domingo, 15 de octubre de 2017

The lull before the storm

After Catalan president Carles Puigdemont announced on 10 October he wanted to negotiate with the Spanish government from a position of strength, granted to him by the public's desire to free itself from the medieval rule of Madrid, Spanish prime-minister Mariano Rajoy answered him with a question: have you now declared independence or not, because if not I can't send in the army and kill you. This is not a literal translation of his words, as I have stopped listening to Rajoy's illiterate and illegible mutterings a long time ago. His body language is so much more interesting. Since Puigdemont didn't give a straight answer – read his speech before parliament and it is absolutely clear what he meant – both parties granted themselves some time off to enjoy the mid-October long weekend, resulting from the infamous holiday of 12 October, when we celebrate the genocide of the American natives, falling on a Thursday. Tomorrow Monday though, it's back to action. There is a possibility talks have been going on behind closed doors, though much more likely is that Madrid has been preparing for intervention. This will be part bureaucratic through applying article 155 of the Spanish constitution which allows for putting an autonomous region under direct rule (as if that would make a difference from what we are currently experiencing), part militaristic. What Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional are capable of on a rainy Sunday we have already witnessed, now we shall know how far the army are willing to go. Considering the forces are headed by war minister Dolores de Cospedal, who was already campaigning for violent crackdown when our independence movement was only nascent and she a party secretary-general, no one should make themselves any illusions about her true desires. Only the so-called international community, consisting these days of the leaders of other independence movements and the Anglo-Saxon press, can stop her from going full force. Scroll down to read what I think of the repugnant hypocrisy of Europe's leadership.
Meanwhile in Barcelona people fear that Puigdemont might budge, as the media's five-minute attention span has been directed towards new, exciting events in Turkey, North Korea and USA. He knows what we want – to be legally separated from Madrid so that we can do business with Spain on equal footing instead of being treated as a colony – but he may fear the cost to be too high. Out in the street not many people share these concerns, yet the public in general seem to be quite innocent regarding the need for foreign support to the cause. It is widely believed just declaring the republic will be enough. But how will the 6,000 military armed police force still stationed over here react? And what about the many angry Spaniards living here, by decades of Madrid media brainwashing fooled into believing it is their god given right to beat up their Catalan neighbours for having a different point of view? I can't see them saying sorry and quietly going home. I need to add here that the majority of Spanish citizens here are not of this conviction, but a sizeable group unfortunately are.
And then there is the strange case of PSOE. We are at war with Partido Popular, the epitome of indecency in politics, but until recently we regarded PSOE as the face of reasonable Spain. Certainly after model turned politician Pedro Sanchez managed to stave off a right wing palace coup by the old guard and Andalusia's Susana Díaz, hopes of those who don't want independence yet suffer the consequences of Rajoy's disastrous rule in equal measure were pinned on Sanchez playing the role of wiser man of state bringing parties to the negotiation table. Alas, in times of crisis humans show their true colours and our man Pedro prefers to hide behind the prime-minister's back and making his party superfluous over admitting that Catalunya's grievances are understandable and legitimate and need to be addressed in a completely different manner. I am not sure if it would have made a big difference in the current climate, but it certainly would have positioned him as the next prime-minister of Spain. Now, he might as well go home. There is no reason for him staying in Madrid much longer.
Right then, with the contestants on their marks and the public having taken their seats, it's almost Monday and back to business as unusual. Keep returning for more.

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