On the evening of September 10th 2012, Artur Mas gave his institutional message before the following day's Diada, which was being organised by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) for the first time and was expected to be massive.
The first part of the speech deals with the problems of the economic crisis, and Mas gives a fairly typical the 'Catalans Shall Overcome' message, invoking the past, present and future of the Catalan nation.
When Mas starts talking about Catalonia's future we get to the core of the speech, where he addresses key subjects of national transition, fiscal pact and, his rather euphemistic term, national fulfilment (plenitud nacional).
However, the key moment comes at the end when he announces that he will not be attending the mobilisation in Barcelona the following day but that "I want you to know that your demands are my demands, that your voice is my voice, that your desires are my desires. Because in definitive, whether these voices are calling for the fiscal pact, for our own state, for the respect we deserve as the peaceful and democratic nation that we are, or for our dignity, they are all being raised in the same direction: for more justice and freedom for Catalonia."
This year we celebrate the National Diada submerged in a climate of growing economic and social difficulties, with a severity almost unprecedented since the return of democracy and self-government, more than 30 years ago. The crisis that we're suffering and that is hitting many of our citizens, often very hard, is longer and more serious than anyone could have predicted. These are situations that nobody likes, with which no one can feel comfortable, and to the extent that nobody chooses them but just finds themselves in them, they only leave one option: to stand up and face up to them. And to make it clear that however long and hard the period of adversity that we have to live through is, we'll turn it around, get over it and leave it behind us.
And for generations, we will remember the causes and errors that brought us here and the lessons that we are learning. The present we are going through constantly puts us to the test, both individually and collectively, as people and as a nation. It puts to the test our resistance, our spirit of improvement, our imagination, our creativity, our drive, our economic model, our welfare model, our generosity, our sense of the common good and our patriotism. All this is being tested, and this is no small matter.
When the rock that is on us weighs so much, we can fall into fatalism or into desperation. That's only human, but it won't do us any good. We have to fight, hard and without respite, against any sense of dejection or weakness that might grip our society.
In order to achieve this, I propose three different but complimentary ways of seeing things.
The first is to look into the past, towards our history. You will see that despite some defeats, which at one time might have seemed definitive. Catalonia has never been or behaved like a beaten people. Along the paths of our history, you'll find many reasons for hope.
The second view is to the side, to what is around us, towards the present. You will see many examples of people, of collectives and organisations that behave with great generosity, with a very high sense of duty and responsibility, that do things, that help, that mobilise for all manner of noble causes. In all these people, that fortunately number thousands upon thousands, you will find reasons for hope.
The third view is ahead, into the future. Never before has Catalonia been so close to its aspiration and its desire for national fulfilment. Every day more and more Catalans take on board this sentiment and this concept which is that we, the seven and a half million people that make up Catalonia, who have the right to decide our future as a people and as a nation. This is also a solid reason for hope.
The national transition that Catalan society is bringing about has a main objective that is unifying and shared: the fiscal pact. Last July, our Parliament passed the proposal we will argue for in the coming weeks by a large majority. That's what we'll do. It's urgent, just and necessary.
The fiscal pact is the most obvious and socially transversal example of the national transition. Catalonia has enough internal energy to live better than it does. We produce enough resources and enough wealth to live better than we do. There isn't a more urgent battle or a more important challenge than our country's tax sovereignty. And even more so at the present time.
In recent times, it has become definitively clear that Catalonia's legitimate national aspirations are inseparable from the well-being of its citizens. It is for this reason that tax sovereignty is now an act of national affirmation and an act of social affirmation, to the extent that those that suffer most are specific individuals, with names and surnames. We aspire to more as a nation because we aspire to more as a society, and vice versa.
The false conflict between national aspirations and the well-being of its citizens has now become obvious. We don't aspire to more in some things and less in others: we aspire to more and that's it, because we want to be a European society like any other. Catalonia's national fulfilment and the well-being and cohesion of its citizens are not contradictory, quite the opposite, in fact.
These are times of difficult decisions. Many of the ones we have to take aren't particularly pleasant. We move amongst the uncertainties and the weaknesses of the European project, and the Euro, and the lack of vision and sense of State that reigns in Spain, and that impedes joining forces at a time at which working together has become so decisive. Europe hasn't found its way yet, and Spain is determined to destroy its own path. Catalonia is stuck in the middle of a scenario that we don't control, but that conditions our day to day. If we want to stay on our feet in the middle of this heavy turbulence, and not lose our way, our country has to navigate knowing that when the water floods the boat, you have to get it out however you can, if possible with everybody's help, in return for this you stay afloat and get to port, once the storm is over.
Precisely because we constantly have to get water out of the boat, I ask not only for understanding, but also commitment and implication from everyone. I ask you, but above all, I thank you for this because I'm fully aware that thanks to the work of many, often anonymous, people, Catalonia faces its difficulties with great dignity and notable efficiency. I still can't announce that we've turned the situation round because I don't want to betray the truth or try to fool anyone. But I continue to have an indestructible faith that we'll come out of this stronger and with better healthier values as people and as a nation.
I hope with all my heart that you have a good National Diada. Of assertion and mobilisation, always presided by civic attitudes and respect for other people's ideas, even though we don't share them.
Tomorrow many of you, my fellow countrymen, will demonstrate in Barcelona. My heart will be with you. My spirit and commitment, too. As President of Catalonia, I must have a more institutional role, bringing affinities together, joining wishes, always preserving the unity of the Catalan people whenever possible. However, although it may be in silence, I want you to know that your demands are my demands, that your voice is my voice, that your desires are my desires. Because in definitive, whether these voices are calling for the fiscal pact, for our own state, for the respect we deserve as the peaceful and democratic nation that we are, or for our dignity, they are all being raised in the same direction: for more justice and freedom for Catalonia.
Every individual will decide how they participate in the Diada. Whether in the institutional events, in the mobilisations on the streets and in other places, let's do this in the spirit of togetherness together, knowing that we are being observed, letting our voices be heard, calmly and clearly, and showing and proclaiming the solidity of our convictions, of our commitment to and love for Catalonia.
Long live Catalonia!
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