|Now it is Brussels' turn|
|per Víctor Alexandre|
|diumenge, 10 setembre 2006|
[Speech the day before the National Day of Catalonia 2006 at Fossar de les Moreres, a place dedicated to those who died defending the rights and constitutions of Catalonia in the siege of Barcelona in 1714.]
There is no growth without pain. All individual or collective learning, maturing and emancipating processes are slow, difficult and full of deception moments. The history proves that nearly all big political, scientific or social steps forwards are preceded by one or several delays. It is improbable that a fully achieved milestone did not require the intelligence of taking a step backwards in the appropriate moment. And this is like that because there are no straight lines in the ways of life. Every human milestone is unreachable without the capacity of recognising the own limitations. And it is well known that we Catalans have our limitations. Some of them are idiosyncratic, are part of our nature, some others are the result of adversity, of specific events. Moreover, these limitations are not another enemy for our national subordination, although it may seem so, because those who want to subordinate us also have limitations; those who think that they are better than us and that we cannot decide for ourselves are inevitably subordinated to our nature. This is the wise irony of life, which reminds us not only of our vulnerability but also of the one of our enemies.
But today I do not want to talk about the external enemies but about the enemy that we Catalans have inside us. It is the most dangerous enemy because it cannot be seen and, even if we saw it, we would be unable to recognise it, because it has our own face. This enemy has a name: deception. A deception which we, sometimes in an unaware way, spread all over as the idea according to which we will never achieve anything because “Spain and France will never want to…”, because “Spain and France will never admit…”, because “Spain and France will never let us…”.
We have to remove this negativity from our brains for several reasons. I will mention three of them. First: because giving up before the end of the match is a sign of infantilism, low self esteem and distrust toward our own possibilities. This does not mean that infantilism is bad, infantilism is not bad in a child, but it is unhealthy and pathetic if it is the image of a people which boasts about having three thousand years of history. Second: because the more we insist on the impossibility of national independence the more the false certainty of this impotence grows inside us. Independence is not a prize that an omnipotent father has to give us for good behaviour, independence is a right that every human being exercises when he or she reaches adulthood or that every national group exercises when it gains consciousness that equality between peoples is not possible without the respect for their singularity. And third: because the energy that we spend with victimism or justifying ourselves moves us further and further away from maturity. And the maturity of a people is shown by the rejection of this people to subordinate the will of its Parliament to the one of another Parliament.
Without any doubt, we have recently been victims of a historic fraud, a fraud called Statute, which will soon be judged by history, but we should not get discouraged. We should not do it because there is nothing in this world which is intrinsically good or bad. And not only because the nature does not make moral judgement or because the rain is never welcome by everybody, but because many acts that we consider negative end up being fairly positive. It is evident that, in order for it to happen, it is necessary to know how to positivate adversity. And the positive part of the Statute is that Spain is definitely naked.
In fact, no matter what they say, there is no new Statute, because a Statute which does not recognise the Catalan nation, which does not end with the fiscal plundering, which does not consider the economic agreement, which does not admit the management of our ports and airports, which does not force to label in Catalan all the products manufactured or distributed in Catalonia and which denies the right to hold referendums, to have national teams and to exercise democratically the right of self-determination is a Statute in favour of the Spanish interests and, therefore, a Statute against the interests of Catalonia.
Do not we realise that the fact that Catalonia is ruled by a Statute is a contradiction? Do not we realise that “nation” and “Stature” are contradictory terms? Adult nations do not have Statute, they have Constitution. And where is the Catalan Constitution? Where is the document which guarantees its legal status? Where is document which makes it equal in rights and duties to the other sovereign nations of the world? We do not have it, because the attempt of our neighbours to turn southern Catalans into Spanish and northern Catalans into French has not changed along the time. In every political cycle, different governments are born and die, in Spain and in France, some of them are right-wing ones, and some other call themselves left-wing governments, but all of them, absolutely all of them, have a common aim: the disappearance of the Catalan people as a differentiated national identity.
This is why I, today, here and in this day full of symbolism, propose again and formally the unity of the Catalan pro-independence movement, overcoming our differences until the day after the independence and concentrating our energies in the internationalisation of our conflict. Our loudspeakers should not be the streets of Barcelona, Valencia, Fraga or Perpignan, and even less the ones of Madrid or Paris, our loudspeakers should be the streets of Brussels, because only there, in the capital of the European Union, is where our claims will have an international echo. The demonstrations which took place on February 18 in Barcelona and on April 1 in Bilbao were indeed a great success, but they already are history. Now it is Brussels’ turn, it is Strasbourg’s turn. The next massive demonstration to claim for a nation has to be a demonstration in which Catalans and Basque are united, and it has to take place in front of the European institutions, because as Europeans it is there where we have to remind the Democrats of any part of the world that the General Assembly of the United Nations endorsed a resolution according to which “the right of every people and nation to decide for itself is a previous condition to the implementation of all the fundamental rights of the human being”.
Therefore, my proposal is to work to regain the spirit of unity of the demonstration held on February 18, because that unity is the secret of our freedom. If we do not dare to overcome the differences that divide us, if we are not able to consider Catalonia more important than our personal or differences or the interests of the parties, Catalonia will never regain its independence. No more fights between us, no more waste of energy in internal discussions or measuring the amount of legitimacy of each of us. Catalonia goes first, and if we really love it there is no doubt that we want it to be free. But this freedom will not be possible if we are not willing to admit that the important thing is not to have a left-wing, centre-wing, communist, anarchist or conservative Catalonia, but to have a free Catalonia which can decide what it wants to be. According to this principle, I propose you to concentrate our energy in the aim of reaching the cohesion of the nations without State in the European Union, a cohesion of nations which only has a voice in the Parliament of Strasbourg. This means, therefore, cohesion in Catalonia and cohesion in the Catalan Countries, cohesion with the Basque Country and Galicia, with Scotland, Wales, Flanders, Corsica, Britanny, Northern Ireland… This means, in the end, unity in our aims and our criteria to reach them. This is the key of our force, and the day we use it, it will be so powerful that we will not be able to believe that we had not thought about such a simple thing before.
France and Spain are at the end of their imperial history. It does not matter that they do not realise it, or that they do not want to, the fact is that their vital cycle is ending, and with its end, another cycle will be born, which will be the antithesis of this one, because it will be defined by the decrease of imperial States and the increase of the little peoples. And do not doubt that the Catalan Countries will have their place among these peoples.
Berria , 9/15/2006 (Basque)
Nabarralde , 9/15/2006 (Spanish)
Racó Català , 9/19/2006 (Catalan)
Eurotribune.net , 9/26/2006 (Catalan, English, Spanish, French)