El desencanto independentista

Dejo aquí el último Podcast de El Búho, recién salido del horno. Hablamos de cómo están afrontando el fracaso del viaje a la independencia los dirigentes y partidos que lo organizaron.

Con José García Domínguez, Eugenia Gayo y yo misma.

Podcast (copiar en el navegador): http://www.ivoox.com/22108044

 

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155+21D, la receta contra el golpe

En este Podcast de El Búho hablamos de los dos instrumentos empleados para parar el golpe separatista catalán: la aplicación del artículo 155 de la Constitución, que ha conllevado el cese del Govern autonómico y la asunción de sus competencias por el Gobierno central; y la disolución del Parlament y la convocatoria de elecciones en Cataluña el 21 de diciembre.

¿Ha sido la respuesta adecuada? ¿Es demasiado pronto para convocar elecciones autonómicas? ¿Había otras opciones mejores? ¿Y si los partidos independentistas  vuelven a tener mayoría de escaños?

Además: cómo son las querellas presentadas por la Fiscalía, las dudas sobre la existencia de un delito de rebelión y la rocambolesca fuga a Bruselas del ex president Puigdemont y varios miembros del Govern cesado.

Para escuchar el podcast,  con José García Domínguez, Eugenia Gayo y yo misma, copien en su navegador:

http://www.ivoox.com/21785401

 

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El Búho: La batalla del relato (podcast)

 

Dejo aquí el enlace al último podcast del programa El Búho,  espacio de reflexión y análisis con José García Domínguez, Eugenia Gayo y yo misma. Los últimos podcasts los encontrarán en el mismo lugar, en Ivoox.

Cataluña: La batalla del relato: http://www.ivoox.com/21565803

 

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Barcelona, 8th of October

Barcelona, 8th of October

By Cristina Losada

I never imagined that I would attend a demonstration where I would shout: “This is our police force!”. Neither would Isabel or Elena, from Barcelona, whom I was with, ever imagine having their picture taken with a policeman, with a cop! A young national police officer behind the police station of Vía Laietana was witnessing, in an emotional state, from his two meters of height the continuous passing of people that were shaking his hand while telling him “you are not alone” and were taking photographs with him. What else could they do after they had been called “animals”, after they wanted to evict them like unscrupulous people would treat dogs, after their kids had been harassed at their schools, after they had been called “occupying forces”. All of this, because of a single reason, they were the representatives of the law.

I do not think anyone could have imagined what they were going to see in the centre of Barcelona on Sunday the 8th of October. On Thursday, when I realised I had to be there and managed to get a train ticket, all I knew was that I wanted to be there. I didn’t know much more after the thirteen and a half hours of train journey separating Vigo from the square of Urquinaona. Except for the fact that we were living one of those rare moments that are called historical moments.

But, how was history going to be weaved in the streets of Barcelona? Would we miss the opportunity to say “this is enough!”? What if this call, almost without notice and summoned by a small and resourceless organization, ended up with just a few thousands of “botiflers”? (this minority of resilient members of the resistance that have for some time now deserved this -in their case – noble title of traitor).

It was ten o’clock when, while having breakfast in Paseo San Juan, we saw the first people’s flooding in. They came from the tube and train station. Trains were arriving full of people most of them wrapped in their Spanish flag, carrying it folded around an improvised mast or already flagging it. Those who were also carrying another revolutionary flag in this city that has now been taken for years by the “esteladas(1): the “senyera(2) weren’t just a few. It seemed the smooth breeze was meant to be.

A couple of buses stationed near us and more people with flags got off. I did not know where they were coming from, but I assumed that, as me, they were the “foreigners” whose arrival was being denounced by the separatists. The demonstrators are “not from here”. Grandad Llach had asked the night before to those who are still listening to him to stay at home on Sunday not to see the aliens invasion that was to come. How scary!

“They are not from here” has always been the motto of the separatists. Hence, it was clear that those of us who came from other places of Spain for the 8-O were not going to “integrate ourselves”. Integration is demanded to all that come from outside, to those who “are from outside”, even if they have been here all their lives, to those who are not from here, even if they have been born here. However, “integration” in what exactly? In what must a Spanish citizen in Catalonia be integrated?

The devout separatists that did not follow Llach’s advice and went out on Sunday in Barcelona must have been rather shocked. They must have not recognized the city as, simply put, it was no longer theirs: it stopped being their exclusive property. They mustn’t have recognized the strange species that wandered the streets. They were not aliens, fascists, freaks (well perhaps one or two of those, so what?). Those who wandered the streets in Barcelona were the most unrecognizable species for a nationalist, they were citizens. No matter if they were from Sabadell or Lugo: the citizen, for a nationalist, is always “from outside”.

