Out of time

Som el fruit del passat

Month: Octubre, 2017

Els aniversaris del Facebook

Gràcies al Facebook puc estar enterat de l’aniversari de moltíssima gent, fins i tot alguns dels quals no conec personalment. La qual cosa em brinda, almenys teòricament, l’oportunitat de felicitar un munt de gent. I, al seu torn, ser felicitat per un munt de gent, que evidentment brinda l’oportunitat d’agrair les felicitacions de tots ells.

Siguem sincers i parlem clar: un conyàs. Sí, sí, ja ho sé, que no he de ser un antisocial (no ho sóc, encara que a vegades ho pugui semblar). Hi ha gent que té molta imaginació i per a cadascun dels seus centenars d’amics del Facebook sap trobar les paraules adequades per a felicitar-los — el “Felicitats!” “Gràcies!” és tan genèric que fins i tot un robot ho podria fer.

Ho reconec: jo fa un cert temps que ja no felicito gairebé ningú — al seu torn, quan arriba el meu aniversari, gairebé ningú no em felicito. És que he passat a odiar-vos a tots? Ni de conya. Em recordo de molts de vosaltres quan arriba el vostre aniversari. Però sembla ser llei de vida que el temps esborra les relacions si aquestes no es mantenen de forma presencial. M’explico.

Gent que vaig conèixer quan anava a l’escola: no mantinc relació personal amb cap d’ells. A alguns els tinc al Facebook, però fa potser vint anys que no ens veiem. És motiu això per no felicitar-los? Of course not. Però seguim.

Gent de la uni: a molts els tinc al Facebook. Amb alguns l’únic vincle és que han estat alumnes meus quan jo era profe de pràctiques d’operatius. Mantinc el contacte amb… només un, em sembla. Again, és això motiu per no felicitar-los? Again, of course not. I again, podríem seguir.

Què vull dir? Doncs que moltes relacions, un cop desapareix la “plataforma” que les ha fet néixer, es refreden i passen a ser coneguts i fins i tot tan sols saludats. És una llàstima, però that’s life.

És per això que no felicito els aniversaris? Sí i no. Arribat un punt, em semblava artificial fer-ho. Hi ha persones a qui fa temps que no veig i, tot i així, les felicito. Generalment és perquè han tingut un significat especial de la meva vida. Formadors que he tingut en algunes etapes de la meva vida. Persones que han estat al meu costat quan he estat realment fotut, pel motiu que sigui. Persones amb qui hi ha un vincle especial que fa que, fins i tot després de bastants anys de no veure-les, no em resulti artificial felicitar-les.

I amb això no estic fent diferències o classificacions o categories. En primer lloc, perquè la “vagància” també hi juga el seu paper. I més important que això, perquè no fa que una persona sigui més important que una altra. De fet, a molts dels que no felicito m’agradaria tornar-los a veure, “posar-me al dia” de la seva vida, i que deixés de ser-me artificial felicitar-los. Gràcies al Facebook, almenys, puc seguir una mica de les seves vides, allò que decideixen compartir. De la mateixa manera que aquells que em van conèixer fa molts anys ara poden saber algo de mi, ni que sigui algunes de les coses que m’interessen i comparteixo, com ara el que escric en aquest blog.

De debò espero que ningú se senti ofès per això que he escrit. En tot cas, preneu-vos-ho com un desig a reprendre el contacte.

NB: pot ser simplement que jo sigui un puto gandul que no em doni la gana felicitar la penya, excepte d’aquells que penso que és “indispensable” fer-ho, pel motiu que sigui. Tot pot ser en aquesta vida, i de tot hi ha a la vinya del Senyor.

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El meu gatet

No recordo que, de petit, demanés als meus pares de tenir un animal domèstic (la qual cosa ja vol dir que no en vam tenir mai). Potser algun cop, i de passada… o potser va ser el meu germà? No me’n recordo. Fins fa quatre dies, els animals a mi no em “deien res”. Indiferència gairebé total. Recordo que, fa uns quants anys, se sentia el miolar d’un gat a una església de Reus. A mi allò em va deixar del tot indiferent. En canvi, ara, cada cop que hi penso… pobret… al cel sigui, si hi ha un cel per a gats.

Què ha canviat? Molt senzill: que ara tinc un gat. Una altra anècdota. Recordo quan encara estava a la universitat. Un company comentava, si no em falla la memòria, que havien atropellat el seu gat. Potser no era exactament així, però ara no ve al cas. Va demanar que, si no ens agradaven els animals, que ens abstinguéssim de fer certa mena de comentaris. Jo em vaig abstenir de fer comentaris. Si la situació la visqués ara, la meva reacció seria completament diferent. Penso en el meu gat, i me l’imagino trobar-me’l atropellat…

Dic tot això perquè el passat divendres 29 va fer un any que el meu gat va arribar a casa. De fet, jo no volia un gat. Volia un gos. Havia llegit, mig per casualitat, alguna cosa sobre gossos a internet (més curiosament, el primer cop que vaig plantejar la possibilitat de tenir un animal a casa meva, al propietari del pis, ja que visc de lloguer, era per tenir… un gat… però després vaig canviar d’idea, per tornar-la a canviar després).

