Originally published in Spanish: “La gran traición”. Javier Cercas. El País.
June 16th, 2019
In one of the chronicles of the trial of the “procés” [TN: The events that took place in 2017 with the goal of advancing the secession of Catalonia] published in this newspaper, Pablo Ordaz reports how, during a session of the court, the separatist witnesses «assume quite naturally that they speak on behalf of the totality of the people»: «Even if the polls say once and again that the independence vote is not majority, the narrative of the witnesses makes the other half invisible «. And he concludes: «The independence movement manages to fill every day the plenary hall with a part of Catalonia that is considered the whole».
That is the point. Jordi Pujol, the patriarch, formulated the central pact of democratic Catalonia: «Everyone who lives and works in Catalonia is Catalan». Hundreds of thousands of emigrants that arrived from all over Spain in the postwar period, very humble people in their immense majority, believed it; my parents also believed it, and raised their children accordingly. It is true that my mother, who arrived almost without studies, with more than 30 years and five children, does not speak Catalan, and therefore she is one of those people whom the current president of the Generalitat [TN: The regional government of Catalonia] called, in a memorable article, «carrion-eaters, scorpions, hyenas » and » beasts with human shape»; But my sisters and I are not like her. We not only live and work in Catalonia, but we also adopted Catalan customs, immersed ourselves in Catalan culture, learn Catalan until we became bilingual, married purebred Catalan people, educated our children in Catalan and even did our share to spread Catalan culture. It was all in vain. Although until the last moment we did our best to continue believing that we were Catalans, in September and October of 2017, when everything exploded, we learnt without a trace of doubt that we were not. Catalan, a proper Catalan, was from then on only those who wanted Catalonia to secede from Spain; those who did not, either because of sentimental attachment to Spain or because, like me, are completely incapable of understanding the virtues of the separation and consider it a reactionary and unjust cause against the mutual support, did not count as Catalans, at least for secessionist politicians. The flagrant proof of this is that such politicians systematically speak on behalf of Catalonia and consider that the Catalan problem is a problem between Catalonia and Spain, and not what it actually is: a problem among Catalans, more than half of which have said again and again, in all kinds of elections, in all ways possible, that we do not want a secession. That is why nationalism is incompatible with democracy: because, when it comes to choose between democracy and the nation, it always chooses the nation. For the separatist politicians in power, Catalans are not those of us who live and work in Catalonia, but only those who, in addition, are good Catalans, are loyal to the homeland and vote for the right things. The others are not Catalans, we do not count, we do not exist; it’s enough of delusions: we probably never were, we never counted, we never existed. This is what was hidden by the unanimous proclamations of the procés («Un sol poble» [“Only one people”], «Els carrers seran sem nostres» [“The streets will always be ours”]), the disciplined parades of each September 11th and the smile of the revolution of smiles: a huge betrayal.