On our way to Urquinaona we saw more and more of them. More citizens. More constitutional flags. More home-made banners. A young man with long curly hair came towards us and as an introduction he said “I have never done this. You are José García Domínguez and Cristina Losada, aren’t you? I follow you”. He introduced himself, we shook hands and he left,  but by then Alex had said something that was etched in my memory: “I have never done this before”. Because this was the same for all us there. We had never done anything like it. Nothing like this had ever been done in four decades in Catalonia.

It must have been half past eleven when all became clear. There was such a crowd in Urquinaona and surrounding areas that it was not possible to walk. When we realised our number, we all wanted a panoramic view that was only, and partially, available to those taller than meter and ninety centimetres. Near the traffic lights, on the pavement, there was a stand just taller than a meter height. People were trying to climb over to see how many of us were there then. An elderly gentleman, walking stick in hand, tried to climb it. Luckily, his wife dissuaded him.

Half an hour later but only a few meters away, as we were moving at the pace of a tortoise, there were two young lads on top of another stand with Spanish flags and punk hairdos having a chat. One of them had dyed his short and spiky hair in red and yellow. The sun started to burn. A lady and her husband sought the shade of some bushes. We started to chat. “They have gone too far”, she said. “We had to do this”.

The more you looked around, the more differences you could see. Ages, social classes, styles. Everything was different but there was something in common. Something in common and worthy whose symbol was bore by many and it was the key and urgent reason of us being there. That common and worthy thing was Spain.

At one o’clock, turning into Vía Layetana we could see the panoramic view down street from a small promontory on the pavement. Packed. Up to the sea. From a portable stereo came the rhythm to sing: “¡Lolololololo, que viva España!“. Manolo Escobar’s song was an urgent antidote for separatist’s protests with pots and pans. We did not know the lyrics but it was sung nonetheless, as the national anthem was hummed, although Escobar’s one made a better hit and had more connection with the festive atmosphere of that people’s gathering. We were not there to be sad.

Groups of youngsters having outbursts of laughter went by. What irreverences and heresies were they unleashing from their loudspeakers? It is a shame I could not hear them. Good mood was reflected in their faces though as, despite the seriousness of the occasion, we are not known to be a damp squib; we are who we are. Good humour and creativity was in the banners, so varied and individual, hand-made and exhibited in the complete disorder and explosion of creativity that the 8th of October was. We may fail in other things but we give our best improvising. Sometimes, disorganisation brings out the best in us.

“We are not IKEA nor is this your house to proclaim an independent republic”, said the banner that a smiley girl was carrying. Before, I saw the one carried by Roger: “I only watch TV3 when Arcadi Espada is there”. Some of the banners were real manifestos. A man was carrying as a sign a photo of a magazine with Kennedy and some text of one of his speeches. A girl with blue finger nails had drawn a heart with the Catalan and Spanish flags and the words “All united”.

There were people coming out to their balconies amidst celebration. Like the one of a grandmother and her granddaughter (we assumed) that were watching the demonstration from a balcony decorated with the Spanish flag at the beginning of Vía Layetana. By the way, it was mentioned that many “esteladas” flags had disappeared from the buildings from one day to another. In the flat next door, one with a large balcony, there were half a dozen people waving flags and even umbrellas with the Spanish flag. In front of this, in a huge rooftop terrace of an old building I first saw a man shaking a red towel and shouting to the demonstrators. I wondered what he was saying. After a short while, from that same wonderful rooftop they deployed lots of Spanish flags. They had just bought them. Cheering and ovations followed from the street.

The chants that were called out were not continuous and they would follow one another viva voce from here and there. Not of all them would succeed. However, the most successful and vehemently repeated was: “prison to Puigdemont!” It seems that Borrel did not like this and scolded people a bit. Come on, no need to be so sensitive. After all that has happened, after all that the nationalists and separatists have done. Moreover, after all that the ones that should have opposed this haven’t done. Scold your own party, Mr Borrel. Go and scold the absentee Iceta.

Incidentally, I would like to tell Borrell what a lady told me at the beginning of Vía Layetana. Her whole family was there. They caught my attention because her daughters, two teenagers, had incredible voices. The mother looked intensely to me and then said with the same intensity: “We are well pissed-off. They think they are the only ones in charge. What about us?”.

This was the most accurate manifesto I could find in the massive citizens gathering of the 8th of October in Barcelona. This was the summary of what had happened and what was still happening. This is why we were there. So, that those who believe that Catalonia is theirs, that them and only them are the ones in charge, could clearly see that this is not the case.

It was necessary to do what had never been done to see if the nationalists stopped doing what they have always been doing. The Catalonia that has been exiled from the public sphere has come out. The Catalonia that was muted and silent has spoken out. Nothing will go back to how it was. It will be best if they understand this. This is it, they are not in charge.

 

 (1)esteladas”: it means starred flag. It is Senyera with a white star superimposed on a blue triangle at the top. It is an unofficial flag waved by supporters of Catalonia’s independence from Spain.

