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Freedom for Catalonia!

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Art and Culture

Hello Catalan Republic

Yes, at last! The Catalan parliament declared independence last Friday 27th at almost 3.30PM. And now we face repression by the Spanish government who are already dismatling all Catalan institutions and ceasing our elected government, while the world leaves us alone, without alliances to secure resources or to defend ourselves.

DEBATE DE LA LEY DEL REFERÉNDUM EN EL PARLAMENT

Most of world countries seem to have no interest in helping to defend human rights in Catalonia, not even when Spanish police hit people who were queuing for voting on the 1st October referendum for independence, not when Spanish judges, controlled by the Spanish government of PP, put in jail Mr Jordi Sánchez and Mr Jordi Curixart, presidents of ANC (Assossiació Nacional Catalana) and Onmium Cultural, two civilians that have always promoted peaceful demonstrations and now rest in prison falsely accused of sedition! Not even when they dismissed the head of Catalan police, Mr Trapero, for not supporting them in the violent attacks against civilians or not helping them to put in jail elected representatives from our government… llibertat jodis.png

We are in a situation where the Spanish government has taken two political prisoners, has intervened, without proper authorization, all accounts from Generalitat, blocking payments of all institutions in Catalonia, from MP’s salaries, to social institutions, public hospitals and schools, has as well closed over 400 websites and is also intending to intervene public media like our beloved TV3… We are living a regression to a tough past during dictatorship when Franco’s censorship was imposed at all levels, when our Catalan government had to operate in exile and where people who wanted democracy were hit, or worse, by Spanish Guardia Civil on the streets of Catalonia. It is a flare of what Catalan families had to go through during a fascist dictatorship, whose leaders are yet to be condemned by an international court of law.

The European Union is being manipulated by the Spanish government so their ill will is imposed above Human Rights basic principles. The UNO, instead of consistently and openly condemning the Spanish oppression to Catalan people, have named Spain member of their board…It seems the Spanish threats outside and inside the EU are so abhorrent that no country has dared to openly give support, either recognition,  to  the new Catalan Republic.

Catalans, and many democrats in the world, are awakening into a total disappointment about how those international organizations that we help to build and were supposed to defend people’s interests, are prioritizing their own party interests above the rights of people. Before all of this, we still had some hope, we really wanted to believe that the EU or the UNO would never allow the Spanish government to do what they’re doing to Catalan people.grises

But the worst, really, the hurts the most, is seeing many people who live in Catalonia absolutely indoctrinated by Spanish fascist mentalities and media, as they have been brain-washed about their point of view being the liberal and democratic one, some of them ignorant who disregard that the content of PP and Ciutadans discourses promote exactly the same ideas that Franco and his generals used to impose 40 years ago.

It seems Catalan independence is putting in evidence worldwide the actual poisoning policies of parties like PP, Ciutadans and even PSOE/PSC in Spain. They dare call us nazis when it’s their radical followers who hit people in the streets of Barcelona shouting Spain is only one, or even kill the independentists… Who are the fascists? Who are the one repressing and oppressing to impose a unique mentality?

And don’t let them fool you! All the lies and demagogy they use is the main reason of the breach within Catalan society, yet they accuse independence supporters to have done so. Their main strategy is to point to Catalan people to blame us for everything, even for the intervention they are executing in our institutions, it is them who are executing the so called 155 article of the Spanish constitution but we are to blame for that too, so they say.

It’s like somebody comes to stab you with a knife and tells you that you are to blame for his attach because you brought it into yourself, yet he is the one having the knife pointing at you…

Let’s hope some decent governments in this planet will soon defy Spanish threads and provide public support to the new Catalan Republic, let’s hope international institutions are not as rotten inside as they seem to be today,  let’s hope leaders of the world change their minds at some point and decide to defend and protect human rights also in Catalonia. Let’s hope for the best, though we’re ready to survive whatever. Because after over 300 years of bad times while belonging to Spain, now we have a chance to really truly be free and build a new free country. catind2015

 

 

 

 

 

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The true story of a misdunderstood king: Ferdinand II of Aragon

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Aragon-Catalan kingdom territories in the times of Alfons the magnanimous (1416-1438).

Ferdinand II was the son of John II consort king of Navarre, who inherited the Catalan and Aragonese crown from his brother Alfons V the magnanimous in 1458, all of them from the house of Trastamara. Ferndiand’s father, disregarding the birth rights of his first son Charles of Viana, made him count of Ribagorça and lord of Balaguer, in Catalan territories, as well some Italian territories.

