My name is Ale Fernandez. I live in Barcelona, Spain and I'm Chilean and Italian.
I am a web developer, artist and technical researcher.
I've lived in Scotland, Italy, Spain and England and career-wise I am interested in distributed systems and their applications to improvised performance and ecology.



Democracy 1, Nazism 0

I wonder what image of respect the national guard wanted to bring to Catalan people when they rode in from all across Spain to punish and repress this province with fantasies of emancipation. We saw Nazis from across spain, posting on social media in their home towns and waving their flag and singing that one song they all know from some kind of tourist ad for Spain.

( Did the Catalan right wing argue with the Spanish right wing and they just couldn't co-habit any longer the space where you divide up all the riches? )

Those police came dressed in their black gear, allowed by the state to beat people of all kinds - including if in old age or children, or to use that kind of violence that you dish out when you think people just aren't worthy of any respect. I wonder if the national police have debates as to whether people in the repressed provinces are actually human or not.

From around 9am this morning, national police descended on the unarmed civilian population attempting to vote and defend that right. They attacked people while they were reviving someone with a heart attack, they threw people down stairs and out of a building, they broke a girl's fingers one by one, sexually abused her, laughed at her and beat her up, just because she was defending the older people they had been hitting before. Why does this have to happen in our children's schools? Maybe because as migrants our lives matter even less than those of voters even in illegal referendums, and maybe it helps me at least create a hierarchy of values that I think helps me understand how those people in guadalajara could cheer so much their valiant troops of national police going out to protect the mother land. How could they wish that on people. Did they want to have Catalan children spend a night they will never forget, where they stayed with their parents in their own schools, spoke to neighbours and had strangers bring them food in solidarity, where they defied all authority and posturing, showing a rebellious, stubborn spirit and then seeing it beat up so violently, when they were hit with batons - together with their parents, their neighbours and even their councillors and council staff. Did the Spanish police really want to show these children that?

We can include it in school tomorrow, when the children from countless schools have to walk in past all the remnants of that violence. We can have a whole lesson on police repression and about what happens when you value a nationalist sentiment more than the life or well being of another human being. Perhaps now, Catalan history will include these lessons.

If so, then we can learn that those cheers, that waving and celebrating of violence, the way how those national guards were all dressed in black and with hooded faces, but who although are armed and organised aren't of course terrorists, but we can at least agree from today that they are an occupation force. The batons teach that despite all the apparent existence of regional languages and customs, no: here we need a blanket one size fits all spanish nazi identity, drummed into people through fear and violence. That's called an invading force, which is kind of a counterproductive concept for the people sending it out as a national force to supposedly pacify a province.

Maybe those kids who went to sleep in their schools across Catalonia to defend their polling booths, went to sleep in a province of Spain, and woke up in what will now always be a land which Spain has merely occupied, but that is now being defended.

So thank you Rajoy and the Spanish government of the ruling PP party, for validating this referendum with each injustice and baton strike. Did you know you were giving out citizenships? Thank you also for getting even migrants and anarchists living across catalonia to support their basic human right of expressing whatever opinion they feel. Even if they want something antiquated like a republic, when they could go for something so much more daring or fair.

You actually forced us to support it even if we hate Catalan nationalism just like any nationalism, because they were defending themselves with hands in the air against sticks and rubber bullets from these police who would grope a woman, break all her fingers, hit and laugh at her, for defending the older people in a school who were being beaten by those police. What it's created is the memory in all these children's hearts of when they stopped being a province of spain and began celebrating their independence: October the 1st was historic, because of the spanish state, and the cheering masses of Guadalajara.

I hope somehow negotiation is still possible, and doesn't have to put children in schools with reports of roaming bands of nazis (yes the cheering nazi masses also boarded busses and came over directly to beat up catalans, migrants, democracy signs and anything or anyone that stood in their way), and of belligerent armed organised police, all coming to beat them all up. In some ways this was about finding the martyr so you can make a scene, in which case bringing children was a responsibility of both the spanish and catalan governments. I thought the worst case scenario would have been an incident where a spanish nationalist or a police man got hurt, so that Rajoy could clamp down with anti terrorism law on catalans, so actually this is a lot less than I'd expected when looking up home made pepper spray and tear gas remedies and remembering Istabul, Teheran and other capitals across the world who awoke in the morning with a smell of tear gas from their windows. Even though, it's very upsetting and shocking to see so much violence in one day.

Of course I'm not trying to say all spanish people are nazis, and there are even some spanish right wing extremists  in catalonia, and many people, especially from Murcia and Ireland got in touch to wish me the best through the day. It was a very tiring day, cooking for all the people helping at the schools, then running around trying to find visiting reporters and friends, meanwhile keeping track of the situation in the schools in case they needed support. I feel across Spain there are also other strong regional identities and a feeling also of lost cash and injustice to a known oligarchy when paying tax to the Spanish state.

Apparently Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has suggested a Spanish confederacy and I really want to know more about it if it means a brotherhood of provinces each at the same level. I think these are more profound and equitable questions requiring answers, than simply "do you want independence" and going each on their own path and separating rich region from poor without any further contact, in a rushed divorce.

A new agreement or relationship among provinces would find much more of a majority across Spain if the entire country was able to vote in a similar way to Catalonia. Rather than only Catalonia becoming independent, all of Spain would. Paperless people, or people who might be living here with less of a cultural connection to catalonia, could also participate more fully in a confederacy than in a nation state as they are not absolutist in terms of what you should feel you are, only on your shared responsibilities in cohabiting. If you're nationalist, and it's 2017, it's a way of saying nazi, and it's a way of saying loser: you don't respect or probably even know your own culture, and you're not able to negotiate or understand those around you. But I'm convinced even the nazis have an inner regionalist who cares for those around them and not in far away ideals and theories.

1 comment:

amias said...

Glad you are safe and well. As always you have a refreshing insight. It is inspiring to see such excellent resistance to the facists , Spain has surely damaged itself more than the individuals it has ordered beaten. The challenge now is for Catalonia to avoid nationalism and keep the voice of its people at the fore. Certainly interesting times.

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