Soto del Real, December 14th, 2017
I can’t say our day to day in prison is hard on itself. The daily routine is imposed and this makes Tuesdays identical to Saturdays. There are no holidays here, neither vacation time, but everybody remembers perfectly how many days they have been locked in with a precision that says it all. In my case, tomorrow will be 60 days [this letter is dated December 14th] that I am in Soto del Real as the president of Òmnium Cultural, a cultural organisation with a 56 year history and more than 94,000 members. Infinite thanks for being there!
The great challenge of life in prison is to maintain a positive estate of mind at all times. In fact, we can say that this is one of the two objectives in life, but even more in situations of great exceptionality as the ones we are going through Oriol, Quim, Jordi, and myself, as well as our families. But also a very important part of you, our fellow citizens who write to show us and share your solidarity and esteem as well as your worries.
Having a permanent constructive thinking implies knowing how to detect unfounded anxieties and fears in yourself, and counteract them at once with rational arguments that lead to an emotional well being. To receive your letters and support, for those of us who are still in prison, is a huge help, and the support of family and friends, absolutely essential. Thanks a million! Think that many inmates are not as lucky and in many cases, imprisonment means breaking abruptly with an important part of their usual environment. A double penalty that means a double difficulty: on the one hand, enduring the sentence, on the other, preparing to return to normality once the sentence is finished, essential to avoid repeating the offense.
If we remember that men, in the name of justice, to rehabilitate the same men, created the prisons, I humbly venture to say that the system calls for a thorough review. Representing Òmnium Cultural and regarding the current situation, I am fully convinced of the need to continue working to strengthen the feeling of collective belonging. Reshape everything that is necessary, but without renouncing the great achievements of the country in recent years.
It is time for high politics and it’s up to our politicians to do it. We know they will. And representatives of civil society, unions, employers’ associations, third sector entities, professional colleges and a long list, with Òmnium Cultural, included. Obviously, we have to take the utmost civic and social commitment in defense of our own institutions, social cohesion, the Catalan school model, and respect for decisions that, freely, peacefully and democratically, take Catalan society.
As Òmnium Cultural, we want to re-stitch the country from end to end, get to know ourselves more and better, taking advantage of our diversity’s enormous potential. But we will only achieve it if it’s all of us and we don’t leave anyone on the way. We will never tire of vindicating dialogue as the main tool to build agreements, or of defending our civil rights everywhere. Rights that we see today grossly knocked down, as shown by our imprisonment. In Europe in the 21st century, ideas are debated, not imprisoned.
It is time to show the world the best of each one of us. In the face of anger, tenderness; in the face of sadness, hope; and in the face of prison, peace, and freedom.
President d’Òmnium Cultural