Sunday, April 22, 2012

I enjoy working for Freedom

Citizens' Voice Series







Carme Teixidó
President of @AraoMai
@almogaten



I am a member of an organization that works towards Catalonia’s independence. This organization is named Ara o Mai (which means Now or Never), and it is a member of lots of other associations in Catalonia.

Catalan society has a long tradition of organizing itself through associations, since long time ago, when several groups of all types with common affinities have been grouped together to work for efforts. And being as constructive as we can, we have proven over time, and much more in this present days, that we can put up with it and cooperate voluntarily in a thousand social tasks.

We found a lot of cultural organizations, divided on issues like working in our language, or those working in our history, or in popular traditions and so on.
We owe them that Catalan identity has been kept alive. Not many years ago, during the military dictatorship of Franco, a dark time, we had even forbidden the use of our language. In the last three hundred years, in general, since we lost our freedom as a country, our culture has suffered a continuing crackdown by Spain.

Although the country has advanced in the process of national freedom, thanks to the end of the dictatorship and the arrival of democracy, Catalans continue without the right, recognized by the United Nations to self-determination. Although we are not yet able to choose our future as a country, it has been standardized the use of the language and culture, over the 35 years of this democracy. We have the freedom to express what we want, but not to question the Spaniard symbols and the Spanish monarchy, their flag or their army, among others, because these are still issues that have been legally punished very severely, even with imprisonment, under the concept that are unconstitutional. That is why we must be careful to make allusion and give opinion on these concepts, because we still can pursue justice.

But we can say that we enjoy freedom of speech in other matters. This association has resulted in changing the trend, we are people of habits, and most of the aforementioned cultural organizations still remain doing a great job (recover 300-year history that many have tried to delete is not that easy).

For a few years has emerged what they call political entities as Ara o Mai.
The main task of those political entities is to influence and pressure the parties, and push the parliamentary and political understanding with Spain, so they don’t stop the struggle for independence. Political bodies are every day feeding the flame of desire for freedom for the country, with the intention of the voters slowly starting to not conforming with agreements of understanding with the state. It requires the parties to go beyond, with firmness and courage to achieve independence

For this reason, as the civil society is mobilized to this desire, the organizations try to organize and move these messages to the politicians so that they act in the field that matters, and the only area where independence can be achieved is in Parliament.

As an example, I will tell you about the association which I belong, the first action of Ara o Mai was to collect signatures to ask politicians to make a big coalition in order to obtain majority for the independence on the Parliament (currently we have over 8000 attached).
In 2011 we were the instigators of the first demonstration of civil society where all the parties were involved, and that took as its motto the word independence.

The birth of political entities is a very positive movement because it awakens the conscience and causes the social progress to go faster.
We must act carefully, because some of the political institutions are created by the parties themselves to lead the society into their strategy and some organizations obey orders from the parties that subsidize them.

In Catalan society the feeling that Catalonia has to be an independent country in Europe is increasingly stronger. My personal opinion, shared by many people, is difficult to manipulate. Every day, we give a step towards freedom, and all these little steps are not leading people to the previous situation. This causes a slow change of trends in the political class, because those who voted already want something different from what was offered in the last election.

I enjoy with my work fighting for freedom, because I really believe we deserve it.
I believe every human being deserves to be free, and this fight cannot be punished. Even if Spain keeps banning our rights, I will work to achieve what I believe it's fair. My language, my culture, my soul cannot be humiliated, because they are as good as any other.

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