Read in Catalan

I remember a conversation with president Josep Tarradellas, in the Catalan government palace, a few weeks after he arrived in Barcelona after an exile which had lasted 38 long years. Tarradellas had returned as president, in the only disruptive act of the Spanish transition to democracy. "Do you know why the Catalan presidency is so important?", he asked aloud and with the formal distance deemed appropriate at that time, autumn of 1977, which required the use of vostè, the polite "you", between a president and a journalist. And, sitting comfortably in an armchair in his residence, the Casa dels Canonges, he responded himself: "Because of its history. The institution symbolises exile, imprisonment, a president executed by the Franco regime, many more tribulations than successes. For that reason, it's expected of us that we should be, above all, worthy of the office."

I've thought of that quote on various occasions, for example when president José Montilla placed himself at the head of the demonstration held in 2010 against the Constitutional Court's sentence against the new Statute of Autonomy which, in many aspects, represented the start of the whole current debate, since it confirmed that the wish of the Spanish deep state was to keep things going as they were, rather than open a second transition. The same thing could be said of some of the situations experienced by presidents Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont. The dignity, the importance of the office, as contrasted with the political frivolity of Pedro Sánchez.

This November Monday, Quim Torra has turned his trial in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia for a non-existent crime into a vibrant political statement in defence of liberties, Catalonia's right to self-determination, the value of the 1st October 2017 referendum and his confidence that not even the repression, however harsh it may be, will be able to change the will and the destiny of the Catalan people. In short, a very good speech. Sixteen minutes for his closing statement, which he used to explain why he didn't follow the order from the Central Electoral Commission to remove a banner calling for the release of the political prisoners and a yellow loop from the balcony of the Catalan government palace. And to let the court know that, if he is in the end found guilty, others will follow him, as he has followed in the wake of his predecessors, since the will of the Catalan people won't be decided by a handful of judges.

It's very possible, when Torra is banned from office, that a Catalan election will be called, since it seems impossible that the Parliament will be in a position to elect a new president with the current parliamentary majorities and the division of the pro-independence movement. He's known that for some time and all that's left is for him to decide how to round off his presidency and if he can add something to his final words this Monday: Visca Catalunya lliure!

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