In English Voices From Spain

My Mother at the Societat Civil Catalana’s Demonstration

Originally published in Spanish. “Mi madre en la manifestación de Societat Civil Catalana”. Laura Fàbregas. The Objective.

One of the most significant “successes” of the independence process has been to watch people as my mother at the Societat Civil Catalana’s demonstration. You will never see my mother with a rag, neither Catalan nor Spanish; not even a kitchen rag. For her, flags have always been “dirty bloodied rags”, she said to me when, like any young with political concerns, I flirted with pro-independence movement during my college years.

That Sunday, however, like many other thousands of Catalans, she decided to go to Barcelona. She confesses that, at her 62 years, never thought that she would find herself surrounded by Spanish flags. She belongs to the generation that suffered the Franco’s dictatorship and at the slightest contact with the insignia she inevitably feels some rejection. But she tries. Her wisdom prevails over biases; she knows that, no matter what they said, Franco is dead, Spain is a democracy and Catalonia is free and thriving as never before.

She speaks with the moral authority of someone who not only has lived under dictatorship; she also fought within the PSUC (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia), in the tough times, when only a few dared to take to the streets, and the Catalan bourgeoisie —the grandfathers of the CUP’s systemic rebels— held positions as civil governors and made businesses with the ones they consider now their oppressors. Sure, today everybody claims that they also had to run away from the Francoist police. But are fewer the ones that, like her, avoided to be prosecuted by the Public Order Tribunal, thanks to the Law of Amnesty in 1977.

As it might be the case for many of those who were that day in Barcelona, my mother has evolved toward moderate positions too, and that day another taboo was broken: she rallied surrounded by Spanish flags. This insignia that, ironically, today protects our rights because it does not require a sentimental adherence. Just administrative loyalty, unlike the independentist flag, which excludes to anyone that does not sympathize with its plans.

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