by Vicent Partal. Originally published in Vilaweb 26 May 2010
Zapatero says (audio) that the era of self-government is over. That we have reached the end. Wow! And who decided that? Him? Have we returned to an era of absolute monarchy and I didn't get the news? And in Zapatero's case, maybe he will change his mind again, but wow, wow, and wow...
What an attitude—that of the Spanish government's president—for the love of God. He says that the era of self-government is over, that it has reached its peak, and I suppose he hopes that his wish comes true. Just like that. Maybe he doesn't know that that's how emperors and absolutists monarchs worked in the past, but that Paris' guillotine ended that joke and the people became the sovereigns, little by little, and thus, the ones who called the shots.
Zapatero can not say this. Because it is up to us to decide if the era of self-government is over or not. When all is said and done, if he is now the president of the government it's because we voted him into office, and if we want to remove him from office, that's what we'll do. But who does he think he is? In a democracy, these big decisions are proposed and the people vote on them, they accept them, or they don't, but they are not announced as if it were a decree that must be followed. That is just not OK.
But perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised because, really, it's just like old times. Joan Fuster used to explain years ago the weariness with which a member of the anti-franco opposition received, in the middle of one of Raimon's concerts in Madrid, the claim to Valencian autonomy, made by the writer himself. "Come on, we'll give you autonomy one of these days..." he said, as if he could take it out if his (opposition) pocket and make us a present of it. They have no options, that's clear.