Post-referendum speech by President Puigdemont: translation of complete text

Unofficial rough translation from the Catalan by Alan McManus @gumptionology:

Document: The complete text of the speech by [President] Puigdemont

El Nacional

Institutional Declaration by the president of the Autonomous Region [Catalonia]

Palace of the Autonomous Region, 04.10.17 [3 day after the Referendum]


Welcome compatriots,

We come from some especially intense days, full of emotions and of experiences that will remain engraved on our memory. Once more, the people of Catalonia demonstrated yesterday that they are united, that they are one single people, that fight for the defence of the values of democracy, and do so as they always have and always will do things: with civility and in peace. There have been very symbolic images that help to understand this idea of fraternity and universality with which Catalonia faces its national challenges: persons with Spanish flags and starred [Catalonian] flags sharing fraternally the same cause [democracy]. The rejection of violence, the rejection of the unjustifiable repression by the police force [Spanish Civil Guard, not Catalan Mossos] against the civil population peacefully gathered in the defence of their civil rights that are basic to them.

In this way I would like to praise the courageous attitude of the hundreds of thousands of Catalans who yesterday mobilised in a [general] strike without precedent in our country. They did this without causing incidents, overcoming fears and menaces and, above all, being faithful to the peaceful attitude with which we wish to express ourselves always. Because of this we have to feel strong if we are united and maintain ourselves in this attitude. For all the violence that some wish to practice against us, deeds that are nowhere unacceptable and which have been rejected by many people and rejected with much concern in Europe, we have to maintain ourselves as one people. With differences, with discrepancies, with mistakes and, sometimes, because this also has to be said, with great uncertainty. This does not mean that we should mistreat those who, due to impotence, to fear or cowardice, want us [to act] in another manner. You do not know the admiration in which our people are held everywhere in the world for this attitude [which is] so civilised and so determined.

Disgracefully, not everyone wants things to go well. There are those who attempt to present the Catalan claim [to Independence] as something illegitimate, illegal and criminal. There are those who think that following ballot boxes, ballots and voting is an inexcusable requirement of the rule of law, and that all’s fair in impeding a people in being able to express themselves and being able to decide [for themselves]. We are all very tranquil and serene, and above all very comforted: what we have done, what we are doing and what we will do is what other peoples have already done and what other peoples will do in the future. We follow a path democratically marked by the will of the citizens, and so anywhere this is fought it should begin to be comprehended and respected. [The next 2, italicised, paragraphs are in Spanish not Catalan]

For this reason I want to address the Spanish citizens who in these days have expressed their commitment to the demands of the Catalans; citizens who have sent us their friendship and their solidarity, much valued in the moments in which we are living. Certainly the Spanish authorities should explain better what is happening in Catalonia, with more thoughtful views that help to understand a political problem that we know is complex.

Even so, I am grateful for the effort that we note directly from many people to accompany the Catalan people in our claims. We are one people, who love the languages we speak, who have no problem with identities, nationalities and cultures, who want to continue contributing to the development of the Spanish state and who will never ignore the enormous wealth that diversity represents.

We are, in effect, a society enormously cohered by diversity. Because of that, the message that the Head of State has decided to direct to a part of the population we cannot share nor accept. The King makes his own the discourse and the politics of the government Rajoy that have been catastrophic in relation with Catalonia, and deliberately ignores the millions of Catalans that do not think as they do. He deliberately ignores the Catalans that have been victims of police violence that has frozen the heart of half the world. The King yesterday lost an opportunity to address all the citizens to whom he owes his crown, and to whom he owes the respect incumbent upon him by the Constitution. A Constitution that grants him a role as moderator that in any case he has not had, and that yesterday he firmly declined. Neither has he taken any interest in getting to know the opinion and the view of the Government of the Autonomous Region in any moment of this crisis, and has accepted the assumption of an inadequate role that merely seeks to level the decisions that the Spanish Government makes while they plot to liquidate the aspirations of sovereignty of the Catalan people. Aspirations that he does not doubt [should be] treated as criminal and illegitimate, and against which he uses resources without limit.

I would like to address myself directly to His Majesty, in the language that I know he knows and speaks: like this, no. [The following is in very formal language as it is addressed to the King of Spain. Accordingly, I have translated vostè not as ‘you’ but as ‘Your Majesty’]

With Your Majesty’s decision yesterday Your Majesty disappointed many people in Catalonia, who appreciate Your Majesty and who have helped Your Majesty in difficult moments of the office [the Crown]. People that expected of Your Majesty another tone and a call to dialogue and to concord. As President of the Autonomous Region I believe it necessary to address myself to the whole of the citizenry, to everyone, whatever they think, to guarantee the dedication of the Government that I preside over to protect the whole of the citizenry, to keep watch over their rights to express themselves lucidly and to respect their decisions.

