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Back to Prohibido criticar a Daniela M.

Alejandro Navas, Professor of Sociology, University of Navarra, Spain

It is forbidden to criticize Daniela M.

Mon, 30 May 2011 10:54:34 +0000 Posted in Today (Madrid)

Born in Croatia in 1975, Daniela Matijevic grew up in Germany. After finishing teaching high school, she enlisted in the Army, in the Health Corps. In 1999, she was sent to Kosovo, where she spent four months. She worked as a medical worker, engaged in rescue work, and also as an interpreter. She returned to Germany, and after four years in the army, she left the military. Marked by the Kosovo experience, sample she develops symptoms attributable to post-traumatic stress: headaches, insomnia and difficulty concentrating. Various medical treatments fail to alleviate her suffering. Logically, this condition prevents him from returning to normal civilian life. He tried to study medicine, with the illusion of becoming an anesthesiologist, but was unable to progress. He had to give up his professional dream and still could not find a stable work .

Years go by and after several attempts to get her life back on track, Daniela tries her luck as a writer. She writes the draft of a novel, largely inspired by her Kosovar experience. As is characteristic of almost every first-time writer, she pours much of her own biographical background into her story. The publishing house suggests him to turn the novel into a non-fiction story, with the air of a reportage. This is what he does, and in 2010 'Hubiera podido vivir con el infierno' is published. The book was an immediate success. It vividly reflects the horrors of war, with terrible scenes. Apart from the inevitable murders and rapes of children, he tells, for example, how the members of his unit were forced to kill a dog and eat it, driven by hunger.

The author becomes very popular and the media scramble to interview her. She soon becomes a regular visitor on talk shows and magazines. As the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper writes: "Perhaps her book is so exciting because the author is a woman, and from her female perspective the war seems even more brutal".

So much noise attracts the attention of people who were also in Kosovo at that time, that they are quick to denounce the fictitious character of these tremendous episodes. In addition to the fabrications, there are numerous gross errors in the text, such as, for example, making the population of Serbia Catholic. The same goes for his allusions of subject historical, that reveal a deep ignorance of the reality of the Balkans. It seems that, in the end, Daniela did not manage to jump cleanly from fiction to reality.

The scandal should have been served, but the critics are holding back. In the opinion of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the newspaper that ventured to denounce the fraud, this suspicious silence is due to the triple condition of the author: woman, immigrant and lesbian. Anyone who dares to expose her set-up is therefore exposed to the triple reproach of machismo, xenophobia and homophobia: too much of an attack on political correctness. In the meantime, Daniela has been pushed into the background, not by the truth, but by events in Japan and North Africa.

The prevalence of these stereotypes, which shape "political correctness", is not unique to Germany. It is observed in a similar way in all Western countries. A kind of unwritten law indicates what can and cannot be said. I remember a TV3 program, La nit al dia, in which four humorists, inconoclastic and groundbreaking, agreed in recognizing that there is no longer censorship, but at the same time they cannot make jokes about homosexual and feminist groups: "You cannot make jokes about them, because then you have to justify that you are not against them, and they give you touches, and there is a line publishing house.". On the other hand, they added, there has long been no problem in making jokes about the pope and the bishops.

In addition, there are laws that reinforce this climate of opinion of selective gagging. For example, the 'Integral Law for the equality of attention and non-discrimination', currently being prepared by our Government, points in this direction. The text of the preliminary draft gives off an unmistakable censorious odor. At the rate we are going, daring to say that the king is naked, as in the classic tale adapted by Andersen, may become a heroic deed.