The celebration of the 2019 Diada Nacional de Catalunya (National Day of Catalonia) comes at a moment in which the country is at a historic crossroads.
For nearly two years now, honourable people have been in prison or in exile for having given voice to the citizens of Catalonia in a referendum on self-determination held on October 1, 2017, which the Spanish State tried to repress through violence.
In the next few weeks, sentences will be passed on the president of the Catalan parliament, nine members of the Catalan government and the presidents of Òmnium Cultural and the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly), the two main civil bodies in the country.
Together they face 177 years in prison, prison sentences that are being demanded simply for listening to citizens who, both then and now, call for the right to decide on the country’s political future.
But it is not only Catalonia that waits expectantly for sentencing. It is also joined by Europe and a large part of the rest of the world.
Because there can be no doubt that the verdict will mark a key moment in our country’s history, as well as that of Spain, showing the world the true quality of its democracy.
We will see to what extent it respects the rights and freedoms that any modern state should guarantee.
This is why the Diada must be a turning point. Today we close a period of reaction to an unceasing repression and open a new proactive period.
It is the moment to recover our self-confidence, stop playing defensively and once again regain the initiative to mark out a clear route that ends in independence.
“Objective independence” is the rallying cry for this Diada.
And this is what we are working towards. I know we will not falter, responding in the only way possible: with institutions and civil society working together until we gain our freedom.
This is why this year’s Diada must be a massive event.
To show the world that, despite repression, threats and violence from the Spanish state, the Catalan people remain firm in their convictions and continue their tireless, decisive, peaceful and exemplary fight to create the Catalan Republic.
[Article publicat al diari The National, l'11 de setembre de 2019]