We [President & Catalan Government] do this with the dedication that we assumed at the beginning of the mandate. A dedication to do it with a door open always to dialogue and to respect for the other. We will not move from this, and I wish to guarantee to the citizens that listen to me that my Government has not deviated one millimetre from the dedication to peace and serenity, but now firmly, with which we wish to take action.

Because of this I repeat what I said on Monday: this moment demands mediation. We have refused various proposals in the last hours, and we will refuse more: you [formal: His Majesty and His Majesty’s Government] all know first hand my disposition to take on a process of mediation. I have repeated that this is necessary so many times. Peace, dialogue and accord form part of the political culture of our people. However, we have never rejected any positive response on the part of the State on any of the options of mediation that are already on the table, and I believe, with all sincerity, that it would be a grave irresponsibility not to attend the pleas sent from people from within and without Catalonia and the [Spanish] State that this conflict is managed by politics and not by the police.

Yesterday we neared [I’m uncertain of the sense] our historic desire. On Sunday we managed to hold a referendum despite a sea of difficulties and repression without precedent; yesterday we gave an example of the process of a general strike; and I am sure that these very days will become the best face of our country when the institutions of Catalonia apply the result of the referendum.

Meanwhile we maintain confidence and the exclusion of all provocation and all intention of violence. We do not want that at home nor anywhere else. We will make ourselves strong in dignity and we will be a people capable of making possible the dream that is proposed.

[translator’s note: glosses, added for sense, are mine; glosses in bold, added as explanations, are also mine]


[Thanks to Linnaea Mallette who has released her photo ‘Row of John Deere Tractors’ into the Public Domain]

Document: El text íntegre del discurs de Puigdemont

El Nacional

Declaració institucional del president de la Generalitat

Palau de la Generalitat, 04.10.17


Benvolguts i benvolgudes compatriotes,

Venim d’uns dies especialment intensos, carregats d’emocions i de vivències que ens quedaran gravades a la memòria. Una vegada més, el poble de Catalunya va demostrar ahir que està unit, que és un sol poble, que fa pinya en la defensa dels valors de la democràcia, i ho va fer de la manera com sempre fem i volem fer les coses: amb civisme i en pau. Hi va haver imatges molt simbòliques que ajuden a entendre aquesta idea de fraternitat i transversalitat amb què Catalunya afronta els seus reptes nacionals: persones amb banderes d’Espanya i banderes estelades compartint agermanadament una mateixa causa. El rebuig a la violència, el rebuig a les càrregues injustificables de les forces policials contra població civil pacíficament concentrada i la defensa dels drets civils que ens són elementals.

En aquest sentit voldria posar en molt de valor l’actitud dels centenars de milers de catalans i catalanes que ahir us vau mobilitzar en una aturada sense precedents al nostre país. Ho vau fer sense incidents, superant pors i amenaces i, sobretot, essent fidels a l’actitud pacífica amb què ens volem expressar sempre. Per això ens hem de sentir forts si estem units i ens mantenim en aquesta actitud. Per més violència que hi vulguin posar alguns, fet que no és acceptable enlloc i que ha estat rebatut per molta gent i rebut amb molta preocupació a Europa, nosaltres ens hem de mantenir com un sol poble. Amb diferències, amb discrepàncies, amb errors i, a vegades, perquè també ens ho hem de dir, amb grans encerts. No deixeu que ens ho malbaratin els qui, per impotència, per por o per covardia, ens voldrien d’una altra manera. No sabeu l’admiració que com a poble estem recollint arreu del món per aquesta actitud tan cívica i tan compromesa.

Per desgràcia no tothom voldria que les coses ens anessin bé. Hi ha qui pretén presentar la reivindicació catalana com una cosa il·legítima, il·legal i criminal. Hi ha qui pensa que perseguir urnes, paperetes i votants és una exigència inexcusable de l’estat de dret, i que tot s’hi val per impedir que un poble es pugui expressar i pugui decidir. Estiguem tots molt tranquils i serens, i sobretot molt reconfortats: el que hem fet, el que estem fent i el que farem és el que d’altres pobles ja han fet i d’altres pobles faran en el futur. Seguim un camí democràticament marcat per la voluntat dels ciutadans, i això enlloc de ser combatut hauria de començar a ser comprès i a ser respectat.

Por eso quiero dirigirme a los ciudadanos españoles que en estos días han expresado su compromiso con las demandas de los catalanes; ciudadanos que nos han enviado su amistad y su solidaridad muy valiosa en los momentos que estamos viviendo. Seguramente las autoridades españolas deberían explicar mejor lo que ocurre en Catalunya, con visiones más ponderadas que ayudaran a entender un problema político que sabemos que es complejo.

