“We are the fruit of many defeats, yet also convinced that we are the seed of all victories.”
— Oriol Junqueras
So are Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez, people who are committed to the values of pacifism. Just like Dolors Bassa and Carme Forcadell, Quim Forn, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull, who have exercised their government responsibilities with obedience to the democratic mandate they received from the citizens of Catalonia.
Today, they are all imprisoned by the Spanish state. Carles Puigdemont, Marta Rovira, Toni Comín, Anna Gabriel, Clara Ponsatí, Lluís Puig and Meritxell Serret have been forced to embark on the path of exile in order to protect their political rights and individual freedoms, far away from the reach of state repression.
They are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, they have family. They are neighbours, they are partners, and they are friends. These prisoners and exiles are people like you and me. They are one among many. And their place is among us, not between four walls of a cell, nor is it far away from Catalonia.
The Spanish state remains committed to demonstrating a link between these prisoners and political exiles with violence that never existed in our country. With a vengeful will that is in violation with numerous legal requirements, keeping them imprisoned as punishment not for what they have done, but for what they represent.
All this shows the limitations and democratic weaknesses of a state that is capable of violating fundamental rights to defeat and humiliate its political adversaries.
The Spanish state has demonstrated, for the umpteenth and last time, that it is incapable of addressing the claim with mature and democratic sense, always scrupulously peaceful, of an important part of Catalan citizenship.
Renouncing the dialogue and the commitment of the Spanish state to its repressive path is a very bad omen, putting at risk the rights that were conquered. The imprisonment of Oriol and the other prisoners is not a punishment to these specific people alone, and not even to a political option or the inhabitants of a territory alone, but it is a direct threat to all minorities and dissenters within the European Union. And along with that, to the very pillars of every democratic society.
Today they are Oriol Junqueras, Dolors Bassa, Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell, Quim Forn, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Turull. And tomorrow it might be any other person or entity accused of dissent, and any other political option that bothers the government party.
As convinced Europeanists we demand the European Union to not betray its founding principles and to not give up defending the rights and freedoms of Catalan citizens. Because we are, and want to remain, European citizens too.
We demand the restitution of all their political rights, of which they should have never been deprived.
They can imprison good people, but they cannot imprison goodness. They can imprison people who are just, but they cannot imprison justice. They can force courageous people into exile, but they cannot impose fear on us. And they can imprison Oriol and the rest of the Catalan political prisoners, but there are not enough prisons to close an entire town, nor its longing for freedom.
Do you want to organize an event or have any questions?
We are a group of people from various origins and backgrounds, who have crossed paths with Oriol Junqueras during one of his many and varied activities: as citizens of Sant Vicenç dels Horts, the municipality where he lived until his imprisonment and of which he has been Mayor; at UAB as academic colleagues, students, and as non-faculty staff members; as project partners when he was engaged with popularising historical issues for different media outlets; as people in Brussels who shared his hope to internationalise the Catalonian case and to democratise European institutions; and, finally, as one of many who have known him as Vice President of the Government of Catalonia, or simply from running into him on the streets.