It is, without doubt, the image of the day. The president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, smiling, something natural for him, and giving the victory sign with his fingers at the doors of Lledoners prison. It's taken 27 months, 822 days for Cuixart, the emblematic president of Òmnium and a model, along with Jordi Sànchez (ex-president of the ANC, also in prison), of pro-independence civil society, to have his first 48 hours free. The man who addressed the lead judge in the trial in the Supreme Court, Manuel Marchena, and the other magistrates on 12th June with that indomitable "we'll do it again", and called for "peaceful, democratic, permanent and civic mobilisation" from Catalans in his final speech before the trial adjourned for the judges' deliberations, has been enjoying since Wednesday evening his first leave, having been granted "second-degree" status.
The enormous satisfaction that some, many of us might feel over his first leave, to be repeated in the coming hours with Jordi Sànchez, and in the weeks and months to come with each one of the nine political prisoners until reaching Oriol Junqueras, who has the longest sentence, doesn't diminish in the slightest the enormous injustice of their imprisonment, which can only be understood in the framework of the wave of repression from the Spanish state against Catalonia. It is not, as such, a gesture of generosity from anyone, rather the strict observance of the law which any inmate can invoke having served 25% of their sentence. The powerful victory gesture from Cuixart is the faithful reflection of someone who has never given in, that prison hasn't parted him from convictions and his commitment. Rather the contrary: that nothing is lost and the independence of Catalonia will be possible.
Cuixart will have no public agenda during this, his first leave, which he will dedicate, Òmnium has said, to his family. Imagining what 822 days deprived of freedom means is impossible. Immeasurable. There's no way to recover so much lost time. Cuixart and Sànchez, the Jordis, as they have ended up inevitably linked in the Catalan public imagination, sentenced to nine years in prison each, embody, here's the paradox, pacifism and non-violence. They did nothing else that 20th September 2017, but everyone knows that. However much it was twisted and twisted during the trial, nobody saw anything else in them. Clearly there was a sentence: exaggerated, disproportionate, unjust, cruel; exemplary, they say in Madrid. But that doesn't change the situation. They are men of peace and defenders of non-violence. "I've acted with conscience and coherence and without any regrets", Cuixart stated solemnly in the Supreme Court as he called for permanent mobilisation. Words which still make complete sense.