I’m sitting here in Cornwall trying to write a post about what’s going on in Catalunya and I keep having false starts and long pauses while I read more and more on Twitter, on Facebook, in the news.
For the past two months I’ve been battling a cold virus – I can’t seem to clear my head. It’s all a muddle in there. Hopefully writing some of my thoughts down will help. I can’t carry all this around too much longer.
As I said my last post, today is a big day. And a sad one. I feel it physically like a vibration in my own body. I don’t know why it affects me so much. I wish I could switch off and stop reading the news or caring about what is happening. But it seems to have entered my psyche and so all I can do is write as much and as honestly as I can.
I can’t help imagining the sorrow of the families of the politicians who remain in prison – the two Jordis, Oriol Junqueres and Joaquim Forn. The men themselves send out messages of determination, calm and inner resolve but it isn’t hard to imagine how hard it must be to be imprisoned in a very hostile atmosphere, with limited access to means of communication, without having had a fair trial and knowing that they are being punished for their beliefs and not their actions.
Over in Brussels Carles Puigdemont and his fellow ministers are speaking this morning in the hope of avoiding being extradited to Spain. I feel they are doing the right thing in a dangerous and unpredictable situation. At least they are able to speak freely and have a chance to put their case.
Is the world listening?
For me it’s about more than Catalunya – it’s about democracy and whether we care enough about it to fight against oppression and to support all those who are doing the same.
I can’t help feeling that there is a battle going on all over the world which has recently increased in intensity. Now more than ever it is important to take your place and choose a side. There are millions of people fighting for justice and for human rights and for animal rights and for the future of our planet. And there are a smaller number who want to defeat us. They have power and money and state apparatus to back them up but they are not as many as we are. All they want is to keep control and they work together and are ruthless in their methods even if they appear to be smiling on the surface.
Everything that we instinctively feel is crazy and wrong – is just that. We know it in our hearts.
Yesterday I was in the kitchen and on the edge of my awareness I heard a piece of news about a small protest, somewhere, about something. Perhaps it was to save a nature reserve, or to protect a hospital. My body responded while my full attention was elsewhere. My body thrilled to the sound of their chanting. Those are my people, I support them and always will.
Some people want to create a better world and some only want power. And in between there are millions of people who are asleep. Who believe that world leaders are democratic. Who fondly think that ‘someone else’ will take care of everything.
How can anyone now say ‘I’m not interested in politics’? It’s not politics – it’s life! It’s your life and mine and all life on this beautiful precious planet. Those who seek to keep us down are also very busy destroying our world.
Maybe this sounds strange but it is what I privately believe.
There is a new world trying to come through and the old one is dying but is fighting back with all its might. Of course I believe in the power of love and that it is important to fight the demons inside us as well as those we meet outside. Forgiveness is important and self care and working in small ways for our communities. And being friendly to those we don’t like. And taking time to breathe and to rest.
But I find myself more and more impatient with those who are still asleep.
Wake up to why you were born. We are not all separate beings. We are part of an unimaginably huge universe and everything we do, think and say is important. It is time to chose how to use our lives. What energy to feed in the world? Which wolf do you feed in your own heart? I can’t find the words to describe the two sides in this battle – it isn’t Light and Dark, it isn’t positive and negative, it isn’t creation and destruction….. those all are vital for life not to stagnate. Maybe I am talking about Love and Hate. Or even Love and Fear.
And to return to Catalunya.
This peaceful revolution is happening now.
It’s not easy. It takes courage. It is a creative act. It is hard work.
- In the streets people are decking the walls and lamppost and bridges and statues with yellow ribbons. This is a symbol of solidarity with the prisoners and with everyone who is living under the invading force of the Spanish Article 155.
- Pensioners in Reus are demonstrating every midday wearing yellow scarves. They call themselves Grandmothers and Grandfathers for Liberty. The Electoral Commission has told them to stop but they continue. Wearing yellow scarves and fighting for the release of the prisoners could affect the election? Why doesn’t the Electoral Commission say that having candidates in prison and other in exile also could affect the election?
- Another group of pensioners were told to take off their scarves and yellow ribbons because M. Rajoy was visiting Mataro and might be offended.
- The Catalan TV and Radio is under pressure from the new regime – they want to replace the journalists and presenters with ‘normal’ people.
- The famous Barcelona fountains have been stopped because they were flowing with the colour yellow.
- All public buildings in Catalunya have been told to remove any banners which say ‘Freedom’ or ‘Democracy’
- A bartender was visited by the police because he replied in Catalan when a customer spoke to him in Spanish.
The stories go on and on….. people in Catalunya are awake and standing up for democracy. Not the pretend democracy which we all know from our own countries where politicians use us to vote for them every few years and then go ahead and do what they wanted anyway like destroy natural habitats, sell off our health service for profit, sell arms to brutal dictatorships. But a true democracy where people actually matter.
This is a fight and while we want to keep a moral compass and to be honest and peaceful the other side has no such qualms.
There are lies and provocations, there is bullying, intimidation and a determined attempt to silence people by fear.
- Teachers are taken to court for discussing the Catalan situation in Galicia.
- Students are arrested for sharing tweets about police violence in the October 1st referendum
- Some ultra-right Spanish nationalists burnt some papers in their own flat and accused the Catalan independence movement of setting fire to their flat for having a Spanish flag on the balcony. They got a sympathy phone call from M.Rajoy but they didn’t want to make a formal complaint to the police – because it was all propaganda and not true.
It’s a funny thing to care a lot about something and see that others are not too bothered. It happens to us all at some time in our lives. Sometimes other people just don’t get so excited about the things that we care about. But what if we could all decide to open our hearts to care about everything? To remove the buffers that stop us feeling it when others – humans and animals – need help? Perhaps our hearts are strong enough to feel it!
I remember when I was about 7, driving through Ireland with my parents and my sister. We saw some gypsies on a country lane and my father had to slow down to pass their wagon. A couple of the children came towards our car begging for money. I was shocked at their appearance and wanted to stop and give them something. But my father drove on and seemed to me to be totally uncaring and cruel. But maybe he was scared. Or hardened after years of seeing poverty. He wasn’t a mean or a cruel man. For me it was fresh and terrible and in some ways this memory has always kept me active. I decided on that day ‘I don’t want ever to grow up into someone who doesn’t care’
And this is how I am today. I can’t change it. I feel an inner directive that tells me I must help if I can and if not, then at least I must support those who do.
I would really love to know the answers to these questions. How do others manage?
Are there world issues that touch your heart and others that leave you cold?
Do you feel that there is so much pain in the world that you can’t cope with letting it in?
Is it possible to be open to the suffering of others and not be overwhelmed by it or made ill?
How do you think we can best deal with our own painful feelings when we become aware of injustice or cruelty in the world?