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Chomsky and six other international figures demand the release of the Catalan political prisoners

By Monday July 16th, 2018 No Comments

Angela Davis, Ben Emmerson, Pep Guardiola, Jody Williams and Bill Shipsey also star in Samuel Aranda’s video criticising repression in Spain

Barcelona, 17 July 2018 – Òmnium Cultural is promoting a spot that brings together international figures under the motto “We demand justice and freedom”. Activists Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, football coach Pep Guardiola, the founder of Amnesty International’s Art for Amnesty, Bill Shipsey, human rights lawyer Ben Emmerson and journalist and writer Martín Caparrós star in the video directed by Samuel Aranda, a photojournalist and winner of the World Press Photo Prize.

All seven widely recognised international figures denounce the rollback of rights and freedoms in Spain, defend the freedom of expression and demand the release of the nine Catalan political prisoners.

The guiding thread of the video is a manifesto read by all seven figures before the camera that lists the grievances and infringement of rights that have taken place recently in Spain. The manifesto recalls that the freedom of expression, the right to assembly and the right to vote are all human rights and must be respected under democracy; denounces the court cases opened against professors, artists and activists and the sentences of the rappers Pablo Hasel and Valtonyc; stresses that this democratic regression especially affects Catalonia; and reminds us that nine people are being held in pre-trial detention for having defended the referendum on self-determination on 1 October 2017. It also mentions Amnesty International’s condemnation and demands that the Spanish institutions put an end to the repression. This is why it ends with the sentence: “We demand Justice and Freedom”.   

The video was originally recorded in English and is subtitled in Spanish and Catalan. It is available on Òmnium Cultural’s social network accounts and the website Us volem a casa, which supports the political prisoners and people driven into exile.

The campaign also has footage from videos adapted by different platforms and social networks and a photo gallery showing the stars of the campaign with their eyes closed and an aesthetic that seeks to attract the public’s attention. Aranda says that with their eyes closed, “we seek an aesthetic that attracts the viewers’ attention, not just to the serious condition of the political prisoners and the constant loss of freedoms, but to the growing normalisation of events”. Moreover, the participants’ closed eyes emphasise the expression on their faces.