Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez: one year in prison awaiting trial with charges of rebellion and sedition (carrying sentences of 15 to 30 years). Their fault? As leaders of two civic organizations (Òmnium Cultural and Assemblea Nacional Catalana), they helped organize massive and totally peaceful demonstrations in favor of Catalan self-determination, including the mobilization of more than two million people in the Oct 1 vote that was violently repressed by Spanish police. According to Amnesty International: “There is no justification for keeping Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart in pre-trial detention and we reiterate our call for their immediate release… their continued detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction on their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly… the charges against the two men are unfounded and must therefore be dropped”. With them, seven other people jailed for the same political reasons, while another seven are exiled in Europe. Civil rights these days in the kingdom of Spain…
Another Oct 16, in 1968. Olympic Games in Mexico. The iconic picture of US medalists Smith and Carlos in their silent protest for civil rights while their national anthem was played, a gesture that ended their carriers. Dedicated to the two Jordis; to Daphne Caruana Galizia (Malta’s journalist killed this same day last year for denouncing corruption); and to all those who stand up for their rights and freedom, even when it irritates the structures of power. La lutte continue…
“Non opprimerai lo straniero: anche voi conoscete la vita dello straniero, perché siete stati stranieri nel paese d’Egitto.” (Esodo 23,9)
Tira una brutta aria in giro per il mondo, e non solo nei luoghi di conflitti violenti. Anche vicino a noi il mix di populismo, nazionalismo e involuzioni autoritarie comincia a farsi preoccupante, soprattutto quando si manifesta nel comportamento di maggioranze e di governi. Si pensava all’Ungheria e alla Polonia (per non parlare della Turchia), ed ecco repressione politica in Spagna, esponenti democratici catalani in prigione o in esilio, attacchi alla libertà di espressione. La stessa Amnesty International segnala poi un’Italia “intrisa di ostilità, razzismo, xenofobia”. Si aggiunga l’irresponsabilità di forze politiche che predicano intolleranza o soluzioni demagogiche, una classe dirigente incapace di attuare riforme a largo raggio, una popolazione che si lamenta ma poi rifugge l’impegno della responsabilità, una legge elettorale che si limita a fotografare lo stallo e le divisioni, e il panorama è piuttosto desolante. Anche il mio abituale scetticismo nei confronti del potere comincia a richiamare i sentimenti anarchici di gioventù… E però, pur cosciente dei limiti di questo gesto, ho deciso di usare ancora (finché ce l’ho) il mio diritto di voto, per rafforzare quelle voci un po’ controcorrente, di minoranza oggi ma che vogliono farsi sentire, per dire che vogliamo più libertà, più diritti, più apertura, più serietà, più integrazione, più Europa. A queste elezioni voto +Europa con Emma Bonino e i Radicali Italiani.
Catalunya is heading towards a new election, after the Spanish government took over its institutions, deposing the president and government, and dissolving the parliament. The constitutional provision used (the now infamous art. 155) literally only authorizes the central government to force the autonomous community to comply with its legal obligations, by giving binding instructions to the community’s authorities – which is a bit different from arbitrarily ceasing those authorities and taking over the local government. Not to mention the fact that after the Oct 1 referendum, the Catalan authorities had refrained from taking any formal action whatsoever that could be deemed illegal. The symbolic declaration of independence voted by the Catalan parliament on Oct 27 (a political declaration of intentions mostly confined to a preface that was not actually voted) came just as a last statement of protest when the Spanish government was finalizing the take over.
Before that, on Oct 16, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the pro-independence civic associations (ANC and Omnium) that organized many massive and totally peaceful demonstrations, were arrested and held without bail under criminal charges of sedition. Then, on Nov 2, eight members of the Catalan government were also jailed without bail under criminal charges including rebellion and sedition, while an international warrant for the same charges was issued for president Puigdemont and four more government members who escaped arrest by moving to Belgium. The Catalan parliament’s president was also charged and spent a night in jail before being released on bail. Continue→
Why should I seek? I am the same as He. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself!
[Rumi (1207-1273), from Dīvān-e Kabīr]
More than 300 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a Sufi mosque in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula last week. We are obviously affected when tragedies happen close to our homes, but we tend to forget too quickly the magnitude of the violence that hits people in more distant countries. Most of the victims of terrorism lived in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, … We are used to associate Islam to the perpetrators of the attacks, and we tend to forget that a majority of the victims are Muslims. Which tells us that terror and mass murder are really means by which some try to impose their absolute power on people, independently of the ideological or religious cover. Same as with fascism, Nazism and other totalitarianisms.
For the people who died, a poem from the great Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi: Continue→
HUMAN FLOW – a documentary by Ai Weiwei (2017)