Wednesday, 4 October 2017

King Felipe's hypocritical and cowardly speech about Catalonia

After social media was flooded with images of the violent repression of peaceful Catalans by the Spanish nationalist government the king of Spain refused to speak out for over two days. 

In an atmosphere of rising criticism of his silence Felipe finally spoke out, not to condemn the violence, but to accuse the democratically elected government of Catalonia of being "disloyal to Spain" and "undemocratic" for having organised a democratic vote on Catalan independence.

The brass neck of the man is incredible. He's the unelected king of Spain, and he knows perfectly well that he only holds that title because his dad was appointed king by the brutal military dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

It just goes to show the extreme levels of contempt he has for the Spanish public that someone in such a position could dare to consider accusing others of being undemocratic, but he seriously seems to believe that his subjects are that thick that they'd accept an unelected monarch attacking an elected regional government as undemocratic.

Despite an estimated 700,000 people taking to the streets in Catalonia to protest the violence on the same day as his speech, Felipe's speech made no reference at all to the brutal police repression of the Catalan people, and instead focused on Spanish nationalist themes that could have been written for him by the hard-right Spanish nationalist government in Madrid.

Such an act of cowardice makes it absolutely clear that despite his claims to the contrary, he had no intention of addressing the concerns of the Catalan people, and that his words were intended solely to shore up support for Spanish nationalism in the rest of the country.

Aside from his ludicrous attack on the Catalan regional government and his cowardly refusal to condemn the police violence, there was also some very sinister stuff going on too.

People were quick to pick up on the fact that the painting behind his head was a portrait of a baton-wielding Charles III, who was the king who tried to eradicate the Catalan language by imposing the Spanish (Castillian) on the Catalan education system in 1768.

There's no way that this particular choice of backdrop was a coincidence. 

Felipe deliberately decided to send the Catalans a message that his continuing silence over the wave of police brutality against non-violent Catalan voters is because he actively supports the violent repression of Catalonia by Spanish supremacists.

How else is it possible to explain his decision to sit in front of a baton-wielding oppressor of Catalonia just days after the world witnessed Spanish police thugs attacking non-violent Catalan civilians with batons for the "crime" of desiring democratic self-determination?

It wasn't just the glaring hypocrisy, the visual backdrop, or the shocking lack of condemnation of the brutality of the Spanish police that are concerning about Felipe's speech either.

Another major concern is the way that he banged on about the "permanence of Spain" and threatened that "no democratic co-existence is possible in peace and liberty" without "respect" for the supremacy of the Spanish nationalist rulers in Madrid.

Such language clearly comes across as a threat that peace, liberty and democracy in Catalonia are at stake if they don't obey their superiors in Madrid.

This kind of attitude is alarming because it implies that the Spanish nationalist establishment have already decided that if the Catalans decide to continue moving towards independence, then the peace, liberty and democratic rights of the Catalans will be sacrificed in order to keep the region under Spanish rule.

The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has already stated that he intends to use the 90% yes vote to move towards a declaration of Catalan independence, so it remains to be seen what the Spanish nationalists in Madrid intend to do about it. 

If the one-sidedness, hypocrisy and blatant Spanish supremacism of Felipe's speech is anything to go by, then a suspension of Catalan democracy and the violent repression of the Catalan people are the cards they're already preparing to play.

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