Thursday, December 26, 2002

There's not much news and I've been mentally lazy for about the last three days. So what I figured I'd do is translate some articles from Catalan that appeared in Avui, the Catalan-language newspaper, by Miquel Porta Perales. I translate a lot of America-bashing stuff, so I figured I'd be fair and give all of you something by an intelligent local writer. Catalonia is not just full of dummies like Eulàlia Solé and Baltasar Porcel and Manuel Vázquez Montalban. There are local voices worth listening to, like Pedro Schwartz and Xavier Bru de Sala and Porta Perales. Aleix Vidal-Quadras is brilliant and ultraconservative, so much so that when in 1996 Aznar had a relative majority in Parliament, but not an absolute one, and so had to cut a deal with Convergence and Union, their price was the defenestration of Vidal-Quadras. Miquel Roca was the best politician we've ever had around here, a guy who I would not only vote for but would volunteer for; he writes occasionally in the papers. He's so centrist that neither the left nor the right is willing to claim him as one of their own. Also, he's now the richest lawyer in town, and I don't think he wants to get back into politics. Quim Monzó and Eduardo Mendoza are two of our best local writers. Also Juan Marsé. Anyway, here's an article by Porta Perales from the November 30 Avui titled "Anti-American reserve". It's in italics.

The first anniversary of the terrorist barbarism that fell upon New York and the hypothetical American military intervention in Iraq is standing straight and tall before the traditional myopia of the rancid Left. For example, beginning internationally, articles by Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, or Don de Lillo either include an anti-American "Yes, but" or proclaim their belief that what happened on September 11 was not directed against civilization and humanity but rather against that "conspicuously terrorist state" (Chomsky dixit) which is the USA. We could continue with the Italian Dario Fo or the Briton Ken Loach, who criticize others who either denounce terrorist barbarism from any point of view that isn't their own or attack the USA, which they consider to be the root of all evil. Back at home, a bunch of leftist ex-celebrities--we won't say their names, but if you think about writers, singers, editors, urban planners, and architects you can guess them easily--have jumped on the "We, the undersigned" bandwagon and signed a manifesto in favor of pluralism and against war and ideological uniformity. It is very funny to see those who were once spokesmen for (Marxist) ideological uniformity denounce it now.

But what's not so funny is the Manichaeanism and sectarianism that seeps through the manifesto and that shines most brightly in the case of a signer who, all on his own, stated that "We are threatened by president Bush's new Fascism and aggressive imperialism". For this old Stalinist who certainly never criticized the Fascism and aggressive imperialism of the hammer and sickle that he wore on his chest, isn't there any other threat than a supposed American Fascism? Really, the most worrying thing is not the Manichaeanism or sectarianism of the so-called progressive Left, but its myopia. How else could an intelligent and well-educated gentleman call Bush a Fascist? How is it possible that some ladies and gentlemen who have been involved in this thought and politics stuff for many years are so ingenuous as not to face up to threats and attacks like those of September 11? Why is our Left solely capable of making abstract proclamations? I think that the answer lies within psychology: there are some people who need a whipping boy on which to work out their own political frustration. That's why Catalonia, a country full of the ideologically defeated, is the spiritual reserve of Western anti-Americanism.

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