When his half brother, Charles prince of Viana died poisoned in Barcelona in 1461, Ferdinand became the heir of the kingdom of Aragon and Catalonia under the regency of Joana Enríquez (John II spouse), of who they said she had poisoned Charles to put Ferdinand as the heir of the throne while she could rule the country herself. He also inherited the county of Girona and some other titles in Sicily (Lord of Piazza Armerina and Caltagirone, duchy of Noto, among other titles). He married Isabel of Castile in reis catolics1469, a dynastic union pre-arranged by his mother (her intention was that he would rule the Castile kingdom under her rule but he respected Isabel’s birth rights and agreed to only become consort). Ferdinand became consort king of Castile establishing a highly effective sovereignty on equal terms: Their prenuptial agreement was worth of any modern one we can find today. They would finish the reconquest of the Peninsula to the Muslims, but each of them would rule their own kingdoms. Ferdinand, though, did not truly inherit the Catalan-Aragonese crown until 1479 when his mother died. Many take this moment as a the one when “Spain” was formed for the first time. However, this could not be further from the truth. When Ferdinand, who was a well educated prince, finally was in charge of the Kingdom of Aragon, the princedom of Catalonia, and the titles in Valencia, Sicily, Naples, Sardinia, he implemented new developed politics and was willing to modernize all REY_PEDRO_III--644x362institutions so they could be more efficient. He signed the treaty Constitution of observance in 1480 that defined Generalitat and the royal audience as the two organisms in charge of the accomplishment of institutional order in the Catalan countries. He restored all CatalanAyuntamiento_Barcelona_salo_cent_02institutions from Jaume I times, and he helped to constitute the famous “Consell de cent” in the city of Barcelona, a chamber where all the strata of society were to be represented.

Ferdinand loved and cared for the Catalan countries and so he issued laws to protect Catalan industry and agriculture. He worked to cut the deficit of public institutions, he made the country economy profitable and he never wanted the Castile, Aragon and Catalonia to become one only state, but he made everything in his reach for absolutely the opposite.

Some historians like to call him the diplomat, because he also operated with a savvy hand internationally. And proof of that is that he recovered the counties of machiavelliRosselló and Cerdanya who had been taken by the French not long ago: he convinced the french king Charles III to sign the treaty of Barcelona returning the north Catalan counties in exchange of Ferdinand not intervening in the Italian affairs related to France for as long as those would not jeopardize the interest of the Holy Church. Others even dare to suggest he inspired the work of Machiavelli “The prince”.

However, some may say he was hardly ever ruling in Barcelona, always busy with Castilian matters and the followers of the house of Barcelona dynasty. Furthermore, he had to accept, pushed by his wife, to introduce the Spanish inquisition in Catalan territories, forcing Hebrews & Muslims to convert, exile or die. Nonetheless, the gold taken from the Jews or from Muslim converted territories was not enough to pay for the ambitious international projects of the catholic kings. Thus Ferdinand agreed he would personally finance the quest of Cristòfol Columbus with money from the Catalan crown, that is why they departed initially from Barcelona.

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The Catholic kings, Ferdinand and Isabel, at a later age.

When Isabel died in 1504, knowing the mental disabilities of his daughter and heir Joana and not believing that any of his other children could really manage a totalitarian empire, he decided to marry again to get an heir for the Catalan-Aragonese crown. On 1505 he married Germana de Germaine_de_FoixFoix, daughter of John of Foix and Mary of Orleans, niece of king Louis XXI of France. Searching to strengthen the alliance with the French king, Ferdinand rushed to have a first child, who unfortunately died a baby. Ferdinand died the 23rd of January 1516 in Extremadura of an embolism, some say poisoned and betrayed by his young wife.

It is evident that Ferdinand did not believe on a totalitarian union of all the kingdoms of the Peninsula. He believed all the kingdoms and territories would be more profitable if ruled separately with dynastic alliances. And so did Isabel, that is what they stated in their prenuptial agreement, that is what they did why they were alive and what they instructed in their testaments. He was a modern man of his times, a great politician who saw in Catalonia an industrial and economic motor that transformed the country into one of the most solid, hegemonic and powerful catholic crowns of Europe.

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Ferdinand II code of arms

40 years of Franco’s death

Spanish head of state General Francisco Franco (L) and prince Juan Carlos salute the crowd in Madrid in October 1975.
Spanish head of state General Francisco Franco (L) and prince Juan Carlos salute the crowd in Madrid in October 1975.

