Exactly one day after the Spanish government took action to strike down the new 9-N, ten famous personalities have signed a petition by Ara és l'Hora ("Now is the Time") asking that Catalans be allowed to vote. The list includes Nobel Peace Prize winner and Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, as well as Argentine pacifist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.
According to the document, "to prevent Catalans from voting appears to contradict the principles that inspire democratic societies". Eight other personalities have signed the statement: film-maker Ken Loach, Dutch sociologist Saskia Sassen (professor at Columbia University), prolific Irish writer Colm Tóibí, American literary critic Harold Bloom (professor at Yale University), producer and Irish activist Bill Shipsey (founder of Art for Amnesty International), historian and British Hispanist Paul Preston (professor at the LSE) and American diplomat Ambler Moss, former US ambassador.
They all insist that "the best way to resolve legitimate internal differences is to use the tools of democracy" and that's why they urge the Spanish and Catalan governments to "work together to allow the citizens of Catalonia to vote on their political future". In fact, all ten personalities agree that "a large majority of Catalans" have repeatedly expressed this wish and point to the Scottish and Quebec precedents as examples to be followed.
The document is an initiative by a group of people led by Eduard Vallory --chair of the Unesco Centre of Catalonia-- who are active internationally.