Jordi SOLE, MEP, OPINION
The time has come for Catalonia to reject the repressive response of the Spanish government to our call for a referendum on self-determination by using democracy, lots of democracy. The best response to the closure of websites promoting the referendum, the seizure of electoral material with words as dangerous as “democracy” or “referendum”, the pressure on the media to avoid publicising the vote, the legal threats against mayors for opening polling stations, the shameful arrests of members of the Government, the raids on printers and messenger services searching for bullet papers… the best response to all of this authoritarian nonsense can only be votes, mountains of votes.
Votes not going against anyone, but just defending our freedom and our rights, our voice and our opinion. In fact, voting -after what we have seen and lived through in recent days- is no longer just a right, but almost an obligation. We have the obligation to safeguard our civil and political rights and our fundamental freedoms. And to do so by voting.
And by voting we will fundamentally undermine the twisted strategy of the most corrupt party in Europe, the Spanish PP, and its accomplices (PSOE and Citizens) to undermine the fundamental rights of the Catalan people by claiming to maintain the unity of the state above all else. They have all stuck to a single, weak argument: that voting is illegal. Well, in a democracy, laws which prevent a vote are unfair. And if it is impossible to change these laws, if everything has already been tried and has been in vain, then it is legitimate, just and necessary to tread all the paths of democracy. We will leave no stone unturned.
People have responded admirably during these days of provocation. We have seen a mobilized and creative people. While police forces were desperately chasing ballot boxes to stop the referendum, the whole country came together in peaceful and ingenious ways to defend freedom of expression and democracy. And while the official voice of the European Union was inaudible in the face of the abuses of Rajoy’s government (with very honourable exceptions), a European country called Catalonia became a beacon of hope for all of the democrats of the world who believe that real change occurs when people rise up and walk peacefully together to defend what is basic and fundamental.