Today is the anniversary of Franco’s death. People in the Spanish state celebrate this date in many ways: some still mourn the dictator, others celebrate they took power, like the Spanish king… And many are just happy to have gotten free from such a dictatorship. In a day where we still mourning for the victims of terrorism in Paris, Catalan people will celebrate the fall of a dictator and will remember all the victims of a dictatorship that lasted also 40 years.

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Since 2000 the association for the recuperation of the historical memory, has promoted the opening of trenches used to deposit those who were executed during Franco’s dictatorship. No public institution has ever carried out any investigation about these victims. During the 90s, only a few families dared to claim for the localization and exhumation of the corpses of relatives and friends.

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In the last 15 years, the above mentioned association promoted the opening of common graves recovering over 2 million corpses. Right now, the Spanish government has frozen all activities.

quimtorra_0Mr. Quim Torrà, president of Omnium Cultural (a cultural organization that aims to preserve Catalan language and culture in the world) emailed me in a newsletter a few days ago saying:

On 20th November is the 40th anniversary of Franco’s death. In a democratic Europe, the Spanish state is the only one that has never condemned the dictatorship. Franco and the members of his government were never judged in an international court. Furthermore, the few trials against Franco’s dictatorship are still unfinished.”

Due to these shameful facts, several Catalan social organizations, like Omnium Cultural, are celebrating today a special joint event, with testimonies and witnesses of the horror of the Spanish dictatorship, calling for justice for the victims of fascism. There will be protest songs, artistic performances and live music to honor those who suffered and died at the hands of Franco’s government.

For many years, the 20th November was a date when the heirs of Spanish fascism would celebrate an event full of melancholy for the loss of the dictator. Today, and for the first time, we want to truly celebrate democracy.” adds, Mr Torrà in his invitation.

grisesNeedles to say, I am also celebrating that we are free from a dictatorship, I was actually lucky I was born 2 years after Franco died. So I lived all this time in this pseudo-democracy that Franco’s descendants have allowed to happen for the last 40 years. I grew up listening to the stories on how many times my grandpa was put in jail for “speaking against the general” or how my father was beaten at school by the teacher because he could not speak Spanish.

How much has fascism conditioned the different mentalities of several generations here in Catalonia! Some joined the enemy, others are afraid of thinking on their own and only a couple of million people have the nuts to go out to the streets every year and claim for the freedom that was ripped away from us. Help us to restore freedom and dignify all of those who gave their lives and blood to defend it! Condemn the crimes of Spanish fascism!

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Translation of Mr Lluís Companys’ (president of Generalitat) discourse to the people of Catalonia on the 30th March 1938

This discourse has been recently recovered by Generalitat from the general military archives in Ávila amongst other important documentation that was being kept in Spain. They were initially confiscated by the Gestapo in 1940 from the Paris office Generalitat had during the times of its exile. Gestapo later delivered these documents to Franco’s fascist police. After years of requests and demonstrations, lluiscompanysdocumentation containing this discourse was finally sent back to Catalonia on the 10th March 2015. Here the amazing words of Mr. Companys, some of them still make sense today, despite the discourse was written during Franco’s fascist invasion.

 

 

 

“For our freedom and for our independence

Get the guns against traitors, against invaders

People of Catalonia

I talk to you in these moments when I search more than ever within my weaknesses of my abilities and conditions, the best resources in order to be worthy of being the President of the Generalitat, with all the responsibility in these historical circumstances and to be worthy of my own obligation as a Catalan person and a man. I talk to you in these moments searching desperately for the words that could describe the intensity and complexity of my own feelings as a human being, but it’s hard to find those words.

On the 18th July our country, using the forces of Generalitat government and supported by civilians, was able to defeat, annihilate, undo and chase out of the Catalan borders the military fascist forces that dared taking arms against the Republic. Our territory was cleaned of these rebel factions. However, the war ignited by this betrayal has devastated Spain. Catalan soldiers were present in all fronts defending the Spanish republic government, giving the best of their energy and resources.

The military uprising, which was conceived abroad, has become a civil war for independence. The old monarchic flag, a symbol of oppression, is now blushing its colors due to the shame of being confused with foreign flags. This war of desolation and tragedy unleashed in the territory of the Republic, has become a glorious epopoeia for universal law and justice within Europe and the world.

During this time, Catalonia has been the place where the Spanish republican government has been operating from. And in our country we have also received thousands of civilians of other sister lands and heroes from other places of the Iberian Peninsula. The republic of Spain gained the support of the Catalan people by recognizing their Statue as a nation. It was the beginning of our freedom and historical reparation for the past oppression. Thus, the union of the Catalan and Spanish republican governments against those who want to dissolve the Republic, is strong and sealed with the blood and the fire of the men and women united in glorious sacrifice heroically defending Republic in all Spanish territories.

