There is so much happening that I don’t have time to write an individual post about each event. We travelled back through France and are now in Cornwall – physically far from Catalunya but emotionally still very connected.
Here are some of the things that are coursing around in my brain
- As we drove through France I put on a Joan Baez CD. There is a track Last Night I had the Strangest Dream and as it played I suddenly began to cry. The events of the last weeks – the vote, the police violence and the horrific videos showing attacks on unarmed people, and the refusal of EU leaders to speak out, all suddenly felt incredibly sad.
- A teacher in Galicia is being investigated by the Guardia Civil after complaints from parents that s/he had led a class discussion on Catalunya. We later saw students protesting outside the court in support of their teacher
- Many companies including my bank Sabadell have moved their main offices to Spain to avoid problems should Independence be declared. Now Seat – I am proud to say this is my brand of car – has let out a nasty little secret – that both the Spanish government and the King (!!!) had been on the phone putting pressure on them to leave too. Offering incentives of course. Seat have refused and will stay.
- The more I watched videos of places where the police violently tried to stop the vote the more I realised that I was very lucky not to see any. I visited four places in the Emporda and actually there was a lot of police action in that area. It was just chance that Zero and I were not involved. Some places were small villages. Just like in my post about the voting – people were calmly and with determination protecting their communites and their ballot boxes. Until the Guardia Civil arrived. Someone suggested to me that places with Socialist majorities were not attacked but places with Independence parties in majority were targetted. No proof of this but it’s true that Granollers in spite of being a large town was left alone and its mayor is from the Socialist party.
Stories about the urns.
What we would call ballot boxes. It is almost surreal. Hard to believe when you come from a country like the UK where many people can’t be bothered to vote at all. The voting boxes were ordered from China. They were delivered to the part of France that Catalan people call Catalunya Nord (once part of Catalunya, a long story, for another time) Then very shortly before the day of the referendum they were brought over – in private cars – little by little – by brave people. Can you imagine this? Feeling that you had to hide a voting box in your car and then in someone’s house? Because it was illegal!!!!
Stories about the voting stations.
People I know, real people, slept overnight to protect the urns and the papers and the places. Others kept watch outside. There was a massive and well planned organisation to this referendum. Trust was important, and courage. It is so impressive. And so sad that it had to be done like this.
Rajoy announced that he will be invoking Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to take over the Autonomy of Catalunya.
This hasn’t been done before. So it’s still not really clear what will happen. But first he has to get the Senate to vote to go ahead. That is happening on Friday. The plan seems to be to get rid of the democratically elected government and replace it with something else…..until more elections can be called. They also plan to take over the police and the television and the radio.
Catalan firefighters have said no
More and more people are publicly stating that they are not having it. . Today there was a press conference by TV3 and Catalan Radio saying they will not tolerate intervention. And the Catalan government is meeting tomorrow Thursday 26th October. Will they declare independence finally?
Press statement from TV and Radio
It’s all big stuff. And it’s not just about Catalunya.
It’s about people and their right to be heard and to be taken seriously. Also democracy – and peaceful resistance to governments which abuse their power. It’s about the lengths the powerful will go to when they feel threatened. Corruption is very central to the Spanish PP government and they have found a wonderful way to distract us from that – let’s attack the Catalans. It’s also about the EU and how weak they have been in their response. Or maybe they want a showdown – to keep the masses in their place. Even the UK Labour party has been quiet – I wonder about that one! And there is fascism to talk about – and secrets and lies.
To me it is one of those times when you need to chose your side – whatever you think about independence this is a very human struggle to be heard and to be respected and to be treated as equals.
Isn’t that what we all want and deserve?