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"We'll do it again!" — Closing remarks by Jordi Cuixart in the Political Show Trial on Madrid

Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger
Germany

Jul 20, 2019 — 

«We'll do it again!» — Closing remarks of the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, in the Political Show Trial of Madrid on June 12, 2019

The president of the renowned Catalan cultural association Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, is not a politician, but nevertheless a political prisoner in Spain and thus also in the European Union.

According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the detention of Jordi Cuixart is arbitrary. The criminal proceedings against him, which are conducted in the first and only (!) instance before the Supreme Court in Madrid, have no basis. It violates mandatory international law (ius cogens), European law and Spanish law. The way in which Spain deprives Jordi Cuixart of his civil rights clearly recalls the injustice of German National Socialism and Spanish Francoism.

According to the United Nations' competent body, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention set up by the Human Rights Council, Spain has violated Articles 2, 9 to 11 and 18 to 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 3, 14, 19, 21, 22 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in the case of Jordi Cuixart.

Jordi Cuixart is being detained in Spain for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association, assembly and political participation. His imprisonment violates the principle of the equality of all human beings, because it was justified by his political opinion. The criminal proceedings brought against him do not even provide the basic guarantees for a proper and fair trial before a competent and impartial court and for an adequate defence. The trial against him, a cheap farce, is a disgrace to Spain and to the European Union as a whole, which tacitly tolerates these serious violations of human rights.

May all people of good will hear the closing remarks of Jordi Cuixart in the Madrid show trial!

And Europe remains silent and watching!

Closing remarks by Jordi Cuixart before the Supreme Court in Madrid on 12 June 2019:

«Hello! I am not using this last word primarily to defend myself, as my lawyers have already done, or to try to reduce the sentence, but essentially to confirm that I stand by all the exercises of my fundamental rights which I have been accused of during this trial, particularly because they correspond to a higher and, in this case, very personal interest and it is the voice of my conscience, the voice of my conscience, which has always acted consistently and with this social commitment to which my life in public refers, is it not?

And [I use it] to say, in this sense, once again and also clearly to the public prosecutor, that I have no regrets at all, that I would do everything I did again, because I am convinced that it was what I had to do. And, in this sense, there is also another accusation of the public prosecutor's office that the responsibility for the consequences and actions would not be assumed: That's not true. It's not. I accept them, the actions and their consequences, I went to court, on October 6, 2017 to the Audiencia Nacional, I went again on October 16. I have never withdrawn from justice, because this is my nature, because it is the action of someone who acts on the basis of his conscience, and therefore all my actions have always been public, they will always be public, and also in this new situation, when I spoke to them on the day I underwent interrogation as a political prisoner and as a person of greater public attention. I would also like to inform you that this is a 'loudspeaker effect' which could not be greater.

I am convinced that my companions and I do not agree with the detention. It is true, however, that we have found that this is a 'loudspeaker effect' which allows us to denounce even more vigorously the violation of fundamental rights and the lack of democracy which we suffer as citizens of the Spanish State, and therefore we are not renouncing this status as political prisoners. But what we see — and it is very likely that we have different views — is a criminal process against democracy, because in reality what we are doing is exercising fundamental rights, rights which we have acquired with the progress of humanity — progress which we have achieved in this society and which we are trying to exploit with the greatest possible consistency.

I have already noticed it and don't want to repeat myself too much: It is true that the quality of democracy in the Spanish state depends on the outcome of this criminal trial, not only in Barcelona, but also in Vallecas, in Pamplona, in Salamanca, in Vigo, and I assume that we are all very aware of this; because what is punished in Barcelona will also have to be punished in Madrid, and I am convinced that, in response to this attempt to punish the exercise of fundamental rights, all democrats in the Spanish State must once again unite in defence of what we have always defended, namely democracy and freedom of expression.

I would now also like to use this 'loudspeaker effect' of this criminal process, this last word, to pay tribute to the voters of 1 October, to these two million and three hundred thousand people who voted 'yes' and to those who voted 'no', but took to the streets with a peaceful and democratic attitude and made a commitment to it. This commitment must also be appreciated, because it is not easy to proceed peacefully and democratically when we know at the same time that innocent people have been beaten and that these people have taken to the streets with determination and, as we often like to say, because it was a day that will take years.

