|Barça, the reflection of political abnormality|
|per Víctor Alexandre|
|dilluns, 28 agost 2006|
Catalonia is the land of repeated questions. Our inability to solve our problems over the course of centuries has caused us to continuously debate questions that normalized communities have long overcome. We ask ourselves, day after day, about our identity, our language, our rights, our symbols... This alone, the simple need to break free from this vicious circle, could already justify the reclaiming of our political independence. Barça, of course, is not beyond this issue; rather, as the years go by, the debate about its extra (more than just athletic) dimension has not changed. And it doesn’t matter that Barça has been shown to be more than a simple club, with evidence expounded by different thinkers in articles, books, or doctoral theses. It doesn’t matter because our collective immaturity leads us to endlessly ruminate on the same themes, so that we seem to be reflecting when in reality we are only buying time so that we can avoid making any decisions.
And so, let’s say it again: Barça is more than just a football club because it represents a nation without a state, a people who lack legal recognition and an international presence. This is how it was during Franco’s reign and this is how it continues in the supposed Spanish State of autonomies. It is logical, then, that Barça continues to be vessel into which we channel all of our frustrations. Their victories are our victories, and their defeats our defeats. This explains why a million people took to the streets to thank the team for attaining the League of Champions, but it also demonstrates our extreme degree of infantilization; we don’t realize that this joyous outburst is caused by the very same element that we experienced under Franco: Catalonian subordination to Spain.
It’s true that there has been a “re-Catalanization” of Barça since the arrival of president Joan Laporta. Without him, Joel Joan would never have been able to cry out “Long live free Catalonia!” from the center of the stadium, nor would there have been a Correllengua such as the one held last year. But Catalonians have failed to move on to adult subjects, and this same lack of maturity and social recognition, as paradoxical as it seems, has helped construct the base of Barça’s extra-dimensional relevance. That is to say, the greatness of the club, and the importance that we attribute to it, are inseparable from our political abnormality. Barça is more than a club because we are less than a nation. If we could realize that independence is not a privilege but a right, and that we don’t need to ask, but to exercise, we would also realize that the team’s victories are a poisoned apple that distances us from our national responsibilities. And it is these—not a sports club—that we must rally to internationally display the Catalan nation.
Until this happens, Barça will be submissive to all kinds of pressure. Remember, for example, the presence of the King of Spain and of Spanish prime minister Rodriguez Zapatero sitting in the box of the stadium in Saint-Denis in Paris, as the president of Catalonia—who had not even been invited—was left behind; or the suppression of the players’ speeches on the day of the celebration in Camp Nou. It goes without saying that it wasn’t the game that really interested the King of Spain or Zapatero, but the message that their presence sent to the world: that Barça is a Spanish club and that their triumphs and trophies are Spanish as well. As for the celebratory speeches, the company in charge of sound has explained that there were five microphones available and their equipment was in perfect condition. This claim, naturally, shed clear light on the political pressures—internal and external—that the club received to avoid the danger that someone might say “no” to the fraud of the Statute or make some reference, direct or indirect, to the Catalan Contries. All of this leads us to note that the “re-Catalanization” of FC Barcelona, as vibrant as it seems, can hardly turn the club something that it isn’t: an authentic national selection.
Lluita , June-July 2006 (Catalan)
Racó Català , 8/29/2006 (Catalan)
Eurotribune.net , 8/30/2006 (Catalan, English, Spanish, French)
radiocatalunya.ca , 8/30/2006 (Catalan)