diumenge, 17 d’agost de 2014

Remembering the Thirteen United States of America

There is much talk of whether current Spanish law allows Catalonia to decide for itself whether it wants to become a fully sovereign state. There is much talk of a possible aggressive reaction from Spain were Catalonia to express its will to decide. There is much talk of whether European organizations could and would support a possible secession. There is much talk of whether the world would be willing to recognize Catalonia as an independent state.

A lot is being said about this, too much.

So much in fact, that we forget that the right to decide, the right to self-determination, is an act that resides in the people who may exercise it, and it is their duty and responsibility to decide, when facing an unjust and immoral situation, whether they wish to continue being invariably tied to those who, begrudgingly, permanently and systematically submit a people against its will to laws, regulations and actions that directly attack its essential characteristics and endanger its survival.

We are not talking about a kind of emancipation in which those who have the power voluntarily grant it to whoever wants to emancipate themselves. We are not talking about this because those who have this power to grant do not have the slightest intention of doing so. On the contrary, those who have the power seek to perpetuate it and to create the conditions to rid themselves of whoever requests emancipation at any time.

We have talked about a people that want what is theirs, who intend to decide on their own future, something that is being denied by those who have the power and furthermore who act premeditatedly to eradicate this people, to assimilate it into a culture and a world that is not its own.

While I was reading history, I stumbled upon a text which might help to understand the feeling of the Catalans and which could perfectly be the Declaration of the Independence of Catalonia,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The text continues explaining the causes that have led the people to take this decision in order to protect themselves; not looking to damage or scorn the State from which they want to separate, but simply impelled by a strong desire to ensure the survival, freedom and happiness denied by the state they belong to against their will.

The text is not too long; it has 1,330 words including the title. It is easily understood, convincing, clear, and explicit. After calmly reading it, as a Catalan I subscribe to it and make it my own almost in its entirety. It is the Declaration of Independence of the thirteen United States of America signed on July 4, 1776.

I only ask to all of those who are puzzled, wondering what is happening in Spain and what the Catalans are asking for, that they read this declaration, or those who already know it, that they re-read it. Once read, or re-read, think of a peaceful people with its own culture and language, one that is at least as old as Spanish but cannot be used in a normal way and on a daily basis. Think of a people that feels constantly asphyxiated by the taxes it pays, but which do not go to improving its welfare; of a people who approves laws which are censored or just simply revoked; of a people that sees that the state it belongs to despises it and scorns it; of a people that continues stoically to work and contributes, hoping that one day all of this will improve until, finally, it receives what it deserves.

And finally, ask yourselves what the Catalans should do –seeing that they find themselves at the gates of the disappearance of their culture, language and as a people, due to the will of the state which they are part of– how they should act, how they should react. And after thinking about this, I ask you again to read the Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen United States of America.

Please, keep the Catalans in mind. Thank you.

Albert Sagués

Spanish version

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