Friday, October 10, 2014

“The Process” by Artur Kafka (or was it Franz?)

The President of the Catalan government, Mr. Artur Mas, is leading a sustained campaign to hold a referendum about independence in Catalonia.
Some of the surrealist elements are similar to the Scottish referendum, like being in denial about sustained warnings by EU officials that any seceded country would have to apply for EU membership and that this would have to be approved by unanimity of all member states.
But other elements of surrealism are really original and unique. The question and the date of the referendum, for example, were agreed without any representatives of the no vote, before the legal framework for the referendum was established.
One of the arguments for independence, before July 25th., was that an independent Catalonia would have better institutional quality and no corruption. But that day the historical leader of the leading nationalist party, Mr. Pujol confessed to had been a tax evader during all his 23 year tenure as president of the Catalan government.
One of the members of the commission in charge of controlling the democratic quality of the vote resigned a few days ago before attending the first meeting because he said that the vote did not have enough democratic guarantees… and was immediately and brutally attacked in twitter by the mob.
Some of the slogans for the yes campaign of the non-legal referendum (this campaign has an official cost of 200,000 euros per week and is produced by an internationally prestigious agency) has slogans like these:
-"A country were the opinion of citizens is listened to”, as if we were now living in a deaf country.
-“A country with the school in Catalan”, which is something that has already been happening for the last 30 years without independence.
-“A country without corruption and budgets cuts”, as if the nationalists had not been at the forefront of corruption and budget cuts.
-“A country with open electoral lists”, as if Catalonia had not had discretion to pass its own electoral law at the regional level and refused to use it because the nationalists wanted to keep the Spanish system because it privileges the rural vote.
Lluis Llach, a retired singer (now also a wine-maker, novelist and friend of famous footballers) and one of the symbols of Catalan nationalism, argues that after Mr. Pujol’s allegations he even prefers independence more now, to “clean up.” And adds in an interview in newspaper El Pais that  he is a nationalist “to be able to be internationalist” (my translation, but please check if I am misinterpreting). Seriously.
FC Barcelona footballers Dani Alves and Gerard Piqué reproduce in politics their lack of coordination on the pitch. Piqué insists that Catalans should be allowed to vote (as if we had not voted around 40 times in the last 35 years) whereas the Brazilian Alves cautions that people should think twice about independence (I prefer not to imagine the bullying in the social networks after just expressing such doubts). I would have predicted that the always happy Alves would have been an exception among the many international friends of Catalonia who have refused to endorse independence in spite of the efforts made to achieve international support, but not even Alves…

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