Tuesday November 2nd marked the third anniversary of the Spanish state’s decision to jail several members of the democratically-elected Catalan government, myself included. Much like 23rd March 2018, when we were imprisoned again —although this time with the Speaker of the Catalan parliament—, November 2nd was an outrage perpetrated by a demophobic state and an extremely testing day for us.
Unfortunately, three years later it looks as if I may be going back to my prison cell. Although it comes as no surprise, it is no less painful. The legal onslaught and the crackdown are relentless. They won’t let up in their efforts to silence and defeat Catalonia’s pro-independence movement by making an example of us, even though our political pursuit is democratic and civic-minded in nature. Only last week we had a new example of police and judicial persecution, following a string of convictions against Catalan leaders. Yet our desire to persevere, to carry on and bring together millions of people will not falter and will prevail in the face of repression.
There is no doubt in my mind that we are being jailed, thrown in a prison cell and stripped of our freedom because of our political beliefs. However, our beliefs are strong, very strong. Spending our days in a prison cell will not shake them, like it didn’t before. On the contrary, we will come out stronger in our republican and pro-independence conviction, our desire to build a fairer country where social inequality is not a given, a society that is not gripped by sexism, where environmental issues top the agenda and, above all, where freedom isn’t curtailed. Ours will be be country where people aren’t under the boot of outdated institutions, monitored through the rule of force instead of reason, reflection and thought.
Despite these testing times that we are living through, when civil rights are trampled on amid a major public health, social and economic crisis, we must keep on fighting and devote our efforts to garnering new support. We cannot allow ourselves to drop our guard when there is a chance for the far right, fascism, islamophobia, sexism, homophobia and the erosion of social rights to make any headway.
Likewise, we cannot drop our guard when it comes to standing up for our rights and liberties. Above all, the Spanish state must understand that the current stalemate will remain in place until the conflict with Catalonia is approached democratically. The general public, 80 per cent of the Catalan people, have made it clear that they want a referendum and they cannot be ignored.
For this reason a political amnesty for the 2,850 people who have been prosecuted would provide an exit route out of today’s repressive, judicial dead end.
We will persevere! There is no turning back from our journey to independence, to the Catalan Republic, to liberty. None of this will be in vain and I am certain that, sooner or later, we will get to our destination.