On Saturday President Mas signed the decree calling the consultation on the possibility of Catalonia becoming an independent state. The Spanish government has appealed to the Constitutional Court in an attempt to block it. The arguments with which we justify calling the consultation are countered by deceitful counter-arguments. The Spanish vice-president talks of democracy to prohibit a vote. David Cameron's appeals to democracy in defending the Scots' right to decide their own future must have been extremely harmful to democracy. Even the relief of which he spoke openly to NY ex-mayor Bloomberg about after hearing the results of the vote speaks to the extent of British commitment to democracy.
The Spaniards in office are different -- very much so. As are the opposition politicians. I heard Pedro Sánchez, the new secretary general of the PSOE, speak during the Rose Festival that is held every year in the Gavà forest. He's a guy who appears to be modern. He even dresses in a much more modern style than many of us. But when he opened his mouth to say that we shouldn't be able to vote because, among other things, Catalonia was built by people from Andalusia, Extremadura, and Castilla-La Mancha, I realized that the PSOE is the same as always, that those who aspire to govern Spain haven't changed, and that their arguments (and this is the worst thing) are as fallacious as always. Pedro Sánchez must have been very happy with his speech, because the public in general applauded his words with fervor. It's what happens at events like this. Not everyone applauded though. Not even in the front row. By that I mean the leaders of the PSC. The most intelligent of them knew that the intellectual cliché that Sánchez used was a radical falsehood, a direct way to minimize the PSC in Catalonia. It was also the road to a future in which the PSOE, who without the votes of the PSC will not be able to govern in Spain, becomes a waning party permanently in the opposition.
What neither the Spanish government leaders nor the opposition parties understand is that the strength of President Mas is in the fact that our rights were born in Castro del Río. This is the strength of the legitimacy of the political parties that support the Law of Consultations and the decree that was signed this historic autumn Saturday afternoon. Once you have finished reading this article, run to the bookstore and buy the latest novel, if you can call it that, by Vicenç Villatoro. Find it, because all of us, true Catalans with roots that go from Castro del Río to Sanxenxo, from Lucena to Gijón, from Alzira or Elda to Cortes d'Arenós or Alcanyís, from Chinchón to Fuentes de Ebro-- you will find the reasons for our collective right to self-determination. Indeed, Mr. Sánchez, Catalonia is the result of the efforts of so many of our ancestors who opened the way to a new life among the Catalans who were already here. What you still don't understand is that coming from those caves or shanty towns where they had to live, they forged their own path to a new life based on effort, work, merit, and the desire to be part of a dream. If you walked around Barcelona you would easily discover this. Go to the Ciutat Meridiana, for example, and talk with the director of the library. Magnolia is a fantastic woman, who understands how much culture serves as part of the fundamental glue in our society. Instead of staying locked away in the library among the books, records and magazines organized as precisely as they are, she goes out into the neighborhood streets to find the mothers, children, and retirees. Now she wants to develop a program with the Ateneu de Fabricació that just opened because, she says, she needs to merge the library activities with the those of the new world that the Ateneu has brought.
While walking around Barcelona, go to the Sants school directed by Conxita. You won't need to talk for even five minutes to understand that this small, lean woman is deeply dedicated to her passion: educating children. She told me just yesterday that sixty-five percent of the students there have parents from outside Catalonia, but "the kids are all from here". They don't talk about births, only about connections, identity, and of a way of conceiving society.
It is to promote the Catalan society, so that the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who came from Castro del Rio, Karachi, or Matadepera grow up with all possibilities available to them, that the president signed the decree. It was to make our dream possible, the dream we share of the just and free Catalan society for which we have fought and worked so hard.