Saturday, 24 October 2009

The actions at Prats de Molló

November 4th 1926 is remembered in Catalonia for being the feat by Francesc Macià and the hundred other volunteer patriots, who from the Northern Catalan city of Prats de Molló, showed the Catalan nation’s conflict and her wish for independence to the rest of the world.

Following what is known as “The Actions at Prats de Molló”, Catalan claims were spread worldwide. The detention of the insurgents –summoned  in the county of Vallespir, due to  the betrayal of a spy, who was descendant of Italian revolutionary Garibaldi, paid by the French, the posterior trial of Francesc Macià and the other soldiers in Paris, the sentence –imprisonment and fines- and his exile in Brussels were highlights in the European and American press for quite some time.

Since 1714, the name of Catalonia had not been mentioned by so many people beyond the borders. Two-hundred and odd years after Spanish occupation of Catalonia, a new generation of patriots bore arms to demonstrate to the other Catalans how independence is achieved. The belligerent character of Catalans was well alive within those youngsters, and Catalan tradition was carried out once again despite prohibitions. Coming to age where the child would be considered a grown-up man, the head of the house gave him the key, the “duro” –money- and the knife. Catalans always considered ourselves “franks” –free-, as opposed to other humans, most of whom were subjects. Freedom, determined and regulated from the origins of the Nation within the Constitutions of Catalonia, cost blood and because of that, all well-born Catalans bore arms, to defend themselves and their freedom. With Macià, this atavistic spirit, the wish for recovering the snatched freedom was reborn, and a lot of his followers abandoned everything for Catalonia: family, job, study, social position … Until the last breath, all without exception had preserved the sparkle of Independence in their eyes. Eternal glory to defenders of the motherland! 

The first days of November 1926, more than a hundred Catalans demonstrated with desire for freedom and Independence that was claimed by the subconscious of a whole nation, which remained imprisoned and violated by the Spanish tyranny and barbarism represented by Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. It was an all-level attempt of armed uprising, impregnated with courage and heroism; should it have succeeded, we would be a in front of a historical contemporary precedent of secessionism, surely very productive and hardly coverable by the “official” historiography, and actually provable. In any case, political leaders like Macià, are greatly missed in the actual Catalonia, where there is no audacity nor heroism but a great deal of complexes and genuflections.

President Macià had determination and a clear goal. This is a résumé of the declaration that Macià had to read when Independence was declared:

”TO ALL FREE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. It is Catalonia where we salute you from, free Nations of the World, at the moment of raising in arms in defence of her non-expiring right of self-government. We want a Free Catalonia for Catalans! We want a modern culture for our children, for our workers and our Colleges. We want the maximum improvement for our proletarian force and for our Higher Education schools. We want to manage our National wealth ourselves, in an Independent Catalan Republic.

Let the World know that we are not encouraged by hatred against the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, nor by any imperialist or conquering spirit. We would consider ourselves lucky, once free, to help the other nations of Spain that suffer under the same regime of reaction, so that they become free too.

We want to break the chains that have forcefully brought us under the yoke with them, and to exchange those for free and fraternal links that allowed us to work together towards international peace. Because international peace is, the ultimate goal why we raise in arms. And is to you, free nations of the world, to whom we address, first, the salutation and then an anguished yell, asking for your recognition of our right to become free.

We do this with hope and faith in freedom and justice, the fundamental principle of International Law for non-forced cooperation, but free, of all nations and for civil equality, against all privileges and against tyranny. We are convinced that peace in Europe will not be assured while the force of the armies supports imperialism and that the rights of the small nations to decide by themselves. For the right of the nations and the people! For international peace! Good Health!

Francesc Macià, Prats de Molló, 1926

Today, more that eighty years later, this declaration prepared by the Catalan volunteers leaded by Macià remains almost totally valid. A reason to reflect on, and that his experience and sacrifice be the example to not cease the fight for the independence of Catalonia.
Catalunya Acció, with an ambitious, and updated to the 21st Century project, without firearms, but with the same energy and conviction, gathers the spirit and courage of those Catalans that one day said enough and realized that the only solution is to break with Spain.

Oriol Escuté

Member of Catalunya Acció

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