(2) “senyera”: the official flag of Catalonia

* Originally published in Spanish with the title “Barcelona, 8 de octubre” on 10th October 2017 in:

http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/cristina-losada/barcelona-8-de-octubre-83387/

Translated by Laura Cano Lérida

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A selfie with ETA

A selfie with ETA

Cristina Losada*

 

 

 

 

What do they like about Otegi? I am asking those who during the separatist demonstrations on the day of “Diada” approached him smiling to have a selfie taken with the former leader of ETA whom is still unrepentant of the crimes of this terrorist organization. Moreover, as Secretary-General of Sortu, he is there, in the separatist demonstration, for being this: an unrepentant terrorist. He would not be the chief of the successors of ETA if he had rejected or declared repulsive this criminal legacy. Therefore, I am asking those dazzled with the guest of honour to the separatist show what it is that they find so admirable in him. Perhaps his membership in ETA during its bloodiest years? His lack of condemnation, repentance or help to solve the over 300 assassination cases still pending for justice?

The admiration shown for Otegi was not exclusive to those that could find an excuse in their young age and ignorance. There were grey-haired people amongst the ones shaking his hand and having a selfie with him. Indeed, it is possible that some people may be delighted to have their picture taken with a celebrity no matter who, and that this fascination for the celebrity takes them to lose face for having a photograph with a serial killer that has been on the telly. I am considering. I do not rule out such stupidity in this case.

I wonder if the enchantment with Otegi comes from his background amongst ETA gunmen or from the laundering of this background that he himself, his people and others have been doing. A laundering that goes as far as presenting Otegi as a providential man that put a stop to that killing machine. They are not just whitening his past, they are sanctifying him.

The selfies with him requires a psychological study, but him being invited by the organizers must be understood as a political act. This was a sign of friendship and complicity with the successors of the terrorist organization. I do not know if it was deliberate, it looks like it: this has coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Hipercor attack, the biggest slaughter in ETA’s history. Twenty-six people dead and forty-six injured. It was the 19th of June 1987 in Barcelona. They placed 27 Kilograms of ammonal and 200 litres of flammable liquids. The Spanish Audiencia Nacional explained it like this:

A ball of fire burnt everyone in its path and at the same time created a large amount of toxic gases that asphyxiated those in the vicinity. Several people were atrociously burnt and mutilated and had no possibility of escaping the black smoke and flammable materials adhered to their bodies as the composition of the explosives was such that made these materials impossible to peel off and to extinguish them as their auto-combustion did not require from the atmospheric oxygen.

At that time, Otegi had been in the terrorist organization for about ten years. Otegi joined ETA when Franco’s dictatorship was almost finished. He belongs to those that developed their criminal careers against democracy. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of the attacks and assassinations of ETA took place while in a democratic regime.

This year 2017, the one of the 30th anniversary of the slaughter in Hipercor, Otegi wrote on twitter that he shared “the pain of the victims” and that “it should have never occurred”. Perhaps this was to prepare his landing in the demonstration of the “Diada”. He did not write for example: “We should never have put that car-bomb nor any other”.

“It should never have occurred”. There is no subject. No one is responsible. Nothing new either can be found in Otegi’s so-called condolences. After the attack in Hipercor, ETA sent a press statement saying that they had made “a serious error” and this was followed by another one from Herri Batasuna where they lamented “the high price in human lives and injured people that this tragic accident had generated”. Accident. They use the word accident because the warning call, that gave a wrong time for the explosion, was not followed by the evacuation of the supermarket, and hence they make responsible the company and the police.

The shock caused by this slaughter forced ETA, and its political wing, to that unheard of and brief self-criticism. It was so brief though, that six months later they committed another slaughter. A car-bomb killed eleven people, six of them under-aged in a home barrack of the Guardia Civil in Zaragoza. Needless to say, neither ETA nor its political wing lamented the cost in human lives of those attacks nor any of the ones that killed army personal, policemen, civil guards, including their relatives, those unfortunate bystanders and so many others.

TV3 with fine judgment to select its guests made the most of the presence in Barcelona of such a prominent actor in this terror history to interview him. Those involved in this program mentioned in social networks that they had had a great time with him. A friendly chap with whom to have a laugh and take some selfies. When they took their photographs with him the Catalan separatists have photographed themselves. Not a very flattering photography.

Following Batasuna’s press release regarding the “accident” of Hipercor, La Vanguardia editorialised: “The press release that we all have had to read exceeds outrage and causes us something deeper: disgust”. Old hat. Nowadays, Otegi can walk like a rock star in Barcelona, the same place as that and other slaughters. Not even the fact that terrorism, in its jihadist form, had just used its scythe in this city made his hosts and admirers ask him about his past. A past, and this is the key point, that is still part of his present.

*Originally published in Spanish with the title “Un selfie con la ETA” on 13th September 2017

in: http://www.libertaddigital.com/opinion/cristina-losada/un-selfie-con-la-eta-83158/

Translated by Laura Cano-Lérida

 

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