OPINION – Brussels, 7th December 2017
I am happy to express my support for the demonstration in Brussels tomorrow, 7 December, with its goal of pressing the EU institutions and member states, to support the desire of the people of Catalonia to seek a political solution to the crisis that has gripped the region for too long now. Not just in the lead up to the referendum, but for years before that when the government in Madrid refused to meaningfully address the issues raised by the people of Catalonia.
In the lead up to the referendum, I began to canvass Nobel Laureates about their feelings about the rights of people to freedom of expression and self-determination.
By 19 October, some twenty-four Nobel Laureates wrote in support of the right of the people of Catalonia to express their views about their own future. Many of us wish that we could have been in Brussels tomorrow, but it has not proven possible. But in spirit we continue to stand for a peaceful and enduring solution.
Personally, I believe that people everywhere have an inalienable right to determine their political and socio-economic futures. In that regard, when a state – in this case the Spanish government – responds first with violence to a referendum and subsequently with imprisoning activists – Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart – who have helped organize citizens to peacefully express themselves in demonstrations, it becomes difficult to believe that the state will quietly refrain from interference as
the process goes forward.
Perhaps if Madrid freed the “Jordis,” who many in the world see a political prisoners of the Spanish government, there would be more hope. Perhaps if the EU actively supported a peaceful outcome, there would be more hope.
I hope that the EU hears the pleas of the demonstrators on 7 December and of the people in Catalonia and supports a peaceful political resolution of the crisis, however it may unfold.
Jody Williams, American political activist 1997 Nobel Peace Prize