The worst deafness

Date: 17.02.2015

Author: Salvador CardĂşs*

Source: Ara

Manifestacio

Worthy and deserving of recognition was the role of Oriol Junqueras in the interview-interrogation to which he was subjected last Saturday for almost an hour, on the Un Nuevo Tiempo (A New Time) show on Spanish television. The President of ERC showed his ability, which is substantial, for temperance in the face of some inquisitors who were more eager to demonize their interviewee, and with him the process of independence, than to learn anything. Oriol Junqueras responded clearly, without avoiding the subject or being aggressive, and with a saintly conciliatory will, to some questions that had an implied thesis that begged to be refuted rather than responded to.

The experience of this interview, however, and also that of Anna Pastor with Artur Mas on the eve of 9N and the various opinion articles from prominent players of Spanish political life, shows the depth of the psychological break between Catalonia and Spain. This is a rupture that is not a consequence of the sovereignty process of the past few years so much as it is a cause, which is more important than the cumulative effect of cutbacks in self-government, fiscal abuse, and aggressive acts against the Catalan language and culture. It now seems that what disgusts Spain is the hypothesis of independence. But there is sufficient repeated evidence that this antagonism began long before the independence process, as described in minute detail in works such as that of Josep Maria Ainaud de Lasarte, “El llibre negre de Catalunya” (The Black Book of Catalonia) (1995), or that of Francesc Ferrer i Gironès, “La persecuciĂł polĂ­tica de la llengua catalana” (The Political Persecution of the Catalan Language) (1985), or “Catalanafòbia: Història del pensament anticatalĂ ” (Catalanaphobia: A History of anti-Catalan thought) (2002), to say nothing of the just-published 850 page volume titled “VĂ rem mirar ben lluny al desert” (We looked far into the desert), which relates the presentations from the symposium directed by Jaume SobrequĂ©s, “Spain against Catalonia: a historic look (1714-2014)“.

From my point of view, it is of vital importance that the independence movement does not lose sight of this causal logic for the political rupture between Catalonia and Spain in the months remaining before the decisive date of 27 September. Beyond the promises of prosperity and justice, and the desire for a deep democratic regeneration, the extreme difficulty, if not impossibility, of a total reversal of what has been the secular logic of domination that the Catalan nation has been subjected to must be very clear. Because this is the crux of the matter.

I share the belief that, in the seven months remaining before 27S, the sovereignty movement must provide the explanations that were drowned out in the previous fight for the right to decide. It must explain that independence is an opportunity –not a guarantee– for more good governance and better social welfare for everyone, and it is essential to give a thorough and credible account of how to carry out this process without doing any harm, and of what guarantees are needed to minimize risks. Now, returning to the interview with Oriol Junqueras: if one thing was made clear, it is that this is not a debate that can be developed on an argumentatively rational and well-documented basis. The worst deafness is that of a man who refuses to hear, especially when what is at stake is the dismantling of a structure of domination built on an inequality of political dignity.

Tolstoy wrote that the most difficult issues can be explained to the simplest person if he does not have any preconceived ideas; but the simplest thing will not be comprehensible to the smartest person if he is firmly convinced that he already knows, without any shadow of doubt, what is hidden. Put another way: if we separate from Spain, it will not be due so much to disagreement and abuse, but above all to free ourselves from prejudice and submission.

*Sociologist, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

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