And there is another, constant accusation by the gentlemen of the public prosecutor's office, and I heard it in the third row here on the defendants' bench — because I've heard these sessions, these more than fifty sessions in which they have said it all the time — that there have been calls for a permanent mobilization. No, that is to say, yes, it is the truth, it is the truth, and if you are accused of something that you have actually done, then what are you to say, of course yes, that I have done it, and furthermore I have almost the moral obligation, if you will allow me to do it again here and now: ‘Catalans i catalanes, mobilització pacífica, democràtica, permanent, cívica!’ («Catalans, peaceful, democratic, lasting and civic mobilization!»), and may they never fail and always be there, namely with this will to improve society; because if this is the criminal charge made against me or any other citizen, then we are badly off in this country. That is why, prosecutors, permanent mobilisation and without any restriction, but also the right, the right, the right, to protest before all state forces, and that is what we did on 20 September in a democratic, peaceful way, yes, yes, a protest, we did not agree with a decision, but we confined ourselves to what an upright citizen can do, namely to protest, and we did on 20 September, and that seems to be what one wants to question in this criminal process, [one seems to want] that people stop protesting. No, we will not stop protesting, we cannot stop protesting because it is the engine of progress, it is what drives societies forward and the other political prisoners and I, too, are talking about our children, in reality it is, we are obliged to continue protesting to protect these rights so that our children can protest tomorrow.

And there is also talk of civil disobedience. Yes, it is exemplary civil disobedience in the face of the dilemma of abiding by a prohibition order of the Constitutional Court or exercising one's fundamental rights. Yes, fundamental rights have been exercised, I am not an expert on constitutional law, I have not even studied, but I am perfectly aware that when a population disobeys civil law, what it shows is its commitment to society, and that cannot be criminalized, it is an act of coherence and responsibility, it is one of the most useful means for societies to develop, and I am convinced that there can be little doubt among democrats in the Spanish State as a whole, that every time a collective exercises civil disobedience, what it does strengthens the rights and freedoms of society as a whole, whether they are more or less right, but by responding to civil disobedience as far as it must be non-violent, for if he were violent, he could no longer be civil disobedience, and he would not attack an entire legal system, but those laws which he considers unjust, or those decisions which he considers unjust, and he would also fully accept the consequences, to find citizens in the 21st century, in which individualism is on the agenda, is not an occasion for blame, but for recognition, because, look, what I believe is that the problem is not civil disobedience, the problem we have in today's societies is civil obedience, civil obedience which makes it possible for the oceans to be plastic seas, which allows the refugees to die on our coasts and which persecutes the people who want to save these immigrants, and the problem is the civil obedience of hundreds of thousands of people who vote for the rulers, because they allow the Spanish State to save a EUR 60 billion bank and at the same time there are 600,000 evictions, or that one in four people in Catalonia, one of the wealthiest regions of Europe, is at risk of social exclusion. And the problem is supposed to be civil disobedience? Or is the problem the civil obedience of those citizens who still do not protest against such inequalities or such nonsense? And that is why I believe that the problem lies in civil obedience, which today tolerates and allows democrats sitting on this bench to be accused by the extreme right, in close cooperation with the government of the Spanish State, with the government of the Spanish Socialists (PSOE), who accuse us. The extreme right, fascism, accuses the democrats! What we are trying to do with varying degrees of success is to defend the values of democracy that we all share.

That is why I believe that in this process — and I am sure we all did our best to ensure that it went through as well as possible — we did not resolve the root cause, which is that we are still obsessed with searching for an enemy. Maybe it's because we were brought up like this, or it's an anthropological problem, I don't know because I'm not a specialist in it either, but it's true that it didn't allow us to get to the root of the conflict, we kept looking for enemies, and and enemies to the point that some of the witnesses of my defense have not been able to express themselves with total normality either.

And in this sense I believe that this is nothing else than fear, fear of listening, fear of the word, fear of empathy with each other, fear of getting to know each other better and deeper.

It does not make me uneasy to get to know people better, to know the reasons of one and the other, because I am sure that I do not have the absolute truth either, and in this sense I believe that we must go to the root of the conflict, and the root of the conflict is nothing but that we, if we continue to act with fear, we will hardly be able to get to know each other and understand the reasons of one and the other and act with the necessary minimum empathy to resolve this conflict, which is a political conflict, and that I consider this to be entirely a political process, because that, what was said on the first day, was about the right to self-determination, and for any other offence of any other crime, I doubt that the right to self-determination is being talked about, and therefore I would like to say that in the face of a political conflict and in the face of a fear which is a fear of the word, no one will achieve, that we as peoples will come into confrontation, never will they plunge us into a conflict among the different peoples of Spain, however many signatures the People's Party (Partido Popular) may collect against the (Catalan) Statute of Autonomy, however much they try to send us policemen from other corners of Spain, they will never reach it.