Per què un gos? Perquè visc sol, i volia tenir un animal que em fes companyia. Visc sol per “elecció”, i el més probable és que així segueixi sent “per omnia saecula saeculorum”, si em permeteu ser pedant (i exagerat). I pel que jo havia sentit a dir de gats i gossos, tenia clar que només un gos em podia donar el “carinyo” que jo buscava en un animal de companyia.

Vaig parlar amb el veterinari del poble, que justament està gairebé sota casa meva. Li vaig explicar el cas. Tenint en compte les meves circumstàncies, em va recomanar més un gat que un gos. Ho vaig deixar estar. No recordo quan va ser això. Més endavant, em va tornar a venir la idea d’un animal domèstic, i aquest cop ja m’estava bé que fos un gat. Un dimarts, anant a la feina, em vaig trobar la propietària del pis. Li ho vaig explicar. Quina curiositat que, aquell diumenge (que jo no era a casa, sinó a una ermita del poble), havia trucat a la meva porta per si volia una gateta, crec que germana de la que s’havia quedat ella. Li vaig dir que li hauria dit que no, ja que la gateta encara prenia biberó, i òbviament no me la podia endur a la feina per anar-li donant l’aliment cada dues hores.

Així que, aquell dimarts, vaig anar al veterinari, preguntant per si hi havia algun refugi que tingués gats per adoptar (Els meus pares tenien un gat des de maig, em sembla, i l’havien anat a buscar a un refugi que els havia dit un veterinari). Ell no coneixia de cap refugi, però sí d’un matrimoni que tenia gats, i que vivia a un poble del costat. Em va donar el número. Dimecres vaig trucar. I dijous recollia el gat.

Em penedeixo d’alguna cosa? Sí: de no haver-ne tingut un abans. Clar que, llavors, no hauria tingut el meu, el mut. No us amagaré que, a vegades, m’he enfadat molt amb ell. Com quan un dotze d’octubre em va mossegar el cable de la fibra òptica, deixant-me tres dies sense internet (serà que el meu gat és un “rojo-separatista” i no li agrada el dia de la hispanitat?). O com quan, fa cosa d’un mes, va tirar a terra el got amb aigua on s’estava netejant el plomí de la meva estilogràfica preferida, danyant-lo en caure a terra. Sí, aquests són els seus “antecedents penals”, però ni de conya fa que em penedeixi d’haver-lo tingut.

A vegades és pesat, i mossega i fa anar les ungles més del que voldria. Però és molt carinyós. A vegades dorm damunt meu, em llepa els cabells, busca la meva companyia, etc. Jo dic que és un gat amb cert caràcter de gos (i també una mica de porc, tot sigui dit). Jo a vegades l’anomeno “el meu bebé”. De seguida que li fas carícies ronroneja, i és molt sociable amb les persones que vénen a casa (massa i tot: quan vénen els meus pares, se’n va a dormir amb ells, i a mi que em bombin).

No em reca separar-me d’ell quan vaig a la feina, però sí quan l’he de deixar una nit sol. I segurament no tant per ell, que al cap i a la fi en això (entre d’altres coses) es diferencia un gat d’un gos, que el pots deixar sol sense problemes. És més per mi: no m’agrada passar una nit sense ell, encara que no dormi amb mi. D’aquí a poc hauré de passar 5 dies sense ell! Se’m farà etern.

No em molesta gastar-me diners en ell, ni el fet que embruta més la casa (la quantitat de pèl que deixa anar, i això que no el té llarg), estic convençut que “aporta més” del que “gasta”, encara que sigui una manera molt poc apropiada de dir-ho. Potser no sigui del tot el gat adequat per a mi, en el sentit que, sent carinyós com és, passa moltes hores sol, i quan sóc a casa no sempre li puc dedicar tota l’atenció que voldria (he de cuinar, fregar, rentar, etc). Potser el gat dels meus pares m’aniria millor, en el sentit que és molt més independent. Però no el canviaria per a res del món.

Tenint en compte la meva i la seva esperança de vida, des del primer moment vaig ser conscient que, almenys que em passi alguna desgràcia, seré jo qui el veuré morir. Hi penso de tant en tant. Jo aniré creixent, ell també, jo ja seré una mica gran quan ell sigui un ancià, i un dia em dirà adéu. Procuro no pensar-hi massa perquè m’entristeix molt, però m’hi he d’anar preparant. En aquest moment no em plantejo “adormir-lo” a menys que sigui una necessitat absolutament imperiosa. Però d’una manera o d’una altra, em dirà adéu.

