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10/10: Being a victim helps a lot when playing the victim

If you’re being pursued, it is much easier to have a persecution complex

Catalanism is often accused of playing the victim. It’s not the only case.


On the dramatic side, the Jewish people were accused of playing the victim, after the Holocaust. On the frivolous side, Barça was so accused whenever it complained of Guruceta-style refereeing (1).

Now it’s in vogue to use this word to refer to President Mas, in light of his court appearance on 15 October, the anniversary of the execution of former Catalan President Companys by firing squad.

When I hear the term, applied to some situations, it reminds me of dialogue in a movie (or perhaps more than one). A psychologist detects a persecution complex in a patient, and the patient replies: I may have a persecution complex, but I’m also being followed.

And in the screenplay, it’s true. What I’m trying to say is that if you’re being pursued, it is much easier to have a persecution complex. I don’t know what degree of happiness pro-Catalan people feel in talking about the attacks that they receive (the most classic one being the accusation of Nazism or totalitarianism). But the attacks do exist. I don’t know what political effect the court appearance of President Mas might have. But in any case, it was not him who decided to go and testify, nor him who chose the date. Before accusing someone of playing the victim, first you’d better make sure that they aren’t actually one.
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(1) N.T. Guruceta’s biased refereeing in the 1970s Spanish football league is still a painful memory for many Barça fans in Catalonia.