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In prinson, Lluís Companys,his son, Àngel Pestaña, Joan Lluhí i Vallescà and Emili Granier Barrera, November 1930.

But now it is me speaking, talking to you Catalan people, hoping my words are strong like a mass and sharp like a knife. I talk to the people in the countryside, where I preached propaganda when I was young. I talk to the workers, with who I shared prison many times. I talk to the middle class, to the intellectual groups; in fact, I talk to all the people of Catalonia, disregarding what they think and their social condition, because I speak in the name of our nation. I speak in the name of our beautiful and wonderful Catalonia, a magnificent country with fertile fields, a nation with an indelible trace through democracy along our history. Our people have a particular character: we believe in liberalism and democracy, we believe in peace, we love art but work hard. That is Catalonia! Our Catalonia, its name makes our hearts shake with emotion and touches all of the fibres of our soul. I talk to those of you who love the place you were born, and where your children were born too, who know well those spots of our country, full of poetry and charm in our beloved land, where the sea, the mountains and the sun align so that we can live and work well, where our love for our nation and fraternity within men can flourish. I speak to all of you in your language, the same you learned since you were born and reminds you to the first words you heard from your mother.

I talk to all Catalan people! I would like to pass on them all the patriotic love, all the civic obligation, all the bravery in front of History, all the interest towards the future, for only one thing. One word that we did not want to say, but we had to use it and hear it, and for the last two years we have given ourselves to it without measure. One word that has become absolutely necessary, obligatory and sacred to all citizens of the Republic; but now, if possible, this word should have more sublime and heroic vibrations. One only word: WAR! Everybody must go to war, we all have to give our lives, if necessary, to fight this war and win, for the honor and duty and life of Catalonia. For the independence of the Republic and for democracy in the universal concert of human civilization.

From the very first moment, Catalonia has been in the right place in all the active fronts. But now, foreign armies are at the door of our homes. They bring in their souls a particular interest in submitting and mocking our people, because they know our nation has always favored culture instead of violence, freedom instead of tyranny. Catalonia principles condense the meaning of their fight against the world. They have totalitarian conceptions of state, oppression systems, imperialistic ambitions, dominant classes against democracy and liberalism, whereas here our people’s legitimate concerns are canalized peacefully, searching for the most pure forms of justice and stability. They hate everything we represent, even our structure, environment, history, life rhythm, the invaluable core of our spirit. If they feet touch Catalan territory, it would shake Catalonia subsoil and our mountains would tremble in shame. Our language would be prosecuted, our institutions plundered, our people submitted and our habits mocked. “VOE VICTIS”, moors and other foreign soldiers trying to dominate our Catalan nation! This cannot happen, Catalan people, not in fact, not in name, it is not in favor of Catalonia past or future.

We must be aware of the depth and width of the majestic moment that we are living, a time in History clicking bells all over the world, a time that will penetrate in the depths of the future. Catalan people! Catalan people! We must work and we must fight. We must resist, because resistance means triumph. Multiple interests may connect themselves in the coming possibilities. The head of the Spanish republican government, Dr Negrín, he pointed out in his vigorous discourse the day before yesterday, what our approach must be: RESIST! All Catalan people must be an example. Both, a general mobilization to work in the fortifications and military mobilization to move men to the battlefront must happen. Our soldiers fight fiercely at the borders of our territory. Each of them is where they should be, everybody in the rearguard is following their duties strictly. Every soldier is a giant, and every Catalan is a soldier!

Being Catalan means being a heroic warrior in the dictionary of history. Let’s fight for victory, brothers! For the victory that we will celebrate just here, a decisive bastion and glorious definitive wall.

Air up the flag of the Republic! Let it blow in the wind, covered in glory in front of the world undaunted eyes. All Catalan people wear the Catalan four red bars printed on their chests and in their souls. And we shall execute a tenacious resistance, a terrible one so we can prepare the next action to push invaders out of the republican territories.

-Who are you?

-I am Catalan in the unbreakable and invincible wall of love and defense for my nation.

-What do you want? Why do you shoot your guns and spread blood?

-I fight against the invaders in my country. I fight in front of the whole world and the infinite space for the name and the existence of Catalonia. I want to win and deserve the peace that I love.

I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT FREEDOM

LONG LIVE CATALONIA!”

