15/12/2021

Canet and the construction of hate speech with impunity

2 min
Alejandro Fernández and Pablo Casado yesterday in Barcelona.

Building up hate speech should be a hate crime. For days we have been witnessing a campaign perfectly orchestrated by the political and media far right to convert two isolated tweets against a family in Canet who asked for their 5-year-old child to receive half of its schooling in Spanish (so far, the Catalan High court has decided a quarter should be in Spanish) in a relentless persecution that has come to be compared to that suffered by the Jews in Nazi Germany or to the South African apartheid. They are surely the two most profitable tweets, in terms of discursive manipulation, in the history of Spanish ultra-nationalism. The impunity with which this fiction of victimisation of a child and a family has been constructed is unprecedented. It doesn't matter that it doesn't stand the slightest scrutiny by facts: the school in Canet swiftly obeyed the ruling and has been very careful to isolate the boys and girls from the controversy. Moreover, for some years now in Catalonia there has been a trickle of similar cases in different schools which have not caused such commotion, despite the questioning they imply of the system of linguistic immersion, the fruit of broad social and political consensus, and applied with evident flexibility, not to say laxity.

But for the triple right, reality is not important. The important thing is to create a huge scandal out of a tiny one-off event that will allow them to cast a large shadow of guilt and, why not, totalitarianism, over the entire Catalan education system, and, incidentally, to accuse the Spanish government of passivity and connivance with the independence movement. They are succeeding. They do not hold back: the same Public Prosecutor's Office that opened a file to investigate the tweets could fill an entire folder with the avalanche of insane statements that have been made these days, a distorting spiral that, this time, prepares the ground for hatred. Once again we see how in the State, when it comes to national minorities, there are no limits to vitriol, which in recent times has centred on Catalans: it is as if the independence movement had released some latent inner ghosts. The atavistic intolerance against national plurality was unleashed once again without any mental or legal restraint.

The rise and emergence of Ciudadanos was already based on an explicit fight against Catalan in schools, on television, wherever. Once Rivera's party fell, Vox has given it a generous and hyperbolic continuity and has dragged the PP along with it. So that Pablo Casado has now come to equate Catalanism with racism, making explicit reference to apartheid; a Vox deputy has stated in the Spanish Parliament that "the Catalan radical left delights in the persecution of a five-year-old child", and the leader of Ciudadanos in Catalonia, Carlos Carrizosa, has drawn a resemblance between Canet and Ermua, the Basque town where ETA assassinated PP councillor Miguel Ángel Blanco in 1997. And this list only includes politicians. If we included the media, the list would be endless. What more do we have to hear? Is nobody ashamed? A snake's egg is being incubated.