IT IS PRECISELY WHAT THE CATALAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT HAS BEEN CALLING FOR THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN AND CONTINUE TO BE INDELIBLY MARKED BY IT
Many Catalans will feel vindicated by the recent speech given by Irish Euro MP Clare Daly to the European Parliament. It feels necessary to reproduce it here:
“When I heard that there was a debate on the rule of law in Spain, I thought great, is this about State surveillance on journalists and politicians with Pegasus? Is it undercover police tactics involving intimate sexual relationships with activists to infiltrate social movements? Is it people having their eyes mutilated by Spanish police rubber bullets? Or singers being sent to jail or exile for their lyrics? But no, of course not, as usual it is about Catalonia and amnesty for people who should never have faced persecution in the first place. Have you any idea how pathetic this looks to people outside of here? This is a political issue. Political dialogue is something that Spain has lacked for years, resorting instead to abusing a judicial system known for its dubious independence. Self-determination and an end to political persecution are nothing but basic democratic demands guaranteed by the charter and I support them…” before continuing in Catalan with “Hi ha massa gent aqui amb un greu prejudici contra Catalunya,…” (There are too many people here with a serious prejudice against Catalonia,…)
Although her microphone was cut off by the speaker at this point, Ms Daly has previous when it comes to speaking in Catalan in the chamber. According to La Vanguardia, in 2020 she quoted a Catalan translation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, saying:
“Si la llibertat significa en el fons alguna cosa, és el dret d’explicar a la gent allò que no volen sentir (If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear)”, while also stating “it is obvious that there is [sic] people in here who do not want to hear about Catalonia”.
Well, bravo Ms Daly, has to be my response to all that. It is precisely what the Catalan independence movement has been calling for since the Spanish judicial system deemed it fit to charge and then imprison Catalan politicians for holding a vote on self-determination. Why is this undemocratic behaviour, sorry, that should read anti-democratic behaviour by an EU member state being tolerated? How can it be that an attempt to hold a vote is punished with imprisonment on the charge of sedition? It doesn’t hold up, and never has, to any rational scrutiny, unless we understand the democratic process itself as being seditious in nature.
It actually feels kind of bizarre to still be talking about all this at the gates to 2024, but of course, for those involved in the whole affair, their lives have been and continue to be indelibly marked by it, so it should not be allowed to disappear slowly from the public imagination. With right-wing populists still gaining popularity around Europe, we need MEPs like Ms Daly to constantly remind the European Parliament, and indeed European society as a whole, that our freedoms cannot be taken for granted.