La qual cosa vol dir que, aquests anys de vida que tingui, vull que els passi al meu costat, jo al seu costat, fent-nos companyia mútuament, acompanyant-nos quan els moments siguin bons (i de moment ho són) i també quan no ho siguin tant, que sigui tan feliç com pugui, i que, si pugués parlar, donés gràcies d’haver anat a parar a casa meva.

Nota: el nom de “mut” l’hi van donar els seus primers amos, de la casa on va néixer, ja que, segons em van explicar, en comparació amb els seus germans era “mut”, no miolava. Us puc assegurar que ara, de mut, no en té res.

It’s all about sovereignty

Nearly five years ago, I wrote a quite long article in a Norwegian blog, where I said, about how the political landscape had changed since when I was a child, that I wouldn’t have believed it “even if completely drunk”. The title of the post was “to stay or to leave”. Today thousands of Catalans (including myself) have voted to answer that question. Not all Catalans will have been able to vote. Some of them will have had paid a price for voting, “thanks” to the Spanish police. And we’ll see if there will be more prices to be paid. Again, I wouldn’t have believed that a day like today would come. And no, this time I won’t explain why it has come what I never thought it would.

There are, broadly speaking, two ways to look into the matter. From the Spanish point of view, everything is clear: the referendum is illegal, banned by Spanish courts (because of Spanish law), and Spanish police was in its right to do its best to avoid the referendum taking place. One can argue that there was disproportionate use of force, but (in computer science parlance) that would be “a matter of implementation”. From the Spanish point of view, defending the law is defending democracy (and the other way around), so removing ballots and preventing Catalans from voting was defending democracy, since the referendum was illegal.

Of course, one can think that this way of reasoning makes sense. At first sight, it makes. Well, one can wonder how a referendum can be made illegal, taking into account that voting is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy (but not the only one). One answer could be that honoring the law is also a pillar of democracy, and the referendum was illegal. There are elections every 4 years at least, so everything should appear all right.

So, is the matter settled? Not so fast. Two factors come in here. First, disobedience to the law. I think we can agree that nearly always it’s bad. But there have been situations when it has been deemed all-right, especially with laws that have been regarded (at the time they were in force or later on) to be unjust. Sometimes enacted by legitimate authorities, sometimes not. There have been great accomplishments thanks to disobedience. One can think, for example, in Gandhi. The right to strike and other ones were also had by means that probably were not the cleanest and nicest. And who cares, now? Of course, I’m not ignoring that deciding when you can disobey is an extremely complex issue.

The second factor is sovereignty. Some people love talking about the “Estado de Derecho” (meaning, “the rule of law”). They will say that today’s referendum was against the rule of law, because the law forbids that referendum.

To some extent, this is a case of begging the question. To the statement that “the law forbids the referendum”, an apparently silly question would be, “which law?”, to a first answer could very well be “Spanish law”. And “of course it’s Spanish law! Which country’s law were you thinking of?”

But this is not a silly question. It just brings up to the surface some things that we take for granted, but perhaps they’re not. Till now, we have examined the Spanish point of view. But if you ask those Catalans who have defied Spanish law and have done their best (I hope) to make the referendum take place as much as possible, they will tell you that what they doing is utterly democratic, since they are just… voting!

But wait a second! There are rules for voting, aren’t they? You can’t just vote on whatever you want, whenever you want. So, one the first hand, we have a country (Spain) with laws that tell you when you can vote, and how (and that today’s referendum is illegal), and all this in the name of democracy; and on the second hand, you have people who go to vote, despite the referendum being called illegal by Spanish courts, and they do this in the name of… democracy!

Not surprisingly, every side is utterly convinced that it’s right and the other one is absolutely wrong.

Since I have voted today, one could reach the conclusion that I’m one the side of those who think that today’s referendum was democratic and right. Am I? Well, one could call me an hypocrite if I didn’t, since it would have been wrong to do something undemocratic. How can I justify my position?

Before explaining it, let me tell you that I’m not necessarily trying to convince you, my reader. Obviously I will be happier if I do, but my goal is to try to show both points of view in as much an impartial way as I can, and explain the reasons behind my choice.

In that whole matter, we are ignoring a factor I just barely mentioned, but which is, in fact, the title of this post: sovereignty. When Spain claims that what has taken place today is illegal, it does so in the name of Spanish law, as it should be obvious. Undoubtedly, they claim that Spanish law is binding in Catalonia. Thus they say that what we’ve done is against democracy, because we have been acting against the rule of law.

