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Orginally published in Spanish: «Cataluña, un solo pueblo independentista». María Jesús Cañizares. Crónica Global
3rd May 2018
Among the most perverse ruses of Catalan nationalism, the one coined by Josep Benet and embraced by Paco Candel stands out: Catalonia, one single people. If both an intellectual and a slum dweller embraced the concept, what could go wrong? Everything, as we have seen half a century later, notwithstanding the kindness of its authors.
If the expression became successful it was due to the need and official policy of integrating immigrants arriving in Catalonia from elsewhere in Spain. Stop! Integrating? Immigrants? No question, we have all fallen into the nationalist language trap.
Endlessly repeating that Catalonia has always been a welcoming land hides the hateful presumption that our parents and grand parents coming from elsewhere in Spain were a potential source for conflict. That a relation of equals was not possible but that the peaceful character of Catalans brought about social harmony. “They wanted their hands, but not their minds”, I read recently regarding the newly arrived that helped build Catalonia and who are nowadays branded as colonists by hardcore secessionists.
It was only a matter of time before “one single people” would transform into “one single language”. Protecting Catalan, a language proscribed by Francoism, was as just as it was necessary. Only a strictly pedagogical debate, without political priors, can determine if linguistic immersion was done right. The secessionist process propelled a latent supremacism that holds Spanish culture as barbaric and violent.
That Carles Puigdemont himself spread remarks in this sense on social networks after the recent Wolf-pack sentence reveals a lot about what he understands as “one single people”. It is also reprehensible that a political leader like Albert Rivera joins in on doxxing nine teachers accused of humiliating the children of policemen in Sant Andreu de la Barca (Barcelona). No one seems to remember that the are minors involved in this ordeal. One single people? I haven’t read a single sentence in support of those kids from the indignant secessionism that proclaims “one single people”.
The Catalonia fostered by secessionism is not pluralistic, nor mixed, not tolerant. Those who are different are signaled out with graffiti, insults and threats. Until very recently, you could distinguish between the radicals who resort to this type of attacks from the secessionists that defend their ideology by peaceful means. But Junts per Catalunya, ERC and CUP [the three secessionist parties with political representation -TN] recently decided to give free rein to the so-called Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) to practice their “activist pacifism”. Today, they will vote in the regional parliament on a proposal against criminalizing these groups, which pretty much blesses the delivering of scarlet letters to the heretics of secessionism.
The CDR have their work cut out for them though, because it turns out half of Catalans, according to electoral results, are not secessionist. Hence, there are many houses, political party offices and private cars susceptible of vandalization. The difference, and the hope at the same time, is that the victims of these attacks do not stay quiet anymore. This doesn’t mean that the social wounds from the process will heal anytime soon. Forty years of nationalist drizzle soak to the bone.