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30 de juny 2016

'Better to have a corrupt [Spain] than a broken one'

 Update (January 2017):  The final document of "RAUCIP 2017: Recent Advances in Undermining Catalonia's Independence Process. 1st International Conference" (Madrid Dec 28, 2016 - Jan 7, 2017) (website) is now available in PDF formatp. 5–30. 

English transation of an article, "Antes corrupta que rota", by Ferran Sáez Mateu, published in Ara on June 28 2016, at 19:28. 

Let me start with a worn cliché: life is strange. Very strange. When the daily newspaper Público began to explain an alleged conspiracy between the [Spanish interior] minister Fernández Díaz and the director of the Anti-fraud Office to discredit Catalan politicians with false data, many thought, "The PP are going to take a hammering!". It turns out, however, that on those same dates, 48 ​​hours before the Spanish elections, the prospects for the PP began to improve. Everyone attributed it to Brexit. In fact, on Sunday night I heard this strange theory a dozen times but the truth is that none of those that held to it were able to credibly explain that relationship, probably because it does not exist. I mean, it is rather unlikely that a man in Carrión de los Condes or a woman in La Almunia de Doña Godina who intended to vote Pablo Iglesias suddenly chose to vote for Rajoy as a result of something that happened in the UK. 

However, other things - more important to most Spaniards - happened before Sunday. Two patriots, Sr. Fernández Díaz and Sr. Daniel Alfonso, had risked their careers and - and, depending on how things eventually work out, other things as well - to defend the indissoluble unity of Spain. "I am Spanish above all", said Alfonso. The first part of the sentence is very respectable; note, however, the addition: "above all". Does that "above all" refer to the existing laws? Sr. Carrión de los Condes or Sra. La Almunia de Doña Godina, on hearing this, realized clearly that the only way to erect a barrier to hold back Catalan independence was to once again vote for the testicular PP, with the stink of a sol y sombra liquor mix and a toothpick behind one's ear. Even those who had moved over to vote for Ciudadanos thought better, which is why the number of votes gained by the PP and lost by Rivera's party are almost exactly, even grotesquely, the same. Iglesias [Podemos] lost steam for the same reason: even after having clarified the issue of the [Catalan] referendum, his potential voters changed their minds.  

For the time being Spain is a country that pats the back of people that claim to have destroyed the Catalan public health system 

The big loser was Pablo Iglesias, despite having retained his MPs. The PSOE's results [Socialists] also fit in with the explanation that we have given: voting for them meant risking Podemos being allowed into the government, or even to lead it. The cases of Andalusia and Extremadura, which are the communities that would be most affected by the independence of Catalonia, are especially significant. Despite the leftist singsong of their leaders, especially Susana Díaz, southern Spain has voted for the moth-eaten, rotten right (in the case of Extremadura, with 40% of votes). 'Better to have a corrupt [Spain] than a broken one...' 

The direct conclusion is as follows: in the present circumstances, Spain cannot be reformed. Maybe in a generation or two, this might be possible, but for the time being Spain is a country that pats the back of people that claim to have destroyed the Catalan public health system. But there is one other conclusion. It is an indirect or secondary one, but it is not banal: as long as Spain fails to resolve its territorial issue, each and every one of its policy initiatives will de conditioned. Without the Catalan question on the table, Spain on Sunday would not have voted for the PP. It would have made no sense, for a host of reasons. As long as the whole of the political agenda is engrossed in this subject no long-term project is conceivable.  

Without the Catalan question on the table, Spain on Sunday would not have voted for the PP. It would have made no sense, for a host of reasons 

There can be no future without first deciding who it is going to affect, and who not. Whether wrongly or not, the Scots took a decision with the approval of the rest of the British, and the British have just taken another very risky - and surely incorrect - path, but in any case it stems from a legitimate collective decision. In Spain such things not even considered, usually on account of temerous inertia related to the absence of a true democratic tradition. 

The PP and the other groups have taken this all in. The message is tough: the best way of solving problems is to prevent political dialogue and to play possum; the exhaustion of the adversary does the rest. From a Catalan perspective, the message is even tougher, for this leaves no other option than expeditious, unilateral decisions. I say it is tougher because, when all is said and done, this would have consequences that, in all probability, not everyone is willing to face. Moreover, things are clear in Spain, while here we continue to fuss over (especially anti-systemic) aesthetics.

