JUST COULDN'T COPE(15/02/2007)
Aquest article no estā traduīt al catalā; es mostra la seva versiķ en anglčs
On a hatemongering radio station
CATALONIA TODAY SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE FORTY-THREE
I have friends who've done it. The novelist Rosa Regās even wrote an article in El País about doing it. Last Friday, for the first time in my life, I did it. I leaned forward in the taxi and told the driver to either switch off the radio or let me out. Like my friends, like Rosa Regās, I had suffered a surprise attack of disgust, courtesy of the COPE, the bishop-backed, righter-than-right, ultra-patriotic radio station.
What made me snap up in my seat was a 'COPE special report' about ETA member De Juana Chaos, who is on hunger strike in a Madrid prison, in protest, at the time, at being given an extra 12 years for writing two allegedly pro-terrorist newspaper articles, just when he was due to be released after completing an 18 year sentence for murder. Recent photos show a skeleton draped in flesh which, doctors say, could die any day now.
Not according to the COPE, though, which claimed that De Juana Chaos was nothing but a cynical showman who was taking the mickey out of the honest Spanish public by secretly living the life of Riley, with 'all kinds of very special privileges'. I suddenly realised that millions of listeners were being pscyhologically groomed to welcome, even to desire, the judiciary-sponsered euthanasia of a Basque prisoner. This sort of low-intensity hatemongering, what's more, will as good as ensure that De Juana's death will set off an unprecedented spate of political slander, street violence, gerrymandered trials and general overall nastiness in both Euskadi and Spain.
The COPE having been momentarily silenced and my destination reached, I politely thanked the driver for the journey, and he politely thanked me for the tip. In Catalonia, at least, we are all still pretending to be nice to each other.