Infuriatingly peaceful

Spain’s decisions all appear to be designed to provoke a reaction that justifies a massive crackdown

Many years ago, a famous painter once told me that he had decided to go and live in Paris, since here there was too much light. The day was, as usual, cold and rainy, and his studio featured a sobrassada [a typical Majorcan sausage] and a large close-up of Picasso's eyes. Too much light! How can anyone think there’s too much light? I could never get my head round the concept. Until now. As each day passes, I appreciate more and more the bravery of the shades of grey, the nuances, those that use reason in spite of everything. I think this when I see the actions of the Spanish state and I see the cowardice of its servants in Catalonia, with their excesses and their absolute determination, free from doubt. Spain’s decisions all seem designed to provoke a reaction that justifies a massive crackdown, imposition, silence.

Each decision is designed to force the independence movement to speed things up and, if possible, to resort to violence —which Madrid would capitalise on abroad. The world looks on in astonishment at how Spain conducts politics with the help of truncheon blows in polling stations. The biggest victory for the independence movement, its only way ahead, is to continue with the reasoned, steadfast political debate and continue with the peaceful protests on the streets. To not give in to those who would wish to take the fight to the streets in the manner of the Kale Borroka [in reference to urban guerrilla actions carried out by Basque separatist youth].

The Spanish government is perplexed since it has always responded to difficulties with repression. However, in a democracy and within the EU, the legitimacy of coercion is severely limited. What will Spain do now? Does Rajoy really think that installing a viceroy to govern Catalonia and stifling its economy is a viable option without it coming back to haunt him? Does he really think the climate of fear will stop at the Catalan border? At what price?

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