The World’s responsibility to Catalonia
Author: Vicent Partal
Source: Vilaweb English
The referendum on independence to be held November 9th is a do or die situation for Catalonia. It will have a tremendous impact on the rest of the Catalan Countries and on what today comprises the Spanish State. Indeed, the Catalan peopleâ€™s vote, and the circumstances in which it will take place, will be decisive for the whole of Europe and perhaps beyond as well. It is not only our own future that is in play.
The Catalan people have demonstrated civil, democratic, multicultural, and positive unity that cannot be ignored. The Catalan Way in September is a perfect example. And the Catalan political parties have been able to rise to the challenge, for example with the important agreement made this past December between the two governing parties along with the principal opposition party, and two additional groups that together were able to join forces in order to officially call for the referendum. Catalans from Christian-Democrats to anti-capitalists have come together, a range that I don’t think could have taken place today in any other place on earth. And both the civil society and the political classes want to vote together this 2014 on our independence and we want the world to respect and to recognize whatever democratic decision comes from the people as a whole.
We consider democracy to be a universal and non-negotiable value. Spain denies us the right to vote with the argument that such a vote is not permitted under its current constitution. In 21st century Europe, that argument simply holds no water. If the Spanish government believes that it can hold on to Catalonia by force against its will in a situation clearly detrimental to its health, it is quite mistaken. In the last few years, Catalonia has tried repeatedly to negotiate with the Spanish State to end the abuse that has undermined and clearly endangered the self-government agreed upon after coming out of Francoism. Madrid has said no to everything and continues to say no to everything as it simultaneously drags the whole of Spanish society decades back into the past. The controversy over the recent criminalization of abortion, the ominous resurgence of fascist and Nazi symbols, and the monstruous legal reform being prepared by the People’s Party to restrict freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and freedom of demonstration cannot be understated.
We Catalans want to live in a better democracy and we know that we are capable of constructing one. But above all, we want to live our own freedom. And this is a desire that the rest of the world cannot remain indifferent to without their indifference endangering their very own freedom as well as their democratic integrity. Democracy cannot be limited by laws and less still by laws conditioned by a military regime, as was the case with the Spanish Constitution of 1979. The world has, once again, a responsibility to Catalonia and to its democracy and we invite you now to exercise that responsibility. With the honor that History, with a capital H, always requires.