Rarely does one hear a speech as simultaneously tough and truth-filled as the one delivered this Wednesday by the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, in the face of the terrible spectacle of discord in the creation of a new pro-independence government to respond to the results of February 14th and bring together all the sensibilities of the historic 52% of votes. Cuixart was, for many people, the best possible spokesperson to give voice to what many independence supporters are thinking today, far from partisan zig-zags and with a single perspective set on amnesty, self-determination, the defence of rights that have been breached, the pride of defending a just cause aiming for liberty and the democratic confrontation with the Spanish state. Cuixart called on the public to fill the squares and streets of Catalonia once more, not as an empty phrase, but in the most literal sense of the meaning.
The Òmnium Cultural president shook up consciences in the La Farga auditorium in L'Hospitalet, which was as full as anti-Covid safety measures allowed. In the front row, from Pere Aragonès to Laura Borràs, and including a select delegation of other leaders of ERC, Junts and the CUP, they applauded Cuixart's statements again and again, perhaps thinking that his words, full of common sense but also expressing deep concern about the disparaging comments of recent days, were addressed, above all, to each one's political rival. Only one of the political representatives absorbed Cuixart's speech from the relaxed position of not feeling personally alluded to by the reprimand, and that was representative of the Socialist city council of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, led by Núria Marín.
Although the Òmnium event, called Let's set ourselves free, had been carefully prepared to avoid the political situation, as it coincided with the 60th anniversary of the cultural body, and was also planned as a starting point to identify the challenges that Catalonia faces as a country in areas such as culture, language, social cohesion and civil and political rights, as well as the work ahead which civil society has. Yet it was inevitable that it would touch down in the midst of the complex political reality of this moment. And it also served to warn the pro-independence leaders, with only 14 days left until the deadline for the investiture of a pro-independence president and the formation of a government based on the same line, that the sovereign entity will "not be there" if it all ends up being dominated by a "sterile dispute between parties".
With the event over and Jordi Cuixart rushing away to Lledoners prison, where he had to arrive before 9pm, the politicians present formed groups and greeted each other politely. Nothing more. Cuixart's ultimatum still resounded in the room: "Let the lynchings and insults between comrades in shared struggles end." Cuixart's sense, in the face of the independence movement's vertigo.