Read in Catalan

This year's Sant Jordi (St George's Day) has been marked by the delicate political situation in Catalonia. The political prisoners have written messages for the festival, the day of Catalonia's patron saint, from the prisons of Alcalá Meco, Estremera and Soto del Real. Like the government in exile, the prisoners have sent statements charged with emotion for their first Sant Jordi behind bars, the first Sant Jordi under article 155.

Two of the most keenly-awaited messages were those from Jordi Sànchez, second on Junts per Catalunya's electoral list and former president of the Catalan National Assembly, and Jordi Cuixart, president of Òmnium Cultural, who have been in prison for over six months. Sànchez wrote a letter to his wife, Susanna Barreda, expressing regret he cannot give her a rose this year, the first Sant Jordi they've spent apart in 27 years. Later, he published a more political message on Twitter:


Translation: Above all, go out and enjoy this Sant Jordi. Give each other books and roses. Next year, I'll be with you, enjoying this very special day. 

Message from Soto del Real: Happy Sant Jordi 2018: culture, love and liberty which I remember with magic moments like that in the photo. Today, accompanied by a sea of yellow roses of collective dignity. Flowers have to be born at every moment. I love you.

As for Cuixart, on the eve of Sant Jordi yesterday, coinciding with the 43rd anniversary of Òmnium Cultural, he had already given a first message relating to today's celebrations: "Not being able to experience this Sant Jordi with you will be an additional punishment."

The imprisoned government, one month behind bars

Today marks one month since the hearing in which the Supreme Court judge decided to imprison ministers Jordi Turull, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Dolors Bassa, as well as former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell.

The five all published their own comments on Twitter for Sant Jordi. Turull thanked his colleagues for their present, a new release from the journalist Antoni Bassas, Bon dia, són les vuit (literally "Good morning, it's eight o'clock"), a memoir about his popular, long-running radio show.

Message from Jordi Turull: "[Fellow ministers and prisoners] Quim, Josep, Raul and Oriol have given me a book for Sant Jordi: 'Bon dia, són les vuit!' by Antoni Bassas. You don't know how excited it's made me! Thank you! Oh, and long live the colour yellow!

Raul: "Everyone has their Sant Jordi. Mine is my family. Thanks Diana, Elda and Noah for making it experience it from Estremera too. And thanks to everyone who continues writing and sending letters; with you we experience it every day."

Dolors Bassa, from Alcalá-Meco womens' prison, thanked for the gifts of roses she has received. One of the ministers in exile, Clara Ponsatí, had sent the three imprisoned Jordis (Turull, Cuixart and Sànchez) roses painted yellow for their name day.

Dolors B: "Thank you for making Sant Jordi reach Alcalá-Meco. For days we've been recieving beautiful roses painted all colours. Happy Sant Jordi to all!" 

Message from speaker Forcadell: "This year is a different, strange Sant Jordi, which I will unjustly spend far from home. I encourage you to enjoy one of the most special days of the year and to love all those people who matter to you. Love, culture and liberty always win!"

For their part, vice-president Oriol Junqueras and interior minister Joaquim Forn are coming up on six months in prison themselves.

Sant Jordi has always been the best demonstration of who we are as a people, our essence. This year I won't be able to celebrate it as I always do. From prison let me tell you to enjoy the day and for it to be, more than ever: culture, civility and claims.