Inici Política i Societat Distant echoes | How the world views Catalunya

Distant echoes | How the world views Catalunya


The first casualty of war is the truth. In conflict, those in power project their violence onto those they wish to demonise. Clara Ponsati is accused of violent revolt yet nobody in the Guardia Civil, Policia Nacional or the Spanish government has stood trial for the violence on polling day. Most people in Britain, Ireland and the USA are shocked to see the actions of the Spanish paramilitary police but are unwilling to denounce such actions publicly. The BBC which prides itself on independent journalism has reported on the crisis with a strong pro-Spanish bias as has CNN and other American news stations. They only prioritise Catalonia if there is violence because the politics of the Spanish state does not interest them otherwise.

However, the BBC will publish extremely critical articles against Spain but not on its front pages. For example, the reporting of the trials of Puigdemont and Ponsati on the BBC have ridiculed the Spanish government and judiciary for their language of rebellion and sedition. It has also reported on one of the causes of the conflict which is the link to Spain’s Fascist past and present. Spain has the second most mass graves in the world after Cambodia. Almost 100,000 people from the Falangist dictatorship are still unaccounted for. As with any conflict, if there is no process of reconciliation that takes into account the war crimes of the past then those wounds will fester. As anyone who experienced the violence from the Guardia Civil will attest, ‘a pact of amnesia’ is a myth.

Spain is trying to negate Catalan democracy and subjugate it to the rule of Spanish law and does so without hiding the fact. However, the effect of this will reach long into the future. As I know in Ireland, if a sizeable number of citizens do not recognize the authority of the state or consider themselves discriminated against, the very future of that state is in question. The English learned the maxim of ‘killing resistance with kindness’ but only after centuries of trying to kill it with guns.

The repugnant scenes of Spanish triumphalism and jingoism over the treatment of Puigdemont is made even worse by the betrayal by the Spanish Left. What is puzzling about the PSOE is that they have the face to call themselves socialists when they support the atrocities committed by the PP. In the recent past, Spain has had an extremely advanced society in terms of national freedoms and women’s rights but the reality of those in power in Spain is one of betrayal to its past. The ‘pact of amnesia’ needs to be addressed or the conflict in Catalonia will be a catalyst for many more acts of brutality by Spain’s paramilitary police. Telling the truth is a revolutionary act indeed.