I write from freedom. I remain locked up in a prison on the orders of a National Court judge, acting on a request from Spain’s Attorney General. Neither of them can deprive me of what is not within their reach. These are not mere words. I sincerely believe this to be true. There is no jail, jailer, lock or judicial decision that can deprive us, if we do not allow them to, of being what we are, to think how we think and love the people we love.
To be, to think and to love are the ultimate expressions of freedom. And in spite of having spent some time now as a prisoner in Soto del Real, I continue to be who I was, to think what I thought and to love who I used to love. Freedom is a conscious act; It is born and exercised (how important it is to exercise freedom!) from the personal, untransferable determination to know oneself, to be free and to actually feel free. It is much more than an act or an action of unrestricted mobility or of an open space with no apparent limits. Freedom is not only in our legs nor must we confuse it with the view offered us from an open window in a watchtower.
It is this same freedom that I feel now which made me accept, a long time ago, that my detention might come one day. Without being guilty of any crime, of course. But we are well aware that the Spanish state cares little for such details. A long time ago, freedom led me to overcome fear, though not to be, nor to think, nor love differently, and therefore to continue in my position as president of the Catalan National Assembly, to do everything within my power in order that, democratically, peacefully, my country could find freedom.
Many things have happened since 16 October, the day that Jordi Cuixart and myself were imprisoned without bail. As a result, I don’t have access to totally reliable up-to-date information. What, I do know, however, is that the path that we follow is still heading in the right direction.
The game is on. Democratically speaking we have had Spain against the ropes. But the state is strong, and perhaps due to an error of our own making —since we are not perfect— we now find ourselves in a situation that perhaps some of us did not expect would arrive so soon. Now the next set point will be played on December 21. An unexpected move, for sure, but we mustn’t be alarmed. Maybe we should have played it ourselves, though it doesn’t matter. We know that ballot boxes are the perfect playing field to show that supporters of the Catalan Republic are in the majority.
The Spanish government, Rajoy and Soraya, were shrewd to call elections so quickly. Let’s not fool ourselves, though. Their ability doesn’t stem from the certainty that those who support Article 155 will emerge victorious from the election. The opposite will happen, they’ll fall far short of the 68 seats, and undoubtedly well below the number of votes obtained by the pro-independence parties. They were skilful in ridding themselves of Article 155, in the shortest time possible, out of a fear that its implementation would become their own Vietnam, without the violence, but equally impossible to leave.
The price that Rajoy, Sánchez and Rivera will pay will be a favourable outcome for those who favour independence in elections which they themselves have convened and with the whole of Europe and part of the world eager to see the results. I suspect they’ll have a long night, with difficult arguments, in which Spain’s Interior Minister —the same individual who took control over Catalonia’s Department of the Interior— or Deputy Prime Minister Soraya will be forced to congratulate the supporters of independence as the winning side in the upcoming elections.
This is not a bad scenario to continue the path to our national freedom. They assaulted us at the gates of the polling stations, they seized legitimate ballot boxes, where nonetheless 2,300,000 people managed to vote, in spite of them. They have arrested us, they have dismissed and detained our legitimate government, they have dissolved our parliament and prosecuted its president, they have taken control over the ministries and even the Mossos d’Esquadra. They have called elections and ... we have won those elections again.
It is not a bad end to the game. It would honestly be welcome. Our strength has been our great capacity for mobilization (of which I have such fond feelings and memories these days here in Soto del Real: ‘the streets will always be ours’) and the institutional action of the Catalan parliament, the government and our city councils.
This ought to continue to be our strategy. We do not have a better one: grassroots mobilisation and democratic representation, the street and the institutions, the people and the government, conviction and dialogue. Hope and resilience.
From freedom. Forward together! And a big thank-you to everyone for such incredible support.