Misc 06/10/2017

Letter to the policeman 8U5* (and to Felipe VI)

You took your baton out. You wound the strap very slowly around your wrist and told me to get back

Antoni Vives
4 min
Una dona planta cara a les forces policials que ha intentat entrar a l'escola Diputació de Barcelona.

TRADUCCIÓ: PAULA HEATONDear 8U5*, I don’t know your name or where you’re from. I don’t know if you’re married or have a girlfriend, whether you have kids, parents, brothers or sisters. I don’t know what it was like for you growing up, or what you’ve been through. I know very little about you, but what I do know is very profound: I know the color of your eyes, a soft brown, almost oak-colored: we looked each other in the eyes for quite a while. It seemed like an eternity to me. Did it to you too? It didn’t seem like it. You were smiling and insulting me under your breath, just like you had done with my daughter when you dragged her across the ground by her hair. Your smile is probably the same one you have when you kiss your mother’s forehead or your girlfriend’s lips. What I do know about you is your strength when you hit a defenseless person with your baton, just like you did to me all those times. You did it well, with great precision: my back, backside and arm are full of bruises and I have an open wound on one shoulder. You scratched me with something sharp that you had in your hand when I tried to protect myself. You did well, enjoying your job. You told me so, don’t you remember? I asked you whether you liked hitting defenseless people and you told me that you would hit our kind over and over again. Behind you, an officer from your unit like the one we asked to show us the court order. He said he would in a minute, but then gave the order for you to beat us. That brave officer behind you also smiled at us, daring us to go and get it. Meanwhile my wife, who was also hurt, picked my daughter up off the floor: she’d lost her glasses, they’d grabbed onto her nose, calling her a bitch and a slut… my daughter is twenty, she plays basketball, does volunteer work and studies international relations. What’s your daughter like? What does she do?

You did a good job, all of you. You enjoy it. You came in through the doors of the Dolors Monserdà school and left with three ballot boxes. You hugged each other. Some police officers gave us the finger. They did a really good job. Others – very professionally – still had time to beat up a few more. To keep the peace, I believe. Meanwhile, you looked at me and I looked at you. I came even closer to you so that we were almost touching noses. You took your baton out. You wound the strap very slowly around your wrist and told me to get back. You were then given the order to retreat and you stopped smiling. I felt absolute contempt for you, I must admit. And I’m sorry. You’d hurt me. You’d hurt my family. My friends. The people who, just like us, were queuing on the pavement in Barcelona in front of a school. Can you imagine that happening to you?

But I understand a bit better know, 8U5*, and I must do right by you: I heard king Felipe’s message. Just like you, he had a deep, cold look in his eyes. We know all about his public life and a bit about his private life. We know he was educated in the higher circles of Madrid. We know he has a strong military background. We know he likes sport. That he has a wife and daughters. That he’s had some serious problems at home. He sometimes comes to Catalonia, and he makes the effort to speak in Catalan (despite speaking English effortlessly). The king was regrettably unfair with those of us who went to vote to decide on our future, and he opened the door to the application of Article 155 of the Constitution. The king is scared, and he hid behind you, just like that same officer who taunted us. The king, who through his ill-fated father embodies the Democratic transition, epitomized the ultimate putrefaction the other day: talking about the Constitution when websites have been shut down, post intercepted, the freedom of assembly forbidden; when the order of a financial controller has practically blocked financial autonomy, when the additional articles of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy concerning investments in Catalonia have been repeatedly breached, when the government powers have made an explicitly more restrictive interpretation of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy than they do of the statutes of other regions; when linguistic immersion, the infamous pillar of our model of coexistence, has been declared anti-constitutional. Your hatred towards me, towards us, 8U5*, comes from above. That’s why I forgive you. They’re manipulating you. I understood this after hearing Alfonso Guerra talk about the Catalans. From primary school to police academy; from your officers to king Felipe himself: they all push you towards hatred, so much so that you end up dragging my daughter by the hair and go around the world showing a kind of Spain in which the king wants us all bound together. I pity you and I forgive you, 8U5*. Let’s have lunch, whenever you like. Cheers!

Now it’s our turn, Catalans, to tread carefully. Just read what the world has to say. Don’t let our rashness turn us into traitors.