It just happens that what Catalans were voting (or at least trying to) for was just that very same question: about seceding from Spain. And well, when you are considering secession, you’ve taken a very important first step: you’ve denied the principle that Spanish law necessarily binds in Catalonia. Or to put it in another words: you’re questioning the right of the Spanish Constitution to rule in Catalonia. If you’re in favor of having the referendum, even if you’re not for secession, implicitly you’ve crossed the Rubicon.

Which is why Spain is so staunchly against the referendum. Because allowing it is, to some extent, allowing “defeat”: allowing that some territory you consider part of the country has the right to say that it’s not part of the country (even if they end up saying that yes it is). Even if each and every Catalan voted and voted against secession, the very fact that a vote was held, it would have meant defeat.

There are other reasons why Spain is so adamant against the referendum, but they are of another nature and outside the scope of this post.

I said that I adhere to the point of view that today’s referendum was democratic. But why? The reason is, at the same time, simple and difficult. Countries are “things” made by people, not by God; so it’s up to people to decide which country they belong to, and to create new ones if they so desire. Put in this way, it’s simple. But I bet that you could point me lots of problems in that statement.

Because, you might say, countries could change from day to day, and what happens if, let’s say, a town inside Catalonia decided to establish itself as a country, etc. “This idea cannot work”. Well, I bet it could work much better than war, after all, but you’re right: there’re lots of problems with my belief.

Can they be solved? Partially. Of course, if countries change from day to day, it could be a mess. I think we can agree that we don’t need to elaborate on that point. But to say that they can’t change from day to day is one thing, and to say that they can never change is another one — in fact, they have never ceased to change, as history teaches us.

One can be tempted to thing that this whole thing of the referendum and secession is just something of the last few years. It’s not. I can’t explain here why, it would take me too much time and space. Despite that it’s true that, if today’s referendum would have been held in, say, 1992, I bet that more of 90% of Catalans would have voted against secession, it’s also true that this kind of feelings (of Catalan national identity) are more than a century old. Relationships between Spain and Catalonia have been strained since more than a century ago — needles to say, evolving with time and the particular political situation of Spain (monarchy, republic, dictatorship, etc).

I can’t give rules about how and when a “piece of land” and “some people” have the right to consider themselves entitled to create a new country. But I can assure you that I’m utterly convinced that the only reasonable way to do this is by letting people vote — as Britain showed us perfectly well by allowing Scotland to vote.

Two final notes. The first one. About the Scotland’s referendum, you might tell me that it was legal and democratic because the UK made it so. Canadian law seemed not to allow the Quebec referendum, but by some reason Canada’s Supreme Court saw the matter in another way… in the name of democracy.

The second one. What will happen now in Catalonia? Don’t be surprised if I tell you that I have no idea. We need to know how the events develop. International diplomacy is very subtle and intricate, very difficult to read the message behind the words being uttered. Sometimes you need to focus more on what is *not said* than on what is actually being said. The difference between what you expected it would be said, and what’s actually said. I’m not optimistic, but neither pessimistic. Spain has made a mistake in how the police has behaved, because it always gives a bad impression. One can think that the one who has the power is the one who can act more freely, but it’s not always the case, because you may be expected to show restrain. And the images of elderly being wounded by police officers is not precisely a show of restrain.

Tomorrow perhaps some European Union officials will be asked about what has happened today, and some kind of answer will have to be provided. They can be tempted to answer again that “it’s an internal matter of Spain”. I doubt that this can work in the long term, since the very essence of the European Union is that states surrender part of their “internal matters” to a wider entity — think, for example, about the freedom of goods and people to travel, etc. Also, there are treaties of the EU limiting what a country can do. Perhaps they will turn a blind eye. It seems that the EU has a long record of doing this.

Recent events (such as Brexit) tells us that perhaps these are not very good times for the EU. How it reacts about today’s events will show what the EU “wants to be when it grows up”, so to speak.

And even a third final note. Some people might be tempted to discuss about whether today’s referendum was held with enough “guarantees”, that is, that there have been no opportunities for fraud. It’s a worthy discussion, to be sure. But it seems that violence always likes to take “a place of honor” when it comes to attention, and since there has been violence, people will easily focus more on it than on another matters. At the time of writing, I see that at least one Prime Minister (Belgium’s) has condemned violence, and that a EU’s official (Guy Verhofstadt) has also condemned it. Even if they say that the problem needs to be solved according to the Spanish Constitution. They call for dialogue and de-escalation. Will this happen? I don’t know. But it seems that it’s no longer an internal affair of Spain.

 

"fool with a pen..."

...the one thing more dangerous than a fool.

La Torre de les Hores

Som el fruit del passat

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Out of time

Som el fruit del passat

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