Former Catalan vice president and elected MP Oriol Junqueras remains a political prisoner at Estremera jail. A letter to his children, to whom he is only allowed to see for two hours once a month

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A letter from Oriol Junqueras to his children

A letter to my children

Today I have been two hours with my children. I probably won’t see them again for a month.  The rule here says that children (be they younger or older) can only see their parents two hours a month. These sort of norms, used as an excuse to punish the father, punish the children with even more intensity.

If the objective of imprisonment is to punish the father, the law saying that the objective of prison is not punishment but reinsertion, surely many other measures can be taken to avoid punishing his children. For example, an imprisoned father can have one hour less (or more) outdoors or of library use, or other similar limitations. But, what is the sense of giving the children, who are innocent, only two hours a month to see their father?

Here, at least today, I will deliberately avoid differentiating between preventive or penal inmates, because I have a feeling, right or not, that at this moment, it would be superfluous.

Limiting the children’s visit to only two hours a month is so unnecessary (and so difficult to understand and justify). I hope, even if it is asking too much, I am convinced, that all the readers who are parents will understand my need to explain myself to my children, and with your permission, I will do so:

My children, maybe, fortunately, you are too young to understand why you can only see your father two hours a month. Perhaps your father will not be able to see how you learn to read or write. But you will learn with people who will lovingly compensate this absence. In such a way that, one day, you will be able to read this letter, that your father is writing now, after being with you for two hours. Only two hours.

I want you to know that I have dedicated my life to studying and to research, to writing, teaching and politically representing my fellow citizens. I have taken courses in four graduate programs, I have two Master’s degrees, and a Doctoral thesis. I have given manifold lectures to students from eleven different university degrees. I have written dozens and dozens of revealing articles, participated in hundreds of radio programs, research articles and numerous books.

I have undertaken these assignments during short and long visits to Rome, to the Vatican’s secret Archives, to Cuba, Brussels, Strasbourg, Tokyo, etc. As a professor, speaker, writer and political representative, I have always spoken, written and acted in defence of justice and human dignity. Always and without exception.

And this is how it is, because, just as an infinite number of people will testify, your father is a good person. An honest hard working person who loves people and goodwill with all his might. And, amidst this love, he loves you and your mother the most.

Now I cannot demonstrate this love to you as I’d wish to, and as you undoubtedly deserve. But this absence, this emptiness, will be overfilled by many mothers and fathers, by good people everywhere, who, aware of the truth, will have you in their prayers, their thoughts, their greetings, gestures and actions. Because they know, they understand that you father is committed to love and dignity, and they will never allow you to go without.

I direct myself to all of them, with infinite confidence and with the absolute certainty that they will search for happiness with you, because in the eyes of God and Humanity, have no doubt that we are fully justified in the persistence of doing good, despite the difficulty.

I love you as all fathers love their children…and with all modesty, I think I love you even more.