Sin embargo, agradezco el esfuerzo que nos consta directamente de mucha gente para acompañar al pueblo catalán en sus reivindicaciones. Somos un solo pueblo, que ama las lenguas que habla, que no tiene ningún problema con las identidades, las nacionalidades y las culturas, que quiere continuar contribuyendo al desarrollo del Estado español y que jamás va a prescindir de la enorme riqueza que representa la pluralidad.

Som, en efecte, una societat enormement cohesionada en la diversitat. Per això el missatge que el cap de l’Estat va voler adreçar a una part de la població no el podem compartir ni acceptar. El rei fa seu el discurs i les polítiques del govern Rajoy que han estat catastròfiques en relació amb Catalunya, i ignora deliberadament els milions de catalans que no pensem com ells. Ignora deliberadament els catalans que han estat víctimes d’una violència policial que ha glaçat el cor a mig món. El rei va perdre ahir una oportunitat d’adreçar-se a tots els ciutadans a qui deu la corona, i als quals deu el respecte perquè així li encomana la Constitució. Una Constitució que li atorga un paper moderador que en cap cas no ha tingut, i que ahir va declinar amb duresa. Tampoc no ha tingut interès a conèixer l’opinió i la visió del Govern de la Generalitat en cap moment d’aquesta crisi, i ha acceptat assumir un rol inadequat que només busca aplanar les decisions que el Govern espanyol fa temps que estudia per tal de liquidar les aspiracions de sobirania del poble català. Unes aspiracions que no dubta a tractar com a criminals i il·legítimes, i contra les quals usa recursos sense límit.

Voldria adreçar-me directament a Sa Majestat, en la llengua que sé que coneix i parla: així no.

Amb la seva decisió d’ahir vostè va decebre molta gent a Catalunya, que l’aprecia i que l’ha ajudat en moments difícils de la institució. Gent que esperava de vostè un altre to i una apel·lació al diàleg i a la concòrdia. Com a president de la Generalitat crec necessari adreçar-me al conjunt de la ciutadania, a tothom, pensi com pensi, per garantir el compromís del govern que presideixo de protegir el conjunt dels ciutadans, de vetllar pels seus drets a expressar-se lliurement i de respectar les seves decisions.

Ho farem amb el compromís que vam assumir a l’inici del mandat. Un compromís de fer-ho amb una porta oberta sempre al diàleg i al respecte cap a l’altre. No ens mourem d’aquí, i vull garantir als ciutadans que m’esteu escoltant que el meu govern no es desviarà ni un mil·límetre del compromís de pau i serenor, però alhora de fermesa, amb què volem fer les coses.

Per això reitero el que ja vaig dir dilluns: aquest moment demana mediació. Hem rebut diverses propostes en les darreres hores, i en rebrem més: totes elles coneixen de primera mà la meva disposició a emprendre un procés de mediació. Ho reiterarem tantes vegades com faci falta. Pau, diàleg i acord formen part de la cultura política del nostre poble. Tanmateix no hem rebut mai cap resposta positiva per part de l’Estat a cap de les opcions de mèdiació que ja hi ha sobre la taula, i crec, amb tota sinceritat, que torna a ser una greu irresponsabilitat no atendre els precs que envien gent de dins i de fora de Catalunya i de l’Estat per tal que aquest conflicte s’encarrili des de la política i no des de la policia.

Avui tenim més a prop que ahir el nostre desig històric. Diumenge vam aconseguir fer un referèndum enmig d’un oceà de dificultats i d’una repressió sense precedents; ahir vam donar un exemple en el seguiment de l’aturada general; i estic segur que en els propers dies tornarem a ensenyar la millor cara del nostre país quan les institucions de Catalunya haguem d’aplicar el resultat del referèndum.

Mentrestant mantinguem la confiança i l’aïllament a tota provocació i a tota intenció de violència. Ni la volem a casa ni la volem enlloc. Fem-nos forts en la dignitat i serem un poble capaç de fer possible el somni que es proposi.


Lorca in a time of tyranny

Scowling and stamping her cane, as soon as the door was closed and we were hermetically sealed inside her house, Bernarda Alba (Charlaye Blair) dominated the stage of Michael John LaChiusa’s musical from the start. Only towards the end, with the horrific scene outside (a young woman who had murdered her baby born out of wedlock pursued by a stone-throwing mob) did we understand the tremendous social pressure she was under to keep her virgin daughters inside and inviolate until their wedding day. The heavy cross on the wall beside the huge wooden door, the smoking thurible (wielded with the rhythmic clink that marks the expert thurifer) and the imagined image of the Virgin, addressed in prayer, all set the scene for the patriarchal funeral and the funereal matriarchal atmosphere that followed.

