In English Voices From Spain

Félix Ovejero’s Speech. 29th October 2017. Barcelona

Right now, plenty of balconies in our city are full with Spanish flags, Catalan flags and European flags, next to each other. Here, in Barcelona, as in other parts of Spain. And this is good, because there is no incompatibility at all. The ones who are displaying their flags are showing their will to expand their humanity circle, the scope of their citizenship, of democracy and justice. The ones we are here we are not congregated to recreate identities, histories from past centuries, to vindicate dead myths or millenary homelands, to look at the past. We are brought together by something very simple, easily summarized: the collective compromise to defend our rights and liberties. Not many words, but quite accurate, devoid of bombast. It is going to take a long time to drain such rattling prose, to restore the dignity of mistreated words in this time: democracy, freedom. By now, I am content with the concretion of this compromise. It fits in my pocket, here you are: our constitution. The 169 articles that make us free and equal citizens. This should never be forgotten, less now than ever: laws are the power of the excluded from power, of the powerless, our safeguard against despotism. Civilization.

We are against the building of borders on behalf of identity. All borders are a limit to our human condition, a barrier against the freedom, equality and fraternity ideals. Some people, our people, consider that moral and justice matter; some are outside the reach of the rights. To accept a barrier is a resignation, a defeat of reason and justice. But there is something worse: to erect a new frontier where there was none; to turn who were already citizens into foreigners, to say them that they are not our equals, that they are not worthy of deciding and sharing with us.

This is the reason of our fight against nationalism. Yes, nationalism, that toxic ideology. We know perfectly well what I am talking about. Remember the unbeatable definition by the great Jaume Perich: “Nationalism consists in believing that human beings come from different monkeys”. Even worse, it consists in the consolidation of different rights according such superstition. Do not forget it, you heard it a thousand times: because we are different, we do not want to decide nor distribute with the different. Privileges built upon lies.

As could not be otherwise, the secessionist coup has been defeated. Now we need to defeat the ideas upon it was founded, the ideas that drove a civic wedge among citizens, that has poisoned relationships and triggered the hate within families. The worst. The inseparable company of nationalism. Who builds communities on behalf of identity ends up inevitably defending inequality. There are better citizens, purest than others; good and bad Catalans; the other ones that, as has been infamously expressed, and we heard so many times, “need to integrate to be good Catalans”.

Given this, we can only vindicate our miscegenation, that we are full-blooded mestizos, and arguing that, wherever we come from, we all are citizens. Here, in Barcelona, as in Seville, Cuenca, Madrid or Vitoria: full-fledged citizens. No one is more than nobody, nor no one is the owner of a land, because it belongs to all, it is no one’s heritage. This is the impressive conquer of all democratic revolutions, our revolution as Spanish citizens, the one they tried to disrupt. This is our most immediate reality. Our aspiration, the aspiration of anyone with decency, is that tomorrow we can say the same, in the true sense, in Paris, Berlin or Rome. That our political social rights, our condition as free equal citizens, to be extended to any European corner. For a start. To deepen in democracy and justice. As I said: civilization.

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