We are more than 70% of the citizens of Catalonia, who today have our roots, our origins in other parts of Spain and the whole world, and we regard the peoples of Spain, brother peoples, as peoples of Europe, and they will never plunge us into conflict with each other, they will never manage to rush into each other, because together we have built today's Catalan society, a very diverse, very transversal society, in which people ask very, very, very little about their origins, and in which, on the contrary, one very well asks where one wants to go together. This is the reality of a country which is neither better nor worse than others, but which has become accustomed to this reality, and that is why, as President of Òmnium Cultural, I commit myself not to allow the brother peoples, the different peoples of Spain, to be brought against each other.

The prosecutor also spoke of the king as an explosive device. He said that the king had to make a speech of tremendous depth on October 3. Yes, yes, yes, of enormous depth and very great disappointment, I am sure, for many Spanish democrats, for many Catalan democrats, who, without having gone to vote on 1 October, saw the King renounce his non-party function; what he did was to confirm the impunity of police brutality without condemning it. The images of the brutal police violence of 1 October are very impressive, they are images that will remain in the collective memory of Catalan society for years to come, and in this sense I think it was a missed opportunity that this violence was not denounced by the head of state.

And I was also very satisfied the other day — surely you don't care much about my satisfaction —, but I understood that it was a good sign when the prosecutors finally said, yes, there were a thousand wounded, o my goodness, it was time, finally, it is the truth, there were a thousand wounded, and certainly, and I regret and always will regret that there were 63, 93, however many policemen who suffered injuries. I will of course regret it, yes, without any reservation, but we must also acknowledge that there were one thousand injured on 1 October. I think that this is a responsible task for the public prosecutor's office, and now it would also be very appropriate for the public prosecutor's office to contribute to clarifying the facts which led to the injury.

Therefore, in these three minutes that remain, I want to tell you that I refuse to live without hope and that I refuse to dehumanize my life, and I also refuse to enter into my relationships from now on with 'enemies' and to feel this way because I have no 'enemy', and therefore I refuse to hate anyone, and I refuse to say that I feel any kind of reproach towards anyone. What I would like to say, however, is that on the one hand I will never give up being happy, and that I have also discovered that I was by no means born to be forced to hate someone.

There is an attempt to dehumanize the self-determination movement, the Catalan independence movement, and I think it is the responsibility of the whole world to understand that this [the Catalan independence] is a legitimate option which deserves all respect, just like any other option. The decision of this court will not change my priority, which is not to get out of prison, and I say this with all modesty and respect to you. We are in a collective process, and I am convinced that we will all learn a lesson from the decision of this court in relation to what relates in the middle of the 21st century to the struggle of the citizens who, with all the humility of the world, have decided not to renounce that their country can decide its future.

And that is why I want you to know that at this moment my priority as President of Òmnium Cultural is not to get out of prison, although I believe that prison is unlawful because I did not commit a crime, but that my priority is to get out of prison, to continue to fight and work to progress in the resolution of a political conflict and to achieve it so that my children, the two elders, the little Amat I see growing up behind bars, and one I will have, God willing, in the autumn, can live in a better and freer country.

And it seems to me that this is a claim that unites us all very much.

And I close with two more considerations: I am convinced that this country will not sink into frustration, we have overcome much more adverse situations, and we have been able to raise our heads in the face of much worse events because of what I said to you, a country of immigrants, a country whose citizens decided, more than 40 years ago, that the Catalan language should be the lingua franca in schools so that everyone could have equal opportunities, and that nobody had to give up their language of origin, and the proof is that more than 300 languages can now be spoken in Catalonia and that Catalan is still a language of social cohesion. A country like Catalonia with common struggles, which has paved its streets and squares with its hands, with the struggle of the neighbourhood movement, and therefore I am sure that we will not fall into frustration and will not stop fighting for the right to self-determination, we will continue to fight freely and peacefully to decide our future.

Because look, and you can ask yourself that question: If the police violence on 1 October could do nothing against thousands of people, does anyone believe that any judgement will dissuade the Catalans from fighting for their right to self-determination? I am convinced hat's not to be stopped, that they will continue to fight peacefully to exercise this right to self-determination.

And I come to the end. If I am condemned because I am the tenth president of Òmnium Cultural — and both are an honour — if we are condemned because we demonstrate, because we express our opinion, because we mobilize, because we vote, then I tell you without any harshness and also without arrogance and with all the serenity of the world, that I am convinced that we will do it again («ho tornarem a fer»), that we will do it again, and we will continue to do it as we have done it before, peacefully, calmly, but with all the determination of the world.

Thank you very much!»

A transcription of the Castilian original on which the English translation was based was kindly provided by the magazine L'Unilateral — El digital de la República Catalana.


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