Catalonia on my mind

By special request

The Mirror  was asked to re-post this

Letter to the policeman 8U5* (and to Felipe VI)

You took your baton out. You wound the strap very slowly around your wrist and told me to get back

ANTONI VIVES TRADUCCIÓ: PAULA HEATON UPDATED 06/10/2017 11:53

 

Dear 8U5*,

I don’t know your name or where you’re from. I don’t know if you’re married or have a girlfriend, whether you have kids, parents, brothers or sisters. I don’t know what it was like for you growing up, or what you’ve been through. I know very little about you, but what I do know is very profound: I know the color of your eyes, a soft brown, almost oak-colored: we looked each other in the eyes for quite a while. It seemed like an eternity to me. Did it to you too? It didn’t seem like it. You were smiling and insulting me under your breath, just like you had done with my daughter when you dragged her across the ground by her hair. Your smile is probably the same one you have when you kiss your mother’s forehead or your girlfriend’s lips. What I do know about you is your strength when you hit a defenseless person with your baton, just like you did to me all those times. You did it well, with great precision: my back, backside and arm are full of bruises and I have an open wound on one shoulder. You scratched me with something sharp that you had in your hand when I tried to protect myself. You did well, enjoying your job. You told me so, don’t you remember? I asked you whether you liked hitting defenseless people and you told me that you would hit our kind over and over again. Behind you, an officer from your unit like the one we asked to show us the court order. He said he would in a minute, but then gave the order for you to beat us. That brave officer behind you also smiled at us, daring us to go and get it. Meanwhile my wife, who was also hurt, picked my daughter up off the floor: she’d lost her glasses, they’d grabbed onto her nose, calling her a bitch and a slut… my daughter is twenty, she plays basketball, does volunteer work and studies international relations. What’s your daughter like? What does she do?

They all push you towards hatred, so much so that you end up dragging my daughter by the hair and go around the world showing a kind of Spain in which the king wants us all bound together

You did a good job, all of you. You enjoy it. You came in through the doors of the Dolors Monserdà school and left with three ballot boxes. You hugged each other. Some police officers gave us the finger. They did a really good job. Others – very professionally – still had time to beat up a few more. To keep the peace, I believe. Meanwhile, you looked at me and I looked at you. I came even closer to you so that we were almost touching noses. You took your baton out. You wound the strap very slowly around your wrist and told me to get back. You were then given the order to retreat and you stopped smiling. I felt absolute contempt for you, I must admit. And I’m sorry. You’d hurt me. You’d hurt my family. My friends. The people who, just like us, were queuing on the pavement in Barcelona in front of a school. Can you imagine that happening to you?

But I understand a bit better know, 8U5*, and I must do right by you: I heard king Felipe’s message. Just like you, he had a deep, cold look in his eyes. We know all about his public life and a bit about his private life. We know he was educated in the higher circles of Madrid. We know he has a strong military background. We know he likes sport. That he has a wife and daughters. That he’s had some serious problems at home. He sometimes comes to Catalonia, and he makes the effort to speak in Catalan (despite speaking English effortlessly). The king was regrettably unfair with those of us who went to vote to decide on our future, and he opened the door to the application of Article 155 of the Constitution. The king is scared, and he hid behind you, just like that same officer who taunted us. The king, who through his ill-fated father embodies the Democratic transition, epitomized the ultimate putrefaction the other day: talking about the Constitution when websites have been shut down, post intercepted, the freedom of assembly forbidden; when the order of a financial controller has practically blocked financial autonomy, when the additional articles of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy concerning investments in Catalonia have been repeatedly breached, when the government powers have made an explicitly more restrictive interpretation of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy than they do of the statutes of other regions; when linguistic immersion, the infamous pillar of our model of coexistence, has been declared anti-constitutional. Your hatred towards me, towards us, 8U5*, comes from above. That’s why I forgive you. They’re manipulating you. I understood this after hearing Alfonso Guerra talk about the Catalans. From primary school to police academy; from your officers to king Felipe himself: they all push you towards hatred, so much so that you end up dragging my daughter by the hair and go around the world showing a kind of Spain in which the king wants us all bound together. I pity you and I forgive you, 8U5*. Let’s have lunch, whenever you like. Cheers!

Now it’s our turn, Catalans, to tread carefully. Just read what the world has to say. Don’t let our rashness turn us into traitors.

http://www.ara.cat/en/antoni-vives-letter-to-policeman-and-felipe-VI_0_1882611851.html

 

                                                The Mirror  Comments

1) This is not just for the people in Catalonia. It is for everyone everywhere who has ever faced police violence while demonstrating peacefully and for prisoners everywhere who are subjected to the harassment and violence of prison officers.

2) What are constitutions for? Why did countries across Europe demand Constitutions in the 18th and 19th centuries?  

