Saturday, February 2, 2013

The gates of hell, by Vicent Partal

Originally published on VilaWeb, 2 February 2013. Translated by Jan Reinhart.

You’ve known me for years, so you know that I have always held that the only sensible course for your country and mine is independence. But you also know that what today appears inarguable was nothing of the sort five years ago.

Just the same, today I have a question. I ask myself if Catalonia set forth on the road to independence because it suddenly saw the light, or if it is that Spain is so clearly and obviously sinking that the Principality, as has happened so often in history, finally saw it five minutes before the others and got a move on.

Everything that we have lived through this week leads me to the second hypothesis. Spain is in free fall, covered in its own mud. They didn’t want to clean up the rot when Franco died, and now they are paying for it. Urdangarín, the royal house, the treasurer of the Partido Popular, the political barons (and how many of them are sons of illustrious Francoists!) passing around black envelopes as if nothing had changed, the businesses connected to the Official Bulletin of the State, the ridiculous infrastructure projects, the unmitigated contempt for the citizenry, the loads of money spent for no discernible purpose… Today Spain is a failed state, lost, wandering in its delirium of grandiosity. And who knows how much money has gone down the drain never to return.

We have corruption, too, of course. The laws are the same and the consequences of the same laws are the same. But the more that we compare, what is clear now is that Madrid is incomparable. Not because we might be better – we’re not – but rather because, in the Spanish State, the power, the real power, the one that makes major enterprises grow upon decree, that enriches itself in the revolving door of politics and economics, this great and enormous power is in Madrid. And it plays for Madrid.

In all this we are a bit irrelevant. And this matter, which seemed like a huge and insurmountable problem just four days ago, has now gone and opened wide the gates of hell. Under Madrid.

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