Beat the fascists. “If a beast appears in one corner of the ring, then something similar will inevitably appear on the other side, which is terrifying because Spanish nationalism has, historically, been far worse,” he says. Both sides, he insists, twist history to turn Spaniards against one another.
That is a controversial idea for those Catalans who recall the police violence that accompanied a banned referendum in October 2017. But, as an El Paíscolumnist, Cercas is not famed for biting his tongue.
The only antidote to this distortion of history, he says, is to understand how ordinary, even well-meaning, people were so easily misled by fascism: “What should we do with the bad parts of our history? Sweeten them? Hide them? Invent something else? Or should we learn about them and try to understand?”