Because they were a means of limiting the powers of Absolute Monarchs and guaranteeing people’s rights

Constitutions are evolving documents – look at how many Amendments there are in the US Constitution

The Spanish government’s “legalistic”argument that Spain’s Constitution is “untouchable”means nothing

Queries: In 21st century Europe, are the victims of undemocratic government who are deprived of the means of political remedy by Constitutional means, to be allowed to do nothing but suffer patiently?

When they line up peacefully  in streets and polling stations to exercise their right to vote, i.e. write an X upon a piece of paper is  all that illegal? The Spanish State may well state the referendum was illegal. What the Catalans did certainly wasn’t – when we consider one action at a time. 

Must they then  stand by and watch as they are beaten up by police, their parliament is suspended, their entire region threatened by annihilation if Spain activates Art 155 of its Constitution?

 

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7 thoughts on “Catalonia on my mind

    • Save your tears for the victims, there is a certain type of person, let’s call them Fascists for the sake of argument, who simply can’t be reasoned with. And although I regard the use of force as the very last final resort, sometimes, sadly, it must come to that. No one afaik is obliged to become a hard-line cop. They choose the job because kicking the shit out of other people appeals to them. They are quite beyond reason.
      An image seems to keep coming to mind. The bodies of Mussolini and his mates, hung upside down from a garage forecourt. That is the only reasoning they understand, I’m afraid. So until the last Spanish royal is strangled with the entrails of the last fascist policeman …
      And this from someone who is normally a activist pacifist … but everything has its limits.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I believe the people of Catalonia, by their passive resistance, have assured a rapid Catalan independence. Spain’s government and royalty destroyed any chance they had of retaining Catalonia as a Spanish autonomous region.
    The Catalans are a brave and honest people.

    Liked by 2 people

    • True indeed … but are they just to sit there and be abused and walked all over, literally as well as figuratively? When their autonomy, such as it is, and their institutions are abolished it will be a little too late. Where is the support from the EU, NO FUCKING WHERE! What about all the small nations of Europe, many like the Baltics only recently freed from foreign domination? But then even if they paid lip-service to Catalonia, what use would that be against a regime and its bully-boys who couldn’t give a shit what anyone thinks … just so long as they have their bit of fun … hey?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Where is the support from the EU, NO FUCKING WHERE!”
    I think quite a lot of mediation is going on behind the scenes –
    pointers are 1) the apology that was issued by the Spanish authorities about the violence . Though it was admittedly along the lines of the usual bullying “you made me do it”

    2) the Catalan president has put off Monday’s Parliament meeting (banned in any case) until Tuesday – he’s obviously in a wait and see mode for the moment, even though the Catalan Parliament has a mandate for Independence .

    3) Spain has to recognise the Catalan independence movement is legitimate simply because it obviously exists. Spain’s Government and King Felipe VI simply calling it illegal and refusing to sit down at a table and talk is counter-productive. And it’s an attitude that will only lead to further violence and “Ulsterization” of the issue

    4) There must be genuine grievances if Catalonia wants to secede. Spain can’t just say “No, they count for nothing”

    5) Refusal to support /mediate/ set up a dialogue with the Catalans does give the lie to the famous EU “subsidariety” principle doesn’t it?

    6)The EU, by threatening not to recognize an independent Catalonia, also creates a risk of being seen as denying the rights of Catalonians as European citizens.

    7) Allowing EU states to beat up EU citizens is hardly a good “image” for an organization that sets itself up as a beacon-holder of human rights etc worldwide. Talk about hypocrisy
    So like i said I think there’s probably quite a lot of talking going on behind the scenes.

    “a regime and its bully-boys who couldn’t give a shit what anyone thinks ”
    I think that was the problem with Spain’s 1978 Constitution. It was designed for a “smooth transition” but did not clear Franco supporters out of the State institutions and Public life or revise and modernise/democratise procedures, training, etc. Then people were so glad to have got rid of Franco’s dictatorship they probably would have signed up to anything reasonably democratic-looking. 40 years later Catalans are starting to demand more and so the Old Guard cracks down.

    I repeat I also think it’s a monarchy vs republic issue – though perhaps not apparently the major one at the moment

    Marconatrix – I should have made another post out of this reply to your observations!! It’s got very long indeed!

    Like

    • Ha! Well I appreciate the trouble you’ve gone to. I admit I was rather “off on one” when I wrote. I was taken aback by the way the EU appeared to approve of Madrid’s actions, and surprised to find myself agreeing with the UKIP MEP’s who seemed to be the only ones speaking out! I can’t be alone in having to seriously evaluate whether the EU is really the Good Thing I thought it was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The EU is a good thing on the whole – it’s not perfect – it makes its mistakes – it has been thrown off-track by austerity and neo-liberalism. As soon as we all manage to throw off those shackles we’ll all be in a better place!

        Liked by 1 person

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