I’m just back from a trip to the lands of Friul (Northeast of the Italian State). Among the reactions of the people who came to hear my talks on the Catalan Referendum, scheduled for October 1st, that of Sergio Cecotti was specially significant. Not only for what he said but for the influence he has in the public eye: indeed, he enjoys a remarkable ancestry there for he was mayor of the capital of Friul, Udine, and head of the government of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Today he is the leader of the Convergence party for Friul.
After my speech, on Radio Spazio 103 (the first radio in the Frisian language), Cecotti reminded us that he had attended, in the 1980s, some international conferences that I had organized, on behalf of CIEMEN. He said that he had been impressed by my speech on the future of stateless nations in the new Europe that was being built. In that speech I defended the Europe of Peoples or Nations as opposed to the Europe of States. My words, “said Cecotti,” were a forecast for the future. The Europe of Peoples or Nations is still in a preliminary phase, while the Europe of the States has been articulating a Europe that does not represent the new Europe dreamed of by its founders, founded on the coexistence and solidarity of its citizens and their respective Peoples. It has become the continuation of a Europe of divisions and confrontations, as throughout history, so many misfortunes and destructions being caused. The good words about European unity now spoken by state governments -Cecotti regretted- hide the struggles for the hegemony of some States over others. This Europe, in any case, does not have a desirable future, so today there is a deep crisis of identity caused by the state governments that are unable to respect how the individual rights of citizens and collective ones of nations should be.
It is necessary to promote, now more than ever –insisted Cecotti- the “other” Europe. It is what the Catalan people are doing, in an exemplary way – peacefully and democratically- with its option for exercising one of the basic rights of humanity, that is the right to self-determination of nations. The reactions of the representatives of the Spanish State in the face of this will, is a clear exemple of the Europe we do not want. Instead of welcoming it a step forward for all, the Spanish government threatens, prosecutes, forbids what the Catalan people, with so much courage, is about to do.
If the Spanish government continues with its reactionary attitude -warned Cecotti- it will be judged by history as an exemple of democratic inconsistancy and a lack of vision as regards the construction of a future Europe.
Luckily –concluded Cecotti- the persecution now being suffered by Catalonia will be converted by the Catalans into an alternative for liberation and hope for all the citizens and nations of Europe.
President of the Platform for the Right to Decide
Emeritus President of CIEMEN