Fiction has been a resource of humanity to tell, in another way, what happens, what has happened and what can happen. To make it more accessible, perhaps less vulnerable to censorship, and to overcome the difficulties of a system that gives more power to those who already have it. The latest issue of the elDiario.es magazine, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the medium, compiles 10 stories by 10 authors who focus on matters of special gravity and urgency in as many stories. From racism to precariousness, from memory to the climate emergency. Current challenges that do not always find the echo that perhaps they deserve. Those who have been among the banners of elDiario.es since its foundation.
The elDiario.es anniversary festival kicks off: “You have to be very transparent with readers”
Four of these authors have participated this Thursday in the opening day of the Festival organized by elDiario.es in Valencia to commemorate their first decade of life and which will run until next Sunday. “We can’t just sit back and see what the next disaster is going to be,” said Belén Gopegui, one of the speakers at a discussion moderated by the journalist Gumersindo Lafuente, editor of the magazine. The writer from Madrid has been accompanied by Isaac Rosa, Gabriela Wiener and Paco Cerdá.
Gopegui and Wiener have agreed on a central idea: society considers important what is talked about in the media. “Spain is a racist country, where the media unfiltered reproduce the messages of the right and the extreme right, highly haters of migrants,” said the Peruvian writer residing in Spain. “There is a dehumanizing vision of the migrant. Why people migrate is not counted, the colonialism behind it is not counted. They only call us to talk about racism, racialized people are not hired, migration is not covered very much ”, she has denounced.
Wiener draws in his story an imaginary line between a son of the last Inca king, Túpac Amaru, who becomes, after the death of his father during the Castilian colonization, “the first unaccompanied child who arrived in Spain and died in a prison in Lavapiés at 30 years old”. A story that mixes ancient sacred dances with the current situation of people who leave their country to try to improve their living conditions in others. “Latinas and Sudacas are treated with an infantilizing, paternalistic affection. Always from above. It is the discourse that is handled in the media” that offer “a dehumanizing vision of the migrant”.
The writer, collaborator of elDiario.es, has made a plea to redirect the discourse of the media in the face of the advance of the most extreme ideas: “To make Spain truly great, not that great Spain that the fascists want.”
Fiction can also serve as a vaccine against the internalization of certain realities that, in addition, we transfer from parents to children naturally, almost without realizing it. “It’s a narrative device to see precariousness,” said Isaac Rosa, a Sevillian writer who has written for elDiario.es since it was founded. In her story, she recalls a visit she made with her daughter to a theme park where the children “play at work, compete with each other for the best jobs,” receive “play money in exchange” that they can, and should, use later. within the premises itself.
A place that exists and where, Rosa explained, you can see “the precariousness” that permeates society. “Precariousness has been inserted into our lives and reaches housing, health, motherhood and fatherhood,…”. “I am concerned about how we teach children that this is natural. I am worried that we are beginning to stop seeing precariousness, that we accept it as the new normality”, she added, to regret that not even for the youngest, because they make up “a generation of precarious natives”.
Paco Cerdá: “Memory as a refuge”
Belén Gopegui seeks in her story the relationship between the predictable and the unpredictable. What is foreseeable is, for example, “a crisis of resources” that turns into “a war”. But the unpredictable is worse, precisely because we do not know what humanity can face in a context of climate emergency, the central theme of his story.
For this reason, he stated, “we cannot sit quietly and see what the next disaster is going to be.” And that lack of movement has, in his opinion, a reason: “There is a bestial offensive from the right and I join Gabriela: the media constantly put the loudspeaker on her and stop putting on many things that are happening.” “People cannot vote for what they do not know”, she pointed out, to ask “to give more existence to practices of solidarity, of organization to improve”.
It is not about giving voice to an idea and its opposite in the media, but about “showing other practices to show what the opposite leads to”, by mainstream communication that, as Lafuente has pointed out, focuses on an “individualistic discourse” with which it is installed “that it is bad to pay taxes”. Something that, he has continued, today “is frowned upon” “They can even call you a communist for saying something that is in the spirit of the Constitution”, he has said with irony. “I wouldn’t worry about being called a communist either, it seems to me an honor rather than an insult,” Gopegui also sneered.
“Between the political will and the capacity for action there is a great task. The capacity for action is only obtained with many people. The right has the capacity for action because he has many means, we and we have the number. If we don’t give space to that number to be seen, if we don’t unite the thousand different fights in one, in the end the one that is on top will continue to be, ”he has exposed.
The colloquium has been closed by Paco Cerdà, a journalist who changed the nib for the pen and switched to literature. His story for the anniversary magazine of elDiario.es delves into the need to have historical and democratic memory. And that is why he flees from fiction to recount a real event whose protagonist is a post-war maquis who was arrested and imprisoned by the Franco regime and who tries to show in the letters he sends to his family a reality far removed from the one he lives in his day to day in prison.
But memory is dangerous. “The past must serve as a guide to a better present”, said Cerdá, who also warned of the drive to turn it into “a refuge in the absence of a future”. “Things are bad, people don’t know what’s going to happen and people shelter in memory, in the safe values that part of the left likes so much,” he pointed out.
In other words, he has warned: “Take refuge in the safe value of memory and give up building that new future, those utopias that are more screwed up than ever.”
Watch the full colloquium: