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20 de jul. 2018

"They are not the exception, they are the norm", by Xavier Antich

This is an English version, by Marisa Raich, of the article by Xaier Antich "No són l’excepció, són la norma".
We hope Sr. Antich and ARA don't mind.

***** Click on "Més informació" below to read the whole post, if need be. *****

They are not the exception, they are the norm

The battle for the Republic can in no way do without the battle for rights
Philosopher and professor at the University of Girona  
18/07/2018  20:22

This week we learned that the 'Official Defence Gazette' (BOD) has published the reinstatement in the Civil Guard of Antonio Manuel Guerrero, sentenced to nine years in prison for having sexually abused an 18 year-old girl in 2016. He is a rapist who boasted in the social media about being one. As the 'public security body of a military nature' informs on its official web, 'the main mission of the Civil Guard will be to guarantee the protection of citizens in the face of criminal acts that might threaten them', and it also says, 'attending and helping to citizens'. What more can be said?

This week we also learned that photojournalist Jordi Borràs, known as one of the media professionals with the greatest information about the extreme right in Catalonia and for reporting its movements, its violence and its more than usual camouflage under brands such as Societat Civil Catalana or Ciudadanos, and known also for having suffered, directly or through the social media, threats of all kinds, was the object of an attack during which a Spanish police officer literally  smashed his face by punching him while shouting in favor of Franco. We also learned that the Internal Affairs unit has opened against the assaulter a simple informative file and has kept him in his post. As this 'armed institute of civil nature' informs on its official web, the National Police's mission is 'to protect the free exercise of rights and liberties and to guarantee public security'. Again, what more can be said?

This week we also learned that 51 lawsuits for [police] attacks during October 1 in six Barcelona schools have been closed because the judge consdiers that, in spite of the documentarily recorded evidence and the effects in the form of injuries duly certified by doctors, the police's performance was proportional and because, when there could be traces of a crime, the responsible officers have not been identified. It is not clear what the judge has done to identify the attackers, beyond the lack of cooperation and the opacity of the affected police bodies. As Iridia [Center for the Defence of Human Rights] has stated, neither the prosecution nor the National Police or the ministry have properly investigated these facts, nor have they allowed the identification of the people responsible for the alleged crimes. With a perverse logic, the burden of proof for crimes committed by the State bodies has been laid on the victims.

And finally, this week it was nine months since the first imprisonments for political reasons, since that October 16th when judge Lamela ordered Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez to be jailed. Oriol Junqueras and Quim Forn have now been in prison for 258 nights; Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Dolors Bassa, 149 nights; and Carme Forcadell, 118 nights. All of them pre-trial, for crimes that the German and Belgian justices have already denied having been committed and against documentary evidence and witnesses that refute, without discussion, the invention made up by the Civil Guard and the prosecutors, and the judges' orders.

Right now, and we will not go ahead with cases that would make this article ten times as long, it is quite evident that, in Spain, the authorities that ought to be the top guarantors of citizens' rights and liberites (Supreme Court, National Police and Civil Guard) are those first actively responsible for their unfulfillment and its violations. This makes an anomaly happen, which is habitual in dictatorial or totalitarian regimes, but is absolutely irregular in democratic systems and in law-abiding regimes. The result is the utter defencelessness of the citizens that, dumbfounded, observe not only the judiciary arbitrariness but also the impunity with which the police forces exerti violence, by now indiscriminate, for which they have absolutely no legitimacy. The cases mentioned above are not the exception: they are the norm. 

It is therefore surprising that there are still people who are not conscious of the gravity of the situation and who, given their supposedly democratic convictions, do not openly and forcefully mobilize themselves against the repressive fury of a State that has lost control over the force of which it is the allegedly legitimate manager. When the force that the State has to exert, for the benefit of public security, is indiscriminately used to repress political dissidence, or when members of the mis-named 'security' forces smash the face of a journalist or are responsible for sexual abuses and get sheltered by the whole of the State apparatus, that force is simply violence. We may call it impunity or we may simply call it carte blanche. And it is incomprehensible that any democrat may stay aloof from this battle. Out of decency and out of dignity. 

This is why it is also surprising that there are those who, in the battle for the recognition of independence declared and the Republic proclaimed by the Parliament on October 27th, which the Parliament has not revoked, consider that the struggle to defend rights and liberties and against repression can be separated, and even counter-productive, from the other issue. The defence of rights and liberties and the opposition in front of the police and court repression is an elementary principle of republicanism. They are not different causes: they are the same one. And what's more: it is desirable, and the most lucid and engaged minds of the country are working on it, that the defence of rights and liberties, and against repression, can embrace a larger part of the citizenry, beyond those who explicitly want independence and the Republic. But the battle for independence and the Republic can in no way do without the battle for rights and liberties. For tomorrow it could be you. Whether or not you already know. 


Ara has since published its own translation:  https://m.ara.cat/en/They-are-exceptions-they-norm_0_2054794596.html

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