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October 20, 2019 / Congau

Doublespeak Catalonian

It’s extraordinary how cherished principles can change from one instant to the next. Without blinking the double speakers among us switch from one reality to its opposite, and we, the devoted listeners, are eager to believe them. What’s more, this is not happening in the apocalyptic world of 1984, but in our revived era of enlightenment.

Words change their meaning when transferred from one context to the next, from one area of conflict to another, between points of time. Sometimes the distance in time and space is so short that it takes a remarkably bad memory to be able to forget. We watch one exhibit and study it carefully. Then we turn our head to the next and have forgotten. Any resemblance between the two evaporates when the analytic sorcerers have made the spin.

Let’s make an experiment. Look at Western Europe. It’s a small continent. When eying the globe you hardly need to move your pupils to travel from north to south. Behold Scotland. It’s a small land and a part of an island. Some of those brave northerners wanted to split their island and make Scotland a state on his own. A plebiscite was held, hailed as a great exercise of democracy, and the voters decided to keep the isle intact. (A happy outcome, in my opinion.)

Now twitch your eye a trifle down the map and you will spot Spain. That peninsula also has its Scotland and it’s called Catalonia. There the stage seemed ready for another referendum and it took an army of spin doctors to explain why the two cases were different, but some of us still don’t get it. The Scots behaved civilized, they say, and cooperated in a democratic process, but the Catalonians were denied that process. The secessionists in Catalonia are a minority who are trying to force their will on the majority, they say. Very good, if that’s the case, give them their Scottish vote and their loss will silence them.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. We know that Madrid is scared and that Brussels talks in many tongues.

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