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29 de juny 2016

Bloomsday 2016, Barcelona

Two Catalan translations of James Joyce's Ulysses (extract)

Yes because he never did a thing like that before as ask to get his breakfast in bed with a couple of eggs since the City Arms hotel when he used to be pretending to be laid up with a sick voice doing his highness to be made interesting to that old faggot Mrs Riordan that he thought he had a great leg of and she never left us a farthing for all masses for herself and her soul greatest miser ever was actually afraid to lay out 4d for her methylated spirit telling me all her ailments she had too much old chat in her about politics and earthquakes and the end of the world let us have a bit of fun first God help the world if all the women were her sort down on bathing-suits and low-necks of course nobody wanted her to wear them I suppose she was pious because no man would look at her twice I hope I’ll never be like her a wonder she didn’t want us to cover our faces but she was a well-educated woman certainly and her gabby talk about Mr Riordan here and Mr Riordan there I suppose he was glad to get shut of her and her dog smelling my fur and always edging to get up under my petticoats especially then still I like that in him polite to old women like that and waiters and beggars too he’s not proud out of nothing but not always if ever he got anything really serious the matter with him it’s much better for them to go into a hospital where everything is clean but I suppose I’d have to dring it into him for a month yes and then we’d have a hospital nurse next thing on the carpet have him staying there till they throw him out or a nun maybe like the smutty photo he has she’s as much a nun as I’m not yes because they’re so weak and puling when they’re sick they want a woman to get well if his nose bleeds you’d think it was O tragic [and that dyinglooking one off the south circular when he sprained his foot at the choir party at the sugarloaf Mountain...]

Catalan translation by Joaquim Mallafré (1980)

Sí perquè ell no havia fet mai una cosa com això de demanar que li portessin l’esmorzar al llit amb un parell d’ous des de l’hotel City Arms quan es feia el malmirrós amb una veu decaiguda tot un personatge per fer-se l’interessant amb aquell fardot de Mrs Riordan que es pensava que s’hi faria l’arròs i no ens va deixar ni cinc tot per a misses per a ella i la seva ànima més rància que s’hagi vist mai que quan s’havia de gastar 4 penics per l’esperit de cremar ja no sabia què li passava corda per a no acabar mai que si la política i els terratrèmols i la fi del món més val que ens ho agafem una mica bé mentrestant que Déu ens guardi si totes les dones fossin com ella contra els vestits de bany i els vestits escotats és clar que ningú no tenia gens d’interès que ella se’ls posés suposo que era una beata perquè cap home no se la devia haver mirat dues vegades espero no ser mai com ella ja és estrany que no ens fes tapar la cara i tot però era una dona ben educada això sí i tota la seva xerrameca que si Mr Riordan per aquí i que si Mr Riordan per allà suposo que estava content d’haver-se’n desempallegat i el seu gos ensumant-me les pells i sempre ficant-se’m per sota les faldilles especialment llavors encara que a mi m’agrada que sigui així amable amb les velles i els cambrers i els captaires i tot no és un pretensiós per no res però no sempre si mai es trobava en una és molt millor anar a l’hospital on ho tenen tot net però suposo que hauria d’estar un mes per a donar-li entenent sí i després de seguida tindríem una infermera de l’hospital en dansa s’estaria allí fins que el traguessin o una monja potser com la fotografia pornogràfica que té és tan monja com jo sí perquè són tan poca cosa i tan ploramiques quan estan malalts que necessiten una dona per a posar-se bons si els surt sang del nas diríeu que és oh una tragèdia i allò que semblava que es moria carretera South Circular enllà quan es va torçar el peu a la festa de la coral a la muntanya del pa de sucre...

Catalan translation by Michael Strubell (unpublished, 2016)

Sí perquè mai abans havia fet una cosa així com ara demanar que li pugessin l'esmorzar al llit amb un parell d'ous des del City Arms Hotel quan solia fer veure que estava fotut amb una veu de malalt amb les impostures per fer-se l'interessant amb aquella fòssil de Mrs. Riordan que es creia qui hi tenia un gran ascendent i ell mai no ens va deixar ni un ral tot per a misses per a ella i la seva ànima la garrepa més gran de la història li feia autèntica por gastar-se quatre penics per l'alcohol de farmàcia d'ella explicant-me totes les seves xacres deixava anar tots els vells tòpics de la política dels terratrèmols i la fi del món deixa'ns divertir-nos una mica primer que Déu s'apiadi del món si totes les dones fossin com ella fotent-se amb els banyadors i els escots és clar que ningú volia que ella se'ls posés suposo que era piadosa perquè cap home se la miraria dos cops espero no arribar a ser mai com ella és un miracle que no ens fes tapar-nos la cara però era una dona formada certament s'omplia la boca de Mr. Riordan d'això suposo que ell se'n va alegrar quan se'n va desfer i el gos d'ella vinga flairar el meu abric de pell i sempre insinuant-se per posar-se dret sota la meva faldilla sobretot llavors de tota manera m'agrada això d'ell sempre cortès amb les senyores grans m'agrada i els cambrers i els captaires també no és massa orgullós per a res però no sempre si mai es posés malalt de debò és molt millor que l'ingressin en un hospital on tot és polit però suposo que li hauria d'anar insistint durant un mes sí i llavors tindríem una infermera d'hospital i la disciplina i el farien quedar-s'hi fins que el fessin fora o potser una monja com la foto guarra que té ella té tant de monja com jo no sí perquè són tan dèbils i ploramiques quan estan malalts necessiten una dona per refer-se si sagna pel nas diries que era Oh tràgic i aquella mirada de moribund per sota de la variant del sud, quan es va tòrcer el peu a la festa de la coral a la sala Sugarloaf Mountain...