Impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing. Benoît Hamon, the Parti socialiste's candidate for president of France in 2017, has said on more than one occasion that that's one of his mottos, making words attributed to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, his own. The boxer from Kentucky and Hamon didn't know each other, likewise the French politician doesn't know the Catalan political prisoners he'll visit this Monday in Soto del Real prison. But Ali's maxim is surely shared by the members of the Catalan government and the leaders of Òmnium and the ANC deprived of their freedom for 531 days, in the case of the Jordis, who have spent the longest in jail, to 374 nights for Carme Forcadell, former speaker of the Catalan Parliament.
Hamon's visit is, after the manifesto from 41 French senators in support of Catalonia, another new blow to the Spanish government's policy. Hamon isn't giving explicit support for independence, rather something much more valuable currently when it comes to pointing out the deterioration of freedoms in Spain. For Hamon, turning to the legal path to resolve the political conflict and imprison someone for their political opinions is the antithesis of the dialogue and negotiation that should be happening. Hamon, like the French senators, calls for France and the EU to become involved.
Benoît Hamon is the antithesis of Manuel Valls. The two were members of the Parti socialiste: one from the party's more left-wing and environmentalist sector, the current candidate for mayor of Barcelona for Ciudadanos in its more liberal sector. They faced each other in a contest apparently tilted in Valls' favour in the 2017 primaries for the French presidential election which Hamon came out of successfully as the party's candidate for president. It was Valls' political obituary in France and those who know him well say he never recovered from that painful moment: the snub from his Socialist candidates stopping him one step from being candidate to the Élysée facing Macron, Le Pen, Fillon and Mélenchon.
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men. Impossible is not a fact. It's a dare", reads part of the rest of that quote attributed to Muhammad Ali, who was everything in the ring, but was also doubtlessly more than a boxer. And, at stake, are nothing more than the freedoms compromised in Spain.