Originally published in Spanish. Manuel Jabois. El Pais.
On Thursday October 26th, in Barcelona, Carles Puigdemont didn’t abort the declaration of Independence of Catalonia because he didn’t receive from the government guarantees that justice would respect his demands. Twice he wanted to announce elections and renounce his promise of following “the mandate of the Catalan people”; twice he backtracked for lack of what he called “guarantees” and that were exactly that: a guarantee that he was not a regular citizen with the same rights and obligations as any other, but someone with privileges due a position of strength obtained outside the law.
On Tuesday October 31st, in Brussels, Carles Puigdemont said that he wouldn’t return to Spain until he received “guarantee of a fair trial”. A week after negotiating an ad-hoc justice as an element of blackmail to the state, Puigdemont demanded a justice that didn’t depend directly on the Spanish government but was homologated by a deposed Govern, which should be consulted so that the trial has the guarantees required by its self-proclaimed president in exile.
To pay attention to the government when the government acts as you want, to heed the justice when it is at your service. Law is violence; breaking it, peace. The Govern set an example for the whole world when it deprived half of its citizens of their rights by imposing its majority over the law; the state shows “extreme aggressivity”, “maximum belligerence” and “institutional violence” when it restored the legality. The ex-president of the Generalitat is a pursued victim that looks for help in another country; Spain has a problem of “democratic deficit” when it insists on enforcing the Constitution that turned it into a democratic country.
Since seven years ago, when Mas warned that the Parlament would break the law when it started a constituent process, up to now that Puigdemont finished his work with the expected result (some gentlemen pretending to work in Barcelona while others in Brussels pretended they were not allowed to do so), the nationalists have always demanded “guarantees”. Guarantees that their situation was different, that their will would be respected over the will of others, that the parliament had to bend to their desires, and now the justice, and then anything else needed to play it safe, guaranteeing that they are never going to lose.
It is not enough to do whatever you want: the others have to recognize that you can do it. Therefore not even the responsibility of finishing off the opponent is assumed: the opponent is asked to execute himself. It would be a master move, if there was a master behind and millions of fools in front.