Diary – I
Together on the streets for our schools, united as a society
Very dear ones,
I am living these moments holding back feelings of powerlessness and rage, but I want you to feel that I am here with all of you. Today, after being imprisoned for five months, the dignity that I feel is absolute.
To all of Omnium Cultural’s employees, to its Executive Board, and to its regional boards all over the country, I send all of you my love. Today we feel like never before the dignity of 57 years of history in defense of the Catalan language, culture and nation. The effort that each of us makes toward this common struggle is the best example that we can offer as a society. Thank you for always being there.
To all of Omnium’s members and to the society in general I say we should convert any powerlessness that we feel into action: the future of our children and of the coming generations is at stake. The cause against Catalonia is today more than ever a cause against democracy.
Today, after 151 nights in the cell that I’ve illustrated for you below, I feel closer than ever to all of you and I have no doubt that we will respond, as we have always done, with tenderness, serenity, unity, and courage.
[Txell’s yellow scarf, outside window, light, letters]
I want to thank you again for all of the letters that you send to me. Inside these walls, letters, paper and pen keep me company. They have become the principal tool for keeping my soul free.
The same goes for the visits that I receive each week. Two weeks ago, Txell, Amat and my parents came for the ‘vis-a-vis’. Maruja, my mom, was born in Múrcia, in El Esparragal; Antonio, my dad, in Badalona. The two of them always speak Spanish together and it was when my sisters and I were born that my mom suggested to my dad that they should speak to the children in Catalan. That’s the way it works in thousands of Catalan homes and luckily, it happens with many other languages like Arabic, Urdu and Chinese as mother tongues. How lucky!
In jail, whenever I get the chance, I tell people that Catalan society is diverse and varied. And that is our treasure.
And that treasure is directly related to Catalonia’s educational model. At the Rosselló-Porcel School in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, 35 years ago, they started the first programs of linguistic immersion, under the leadership of committed teachers and a group of parents, mostly Spanish-speaking, who were very conscious of the importance of fully guaranteeing equal opportunities for all children, no matter where they came from, and no matter their mother tongue. Progress is only created from diversity. There are those who would like to create two separate communities while there are those of us who believe that kids who grow together at school will remain together in the community and united as a society.
Our country has come to a great consensus on Catalan schooling, it is a successful model of social cohesion and equality. That’s why we have to make every effort possible to strength it always and everywhere: today at 5pm you will once again be our voice to defend the Catalan schooling model on the streets of Barcelona: a collective success, called together by SomEscola and under the banner: Catalan schools—democratic and cohesive—are not afraid.
This is the single nation of Benet and Candel, of Maruja and Antonio.
Like my beloved friends of Txarango say: “We need people on this earth who build more and destroy less.”
We are the schools. Long live freedom!
President of Omnium Cultural
Soto del Real, March 17, 2018