You can find the scanned originals in Catalan as well as Spanish translation in this link: http://www.memoria.cat/lluis-companys-avila/udiscurs-del-president-de-la-generalitat-al-poble-de-catalunya-contra-els-traidors-contra-els-invaso

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Mr Wert’s power

(Adaptation of the article published in El País 12th December 2012 and written by Antonio Gutiérrez Rubí)

The Spanish minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Mr. Jose Ignacio Wert Ortega has finally approved a law for “hispanizing” Catalan people on its purpose of lapidating our culture and language. But he is not alone, though we do not know whose orders he is following. His political attack against Catalan language, his mission, camouflaged in an reform of the education system, is not casual neither improvised. It is not an isolated action either. There is obviously a background strategy.

Wert

Some months ago, in an interview to a Catalan newspaper, Mr. Wert declared: “first I point, and then I shoot”. And he added provocatively: “I am conscious that one of my virtues is not oral continence”. Yet it is true, he is irresponsible, as he declared with his smiley face. But he is not a fool at all. The Spanish king calls him “poor Wert” and his little things, but he does not require kind comprehension to his actions, but total reproval. And publicly. The Spanish parliament already tried in vain due to the PP majority. But Mr. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish president, cannot keep looking somewhere else: or he supports his minister or he overrules him. Or could it be Wert is talking for Rajoy? Or against him?

The key points of the strategy that Wert uses to attack Catalan language as a tool of political domination have previously been tested in Valencia region and recently in Balearic Islands. Nobody can deny they have been successful. But neither can anybody deny they have damaged our culture. And I am not talking about of “collateral damages”. The damage has been deep and the wound is still bleeding, causing coexistence confrontations within the population and avoiding true structural reform measures to be put in place within our institutional architecture: diversity must not be seen as a problem but as an opportunity.

Some months ago, the parliament of the Balearic Islands approved the reform of the Law of Public offices (and indirectly, they also approved the law of language normalization), which abolished, for example, the requirement of Catalan knowledge as indispensable to work for any public office in the islands; this political campaign promise from Partido Popular was highly criticized by the opposition parties and for many social and cultural associations.

Furthermore, the Spanish conservative government has stigmatized Catalan language so grotesquely that is has pitifully been defined as “co-official language different to Spanish” in the Balearic Islands or as “language spoken in the eastern area of Aragon”.

Franco ha Werto

This political attack follows a persistent and calculated plan. It is a well-engineered political strategy that is executed systematically and with absolute determination. Some believe it is easier to defeat your adversaries if you destroy their social eco-system. Here I list just a few approaches of this peculiar mental frame against our language:

1.      Deny the unity of Catalan language in the territories where it is spoken: politics against philology.
2.      Label Catalan language as a strange (or foreign) language wherever it is naturally spoken.
3.      Devaluate Catalan language, consigning it to a minority or residual language, and cancelling its status of co-official language.
4.      Suggest that the protection and promotion of Catalan language is supposedly covering the imposition of the Catalan culture and language, and that may limit individual freedoms or avoid the development of the Spanish state, its harmony and sustainable laws.
5.      Define the use of Catalan language (and other official languages within the Spanish state) as a superfluous and needless cost in times of crisis. Unfortunately the aggressive and bitter debates at the Spanish parliament in these regards are a good proof of this horrible approach.
6.      Identify Catalan language with nationalism, miss-using it for political manipulation.
7.      Believe that the promotion and protection of Catalan language are directed to remove any individual freedom or used for sectarian indoctrination. According to this, public schools and media are used with the unique purpose to clean people brains massively. Therefore, they must fight against Catalan language to obtain freedom and democracy.
8.      “Hispanize” all territories within the Spanish state, taking the Spanish language as a totalitarian flag. Other languages are a threaten that must be exterminated or at least limited.

Mr. Wert, who is a sociologist, keeps on tensing the rope and measuring reactions. Or maybe producing reactions,  like a marksmanship: with accuracy and precision. Just when we would expect tension to lose up between the leaders of Catalonia and Spain, Wert –and whoever directs this malefic plan-  is directly attempting to dynamite Catalonia identity and language, by imposing a law of “language normalization” to secure Spanish is the main and only language learned in schools.

Catala independent

All our effort of bringing our language back to life after Franco’s dictatorship will be in vain if we let Mr. Wert apply this law. The parliament of Catalonia must do a strong and decisive action to defy the instructions of the Spanish Education minister. Since supposedly we live in democracy and not dictatorship, they should not be able to impose a law that over 75% of the population rejects completely. This is a clear sign Catalan people must immediately push for a democratic revolution, before we lose our identity and our language forever.

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