The world has seen it: their violence, our determination

The world has seen it. The world has seen a Spanish State that has lost all its sense of shame, that responded with force and violence to defenseless citizens, old and young, who wanted to vote. And the world has seen a people with dignity who, despite police harassment, have not renounced their rights, nor reacted to provocation: a people who have voted in the midst of immense difficulties. The world has seen how David defeated Goliath, how the people of Catalonia, peaceful and profoundly democratic, have fiercely defended their right to decide, to live in freedom. The world has seen how the Spanish government has degraded an already weakened democracy, tainting it with the blood of innocent people. Yes, the Catalans have won in an unjust, unequal fight, a democratic battle against a government that says it is democratic but acts with authoritarianism, incapable of understanding that in 21st century Europe there is no place for so much arrogance, for so much disdain for basic rights, no place for confusing the rule of law with the right to crush dissidence, to try to wipe out a national minority by force and by viewing its ideas as crimes. Catalonia and its government have won respect: they have taken a giant step towards deciding freely, a firm step for maintaining social cohesion and resisting unjustifiable aggression. Because yesterday Catalan society, beyond just the independence movement, experienced with stupor and indignation a gratuitous brutality, in no way proportional --yes, absolutely disproportionate: more than 800 injured!-- , and it emerged more united. Yesterday, coexistence with Spain was ripped apart, undoubtedly: but it was done by those who, irresponsibly, sent security forces against a society that has always known how to manage its own diversity without confrontation.

Spain has taken a giant step too, but a giant step backwards by losing the slight legitimacy given to it by the people of Catalonia, and surely also losing a good deal of the democratic credit that it had in the world. The international community will be an essential player in the Catalan case from this point forward. A player that can no longer tolerate the failure of the Rajoy government, which yesterday was made visible in the most dramatic way, the failure of not knowing how to politically confront a politically unchallengeable reality in Catalonia: the desire to decide on its future by voting. Simply voting.

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