divendres, 20 de juny de 2014

Teacher on hunger strike for Catalan language

Kurdish news agency explains in an article the reasons and developing of the campaign #HungerStrikeforCatalan :

Determined to continue and putting his life in the hands of President José Ramón Bauzá, Catalan high school teacher Jaume Sastre has completed the third week of his hunger strike. It is a powerful protest against the education policies of the Balearic Islands government, which has refused to consider any of the demands of teachers and parents during the school year about the controversial decree that discriminates against the Catalan language in the classroom. Sastre has begun to feel weak, but his mind is as strong as the first day. "Maybe he's the one's who has the strongest morale of all of us," says musician, and former teacher Biel Majoral, que is serving as Sastre's spokesperson now that Sastre's health doesn't permit him to attend to the media.
Jaume Sastre walks a little in the mornings, receives fewer and fewer visitors, and tomorrow will do a complete blood analysis to watch his health. It's been twenty-two days since he began the hunger strike and he is determined to complete at least thirty. From that point, he will enter a more serious phase, and if the government still has not made any gesture, they will discuss how to continue the protest. "He is a natural fighter," says Majoral, and points out the huge quantity of people that have stood by Sastre, including his support team.
"We're headed towards thirty days of the strike, that's for sure. We will wait for the government to make a move, but you've seen what Bauzá says. You'd think the PP hadn't lost a single vote," Majoral says. He's referring to the president's declarations on the government's plans to maintain the current road map. It does not seem that they have any intention of sitting down to talk with the teachers. But Sastre, his support team, and in general the Assemblea de Docents (Educators Assembly) maintain the challenge. And they are confident that a time will come when Bauzá will be forced to listen to them and talk.
Jaume Sastre, 55 years of age, has still not received any visits or calls from the government, but he has been called on personally by several members of the PP, and by dozens and dozens of people, educational centers, and associations, who have joined his cause. "This encourages him greatly, and he says he will keep on as long as the government fails to make any move. If Bauzá is conscious of what a hunger strike means, especially with the movement that is behind him, I don't think he has the luxury of closing his eyes," says Majoral.

All sorts of support
Support for Sastre has come from many directions and from people of all political persuasions, including three former presidents of the government. Yesterday, MP Alfred Bosch presented his case to the Spanish Congress with a question to Minister Soria. He has received ample support on social networks as well, through the selfie campaign promoted by Help Catalonia, with messages on Sastre's Facebook page, with his +VilaWeb blog, and through Twitter. Whoever wants to can also visit the Casa Llarga de Palma, next door to So n'Espases, and sign the visitor's book in order to express their support in writing.
Waiting for the "Diada per la Llengua" [Celebration of Language Day] and the round table on Tuesday
Saturday is an important day: the "Diada per la Llengua" [Celebration of Language Day]. It will be another opportunity to measure the strength of the movement that defends Catalan public schooling. That is why the Obra Cultural Balear has called for participation to fill the Plaça Major in Palma with bows made out of flags. The other important day is Tuesday: in Casa Llarga, where Sastre is staying, there will be a round table with educators and all of the parties that defend dialogue with the Councilor of Education and the suspension of legislation on language treatment. All of the parties that together received more than twice as many votes in the PP in the European elections last week.
The hunger strike is a "reaction against the attacks, the mistreatment and the harassment," say those in charge of Sastre's support team. And they add, "Our education has been hijacked by a government that acts dangerously and unilaterally. After two years, this hunger strike is a response to the smear tactics, bureaucracy, forced rulings, attacks on the language, budget cuts, and derision against the use of the Catalan language in public schools."
Sastre ended his fast after 40 days.

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