Luis Caldeiro – Journalist and cartoonist – 8 October 2020
The Catalan “Process” has lasted eight years. Eight years that seem like an eternity. In fact, I no longer remember how it all started or what life was like before it. And against the doomsayers who preach its death, I contemplate how, despite the Pandemic and its Cainite divisions, it consolidates (and even improves) its good electoral health, year after year. Everything ended in disaster? It does not matter. They cheated because independence was not “at hand”? Nothing happens. They divided a country practically causing a “cold civil war”? They don’t care. They covered their mismanagement, their rampant corruption with the “processist” maneuver? What do they care?
The “Procés”, in an exercise of the Phoenix, stretches its useful life indefinitely, like chewing gum, always generating new slogans, new grievances, new metastases. I suspect that, even if she dies, the “Procés” will be eternal: parents will tell their children, that they will tell their grandchildren, that one day they defied the State by going to vote. And for this they were beaten by outsiders armed with truncheons. October 1, 2017 is already a date that the independence movement has incorporated into its saints at the same level and dignity as September 11, 1714. On the one hand, September 11 and Felipe V; on the other, on October 1 and Felipe VI. And in the background, the same foreign enemy and the same scapegoat: the Catalan people. The temptation of continuity, of symmetry, is too strong.
But in all this canonical story there is something that does not add up: who commemorates October 1 is only half of Catalonia. The half that has been a historical subject during these last eight years. The one that has assumed the voice, the right, the hegemony. Catalonia country-synecdoche, where a part represents the whole. And the other half, why is it silent?
There are many factors, I suppose, but I venture one that we could call the complex of the poor: the minimization of the immigrant coming from the rest of Spain who has been inoculated, even unconsciously, with the feeling that their presence in Catalonia – which in the end is a piece of your own country, of your own land – is considered as a guest. A mentality that can also be inherited, making itself present in the second generations. Unless, of course, the personnel surrenders to the story imposed by those who, as Ernest Maragall proclaimed in the opening session of the current Parliament, consider that “this country (Catalonia) will always be ours”. In such a case, you are allowed to become a full member of the community. Be that as it may, the strange silence of this half of Catalonia reminds me of those words of Albert Camus in his work “The Rebel Man”: “to be silent is to let people believe that nothing is being judged, and, in certain cases, not really wanting anything . Despair, like absurdity, judges and desires everything, in general, and nothing, in particular. Silence translates it well ”.
However, everything has a limit. And even that mute half, subjected to the formidable blackmail of the nationalist narrative (“if you are not like me, you are not Catalan; if you are not like me, you are a fascist”), can get fed up. And so, on October 8, 2017, five days after the umpteenth demonstration of visible Catalonia -this time against police action on day 1-, went out en masse to the streets to denounce a referendum that felt alien, cheating and illegitimate , apart from illegal. And as expected, the priests of the independence movement rush to bite the prey: Gabriel Rufián, on Twitter, denies the Catalan presence of the attendees (“today we have learned that the famous silent majority is not a majority, it is not silent nor it is Catalan” ). And in the same social network, Lluís Llach goes even further and, prefiguring Torra, relegates them (relegates us) to the animal condition: “tomorrow let’s leave the streets of Barcelona empty. That the vultures do not find food ”.
That absent, fearful or unaware half of Catalonia came out of the identity closet on October 8, 2017. It did it in extremis, after enduring so many insults in silence, and when the situation had reached such a limit that doing nothing would have compromised his own being. But it did: it spoke. And, following Camus, “from the moment he speaks, even saying no, he wishes and judges. Man in rebellion, in the etymological sense, turns. He walked under the scourge of the master. Now stand up ”.
October 8: Let’s commemorate it too.