who are persecuted and harassed for their ideas, as long as they defend them with arguments and with respect for others. Long live our brave fellow citizens who, even knowing the danger of being harassed, dare to express their ideas in public, because they represent the safeguard of plurality and the health of our democracy, continually threatened, precisely by stalkers who organize to persecute and insult those who do not think like them.