Joint letter from Catalan Political Prisoners and Exiles, on National Day

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Photo: Pro-independence marchers on September 11th, 2017, in Barcelona


From September 9th, 2018, Mas d’Enric Prison, Puig de les Basses Prison, Lledoners Prison, Geneva, Brussels and Saint Andrews

The unfolding scenario of prolonged repression and the memory of October 1st 2018 have made for an absolutely exceptional “Diada” this Eleventh of September. We are convinced that, far from the will of those who would like us to give up, this Tuesday we will live a day of collective vindication, dignity and self-esteem, united in plurality, as we have always done in the great mobilizations our country has undertaken.

We plan once again to fill the streets of Barcelona in a peaceful and cross-cutting exercise of self-determination. Despite repression, exile and imprisonment, we are aware that it is time to strengthen consensus in our country and, as we have always done, strengthen the feeling of shared belonging, without falling victim to provocation from those who want us to be victimized and divided.

We are heirs of anti-Franco fighters and live the legacy of Catalanism, sovereignty and independentism, who have always worked to enrich the collective imagination of the country, based on empathy and without asking for anyone to resign their origins, be they linguistic or identity.

And it is thanks to this effort that in the past, we provided a unified and exemplary response to the cuts announced to the Catalan Statute by the Spanish government almost a decade ago, a strong “No to war”, the defense of our territory, the unanimous cry of “We want to welcome refugees” and the rejection of terrorism. And most recently, especially, our collective response to the unwarranted violence by the Spanish state and security forces during the referendum on self-determination.

For all these reasons:

We demand freedom, because its retreat is now very visible in Spain. Thousands of people are victims of the “gag law” and many others see our rights and freedoms seriously cut due to politicized action and disproportionate action by some high-ranking officials of the police forces, the prosecutor’s office and the courts. We defend freedom as a guarantee of social cohesion in Europe. Defending freedom today in Catalonia is to defend it in Madrid, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Prague or Istanbul.

We demand justice, because in our cases there has been no crime committed and we will fight for our freedom and the return home of all exiles and prisoners. While Europe asserts itself in a clear way, some members of Spanish justice have descended into an uncontrolled crusade that is incapable of standing up to the judicial systems of countries such as Germany, Scotland, Switzerland or Belgium. Absolution is the only answer we expect.

We demand democracy, because we have always wanted to do as Scotland did, and today we reiterate our commitment to dialogue, as we have always done, a dialogue that must be sincere, honest, open, without preconditions or limits, where we can talk about everything in the framework of coexistence and mutual respect. And, although it is true that we do not rule out anything as long as it is peaceful and democratic, any proposal by the government of Pedro Sánchez must respect the majority will of the people of Catalonia.

We defend the idea of the Catalan Republic, as a legitimate and democratic determination of the many wills expressed in the streets and the ballots in favor of rights and freedoms, that bring us together into a fairer, more sensitive and tolerant world that is more modern, more cultured and confronts challenges with the togetherness of fellow citizens and resists intransigence and violence. These are the rights and freedoms that we are convinced will be guaranteed in a democratic Republic and be rights for all. Despite the high walls or the kilometers of distance, we speak to you from a place of serenity and determination. We are held by the spirit of dignity and courage of every ‘Diada’ and that each one of you has upheld since we entered prison or went into exile.

Today, we once again reaffirm our commitment to convince and not victimize, to build and not to fracture, to discuss and not to impose. As Pedrolo said: “Between intransigence and weakness, emerges flexibility”. Without compromise which will dilute our case, we commit to make every effort to find a route to a democratically effective Republic, which is dignified, and peaceful on October 1st.

We do so with the tranquility of knowing that all of this is being done convivially in such a way that no one will be left anyone behind, and that these two conditions will lead us to the full freedom of all the citizens of this country, regardless of where they were born, or where they come from.

La Diagonal is a wide boulevard which can accommodate everyone. Because the rights that we reclaim belong to all and because difference is the indispensable condition we must accept and incorporate as a society, in order to advance democratically.

We call on trade unions, employers’ associations, professional colleges, third sector entities and the whole Catalan society to be involved in the defense of universal rights and freedoms. Those rights which we had to win back in the streets, by defying the Franco regime, which made neighborhoods grow and contributed to economic progress and that we have revindicated without fear every time injustice has appeared in some corner of the world, or at home.

This Eleventh of September we fill Barcelona with freedom, justice, democracy and republic. Thank you for always being there and for persevering. We will not let you down.


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