Thursday, October 12, 2017

And now, something different

I'm not familiar with a lot of historically tense situations that run the gamut from tragedy to thriller to comedy within the space of seconds, but the situation in Catalonia/Spain sure seems to fill it.

For those of you who missed the hilarity, the rogue leader of Catalonia, the man who orchestrated a guerrilla election that did surprisingly well given the complete opposition of the national government and the presence of tens of thousands of national police, the man who evaded arrest and brought Catalonia closest to independence it has been in a century, he gave a speech on Monday.
His speech was absurd.  His speech should be the definition of absurd double-speak.  It was a towering instance of ridiculousness.  In a single speech he declared independence but then delayed its implementation.  Confusion reigned.  Half of the press said that independence was declared, the other half said 'not independent.'  Wikipedia said that they had been independent for eight seconds. 

How confusing was the moment?  The Spanish government decided to give them EIGHT days to figure that shit out.  HO boy.  The national government that implied the Catalonians were threatening invasion and death has decided that they are so clueless that they get a week plus to think it through.

Imagine, if you will, that during the climactic scene in the Empire Strikes Back (spoilers), Darth Vader had stared at the son he had just disarmed and said, "I am your fath<cough>-far-<cough>-er"  Seconds pass.  Luke blinks, "you're my farter?"  He smiles because it is absurd.  The dramatic and thrilling culmination of dread and revelation are completely flubbed.  Even if Darth Vader gets it together and states his relationship clearly, it is too late.  He whiffed at the most critical moment.  That is cinematic equivalent of this moment.

How hilarious.  How pathetic.  How revealing.  Democratic government has limits.  We like to pretend that it does not, but it does.  And the ones with the guns and banks at the end trump those that do not.  Does anyone doubt that Spain would rather ruin Catalonia than see it leave?  That the EU wouldn't lift a finger against a Spanish crackdown?

But the true treat here is that the 'idealistic' crazies didn't get their heads cracked by police at the end or wave their flag at the end of the movie.  No, we got a treat.  The crazies went and slipped on a banana peel while the dramatic music soared. Hi-FUCKING-larious.


  1. Actually, I think it was a brilliant move. It kept the Spanish military in their barracks, and the independista's are not waging an insurgency. As long as the jaws keep moving and the bullets are not flying, the ledger is on the plus side.

    The Spanish civil war is still in living memory.

  2. Ael,

    What's the end state? An independent Catalonia? This thing is a farce. Catalonia cannot be independent unless it can fight off Spain and it is far from able to do that, that the whole thing is silly.

    It is entirely based on the 'ideal' of 'self-determination,' but without the necessary means to make that 'determination' reality.

    It is a better play than tragedy, sure. But it still looks like the Marx brothers to me.

  3. Ael has a point. If you are still talking, you are not shedding blood and not bleeding yourself.

    On the other hand, it is true that Catalan independence is just a dream. An old dream though, Catalans have been wanting their independence and rebelling since Roman times. They have never been considered Spaniards by the rest of the peninsula. They have always been regarded as a separate race by their fellow Spanish citizens. IIRC even Don Quixote disparaged them in Cervantes famous novel of 500 years ago. Aren't they descended from the Phoenicians, or Carthaginians?

    Puigdemont is a journalist and not a politician. He comes from the country side which is for the most part ethnically Catalan. That is not true in Barcelona, the city that comprises over 20 percent of the population of Catalonia. Because of industrialization there are many non-Catalans in Barcelona who had come for jobs. I would opine that most of those do not want independence.

  4. Well, either Phoenician or Greek? Hamilcar Barca? Or Hercules? But many sources say the Greeks stole the Hercules myth from the Phoenicians.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Don't we need some kind of filter? Can someone direct me to a site that shows how to set one up?

    1. I do moderate comments. It was necessary a while back when I had a multiple troll infection and now it helps keeping out those spammers and occasional proposals for genocide or ethnic cleansing in the comments. SAD!

    2. I deleted it. Moderating comments is a good idea. I don't have the time and don't think any of the other bartenders do either.

  7. I think it's worth distinguishing the idea of ethnic or regional groups wanting separation from the larger nation-states that contain them from this particular farcical episode.

    The desire of many Catalans to be not-Spanish is anything but farce. As we've seen from Bosnia to Sri Lanka, the outcome is as likely to be tragic when the comedy runs thin.

    With the Iraqi Kurds and the Shiite government now exchanging artillery rounds...I'm kinda fine with Spain and Catalonia exchanging derps instead...

  8. Southern Yemenis in Aden are demonstrating for independence from the north. They are waving the old PDRY, Peoples Democratic Republic flag which was superceded in 1990. Plus some are holding up Catalan and Kurdish flags in support of independence in those countries also. So not all Arabs are anti-Kurd.

    Biafra is demonstrating for independence also. I hope they don't face the same horrible fate they did in the civil war of the late 60s when two million children and the aged died of malnutrition. Nigeria, like Iraq, is another country whose borders were bollixed up by the Brits without any thought of the different ethic groups. Plus in the civil war of the 60s oil and religion was a big factor - a la Kirkuk.

  9. FDChief -

    PS, congrats to the Thorns! Were you and your ladies in Orlando for the game?

    And when do you OhReeGunners get to host a championship game in Timbers Stadium?

  10. Now that the IA/Shiite militias appear to have bounced the Peshmerga out of Kirkuk it's probably time to throw a post up about that, but I note in passing that 1) there appears to be some intra-Peshmerga pissing between DPK and PUK units over "who lost Kirkuk", reminding us that even separatists have separatists, and 2) the DoD is cranky that the IA used their shiny made-in-the-USA toys to bully our Kurdish pals, reminding us that generals are usually shit at politics.

    Unfortunately, the only hope we have of bringing MLS Cup here is to win the Shield, the season title, and the Timbers have never been that good in the regular season. Even when we won it all two years ago it was more a business of the team catching fire over eight games rather than that sort of sustained quality.

  11. And no, I didn't get to Orlando. Had a crazy busy week and no spare cash, either. Sorry to have missed that party...