Megan-Louise Fraser had the hard job of performing alternatively as virgin, mother and crone in the characters of the mad Maria Josepha, the matronly (and plainly bored) neighbour Prudencia and the young maid, lowest of the low in this very hierarchical household. The contrast between her youthful features and the dress and grey hair of the mother of Bernarda Alba gave us the insight that inside every grandmother there still lives a young woman.

Gemma Elmes (servant) set her face with all the strong character of the gitanas of Andalucia, yet could also be merry and her voice was a delight. Erin McCullagh (Poncia) played the part of the poor relation well and provided an occasional buffer to the tyranny of the mother of the five unfortunate girls.

Such was the magic of this show that we were persuaded by the insistence of the cast to suspend our disbelief and accept that the very beautiful Abbie MacNeil (Angustias) was, in fact, the ugly sister – though the one lucky enough to receive the attentions of the never-seen male suitor. That she was not the only one receiving his attention was the constant rumour, suspicion, jealously and scandal of the other sisters: dignified but playful Magdalena (Heather Crook) and Amelia (Johanne Rishaug Hellman); besotted Martirio (Caitlin Mae); and minxy Adela (Laura Sweeney).

This challenging show was beautifully choreographed by Kally Lloyd-Jones, with the dancers moving now in unison, now in a complex swirl of stage-setting and striking poses lit by the changing hues of set and lighting designer John Holding. Stage management by Holly Adams was, as it should be for this most self-effacing theatrical role, so good it was invisible.

Having lived in Granada for years, I must confess my initial disappointment that more was not made of flamenco rhythms but on reflection the high social status of the household may well have included a disdain for the music of the pueblo and I could not fault the melancholy combination of oboe/ cor anglais, viola and cello, nor the brio of the guitar-playing by Ross Wilson. Directing the music (and playing piano) Christopher Breckenridge accompanied the cast as they moved effortlessly from intoning liturgical chant to singing the sinister ribaldry of Three Moorish Girls.

With such cast, accompaniment, setting and lighting, director Tom Cooper had all the ingredients of a great show and with percussionist Antony Irwin, and strategic slams of the cane, the door and the chairs, the dramatic effect of the action was startling. With no visual required, everyone in the audience knew what we were witnessing at the last scene and – whether we knew the story or not – everyone gasped.

A timely mediation on tyranny and the oppression of women – even (and especially) by each other. 

Bernarda Alba is performed by GAMTA.


Thanks to Dawn Hudson, who has released her photo “Gypsy Girl With Mandolin, C. 1870” (Public domain vintage painting by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, available from The National Gallery of Art) into the Public Domain


Fascism & Families

At least this time of the year, TV nuclear families are a little more extended. There could be up to 12 people round the table noshing into some unfortunate fowl. That’s three times the usual number because, as we know, the usual number of family members is four. Three of these have blonde hair, one has black hair, all four are White and nominally Christian and preferably Protestant (even if evidently Jewish). We know this because this is how things have always been. Always and in every place. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel; Abraham (and everybody else); Jesus, Mary and Joseph; all royal families and our own family. The one we all grew up in. It’s reassuring.

There are, it has to be admitted, certain types who have other ‘arrangements’. These people are usually foreigners, not nice, heretics, and noisy. Trains don’t run on time where they come from. In our TV town, neighbours greet each other and everyone leaves the door open. Even though they immediately plonk keys into a wee bowl on the wee table right next to the unlocked door. Well, we can’t expect TV to mirror reality exactly.

So where does this black haired White man with his Nordic spouse and offspring hail from? The answer’s in the question. The clues are an adjective and a verb. The verb relates to a greeting that was originally pronounced ave and in more modern times salve and heil. The adjective describes the location of this fascist fantasy.

Mediterranean fascists (normalised as black haired White men) fantasised about ‘raising the colour’ – that dreadful expression familiar to anyone with experience of colonial racism. Have you ever wondered why so many White women, as distinct from White men, feel the urge to dye their hair blonde? The black haired White husband with the blonde White wife and two Nordic children has become so normalised on TV portrayals of generic families that it’s now unremarkable.

Umberto Eco, in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, an archaeology of fascist family memory, shows just how explicit was the erasure of multicultural Mediterranean identity in children’s and adult literature sanctioned by church and state in Italy and Spain during the reigns of Mussolini and Franco.

This erasure continues today. Extended families are like unexpected gifts of puppy dogs. Just for Christmas. They have no place in today’s TV nuclear family. Fascist dictators may have initially encouraged large families, with the connivance of the Catholic Church, but family size can always be altered at the convenience of the state. ‘Two will do’ is a eugenic command that TV has obeyed.

So when you see a Mediterranean patriarch with his peachy Uberwife and a pair of apple cheeked children, think about all the households you know, with all their other arrangements. Think about how this TV fascist family makes them feel.

It’s not all tutti frutti, is it?


Thanks to Karen Arnold for releasing ‘public domain vintage painting of a family outing’ into the public domain.