There are two particularly troubling aspects to the ongoing crisis in Spain over the status of Catalonia.
The first is the re-emergence of what the Spanish call pensamiento único, or monolithic thinking, throughout the Madrid media. You can hardly find a single voice, with the very honourable exception of Iñaki Gabilondo’s video commentaries in El Pais, that demurs from the sole acceptable political line: the only cause of the crisis is the refusal by ornery Catalans to accept the constitution and the rule of law.
A similar media orthodoxy ruled for many years regarding the Basque conflict. The circumstances today in Catalonia are, mercifully, very different.
But the effect is the same: a blocking of the kind of open discourse that might resolve the conflict. Instead, messy and plural complexities are repeatedly reduced in Madrid to a comforting binary simplicity that Orwell might have appreciated: “Constitution good, Catalan nationalism bad.”
This article appeared in The Irish Times on 20 November, 2017. Read it here.
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