Spanish nation repression in Catalonia can be shocking – but it’s not anything new
The Spanish excellent court docket’s deeply unjust verdict, handing out harsh prison sentences to nine Catalan government and civil society leaders for setting up a peaceful referendum on self-determination in Catalonia, is for lots the sign of a rustic slipping toward authoritarianism and faraway from western ecu-style democracy. But reality be told, for us Basques, this form of behaviour is nothing new.
For years Spain turned into able to disguise its undemocratic essence under the cloak of the “combat against Basque terrorism”. Denial and rejection of the political nature of the armed struggle in the Basque united states of america have become quite smooth for them, particularly after Sep 11. The line become that there was no longer a political trouble in Spain, just a criminal one. “the entirety is possible with out violence” was the repeated mantra. We nonetheless recall the phrases of Spanish domestic secretary Alfredo P Rubalcaba: “They need to decide: bombs or votes.”
Yet when a number of us within the pro-independence Basque movement commenced to persuade individuals who still believed in violence to continue our conflict for self-dedication through non violent and democratic approach, we had been arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison phrases.
The truth is that Basque violence ended –now not way to Spanish government efforts – however regardless of its continual obstructions. (It is probably essential right here to make clear my role: many wrongs had been done with the aid of the Basque side, many stuff befell that need to not have executed. We have mentioned our proportion of the blame for the violence that became devoted via each aspects during years of battle). My arrest – along side others – happened 10 years before the Catalan politicians were convicted of sedition, and it changed into handiest after we had served our prison term that the eu court of human rights ruled our trial have been unfair (the second one time the ECHR had ruled against Spain). The identical could easily occur to the Catalans. The fact that the Spanish state nevertheless holds extra than 240 Basque political prisoners in jail regardless of ETA ending its armed marketing campaign in 2011 suggests its loss of interest in a long-lasting peace.
The verdict against the Catalan pro-independence leadership for establishing a democratic and non violent referendum, and the following violence the Spanish police used in opposition to peaceful Catalan demonstrations, shows us what we always knew: the Spanish country isn’t inquisitive about democracy and could use violence to conceal its undemocratic nature.
That is why the country plays up, and at times instigates, violence within the place. Spain will now not hesitate to use this lie. Its authorities would really like to transform Catalans’ valid and peaceful call for for self-willpower into violence. That’s what the police and military forces were looking to do the last few days with their violent approaches.
Fortuitously, the Catalan nationalist movement is committed to peace. As we’re within the Basque united states of america. We recognize that our “force of purpose” is more potent than their “motive of force”. On the identical time we both are committed to reaching our fundamental democratic rights – Catalan and Basque needs for democracy will now simplest get louder. It’s time to complete the incomplete enterprise of Spain’s phoney transition to democracy – and there will no longer be actual democracy in Spain until its plurinational person is regarded, just as inside the uk or Canada.
Repression, imprisonment and centralisation will not work. Like in most similar cases around the sector there may be no lasting strategy to this sort of conflict without communicate. Like in Northern ireland, Scotland or Quebec, the most effective way to solve these tensions is through democracy. And anybody with a chunk of political sense knows that the kingdom desires to engage with valid Catalan representatives. A policy of repression with out a talks and no negotiation is unacceptable.
All the whilst, eu institutions and states appearance the alternative way. Different european governments ought to be encouraging Spain to exchange music. Yet in the meanwhile a preference to maintain inner stability within the bloc trumps all, and that means blind loyalty to Spain. This conflict can only be resolved internationally – ecu establishments and states ought to enhance their voices in favour of a negotiated answer, earlier than it is too overdue.