Lluís Maria Xirinacs i Damians

Catalanist Activist, Priest and Politician

Lluís Maria Xirinacs i Damians was born on August 6th 1932 in a house on Carrer Balmes in the Eixample district of Barcelona.

He was a pacifist priest and Catalan politician, a Doctor of Philosophy and writer. He was committed to the cause of Catalanism and often came into conflict with the authorities, as a result.

Xirinacs was ordained a priest in 1954 at the age of 22 and became active in the peaceful Catalanist resistance to the Franco regime, giving his support to students' movements and participating in the sit-in known as the capitxinada.

In 1968, he appeared before a court martial accused of inspiring the Front d'Alliberament de Catalunya and in the early 1970s was one of the people behind the creation of the Assemblea de Catalunya, which united all the Catalan anti-Franco forces in the years leading up to the dictator's death.

He received a number of peace awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.

Xirinacs was an independent senator for Barcelona between 1977 and 1979 and headed the candidacy for the Bloc d'Esquerra d'Alliberament Nacional (BEAN) to the Spanish Congress of Deputies in 1979 and to the Parliament of Catalonia but failed to get elected on both occasions and the party disbanded.

He left the priesthood in 1990 to dedicate himself to writing and returned to pro-independence activism in 2000.

On the National Day of Catalonia, La Diada, on September 11th 2002 he made a famous speech at El Fossar de les Moreres in Barcelona in which he said "Gandhi said that a supporter of non-violence cannot treat both sides of a violent conflict with neutrality: the agressor is the enemy, the aggressed is the friend, even though it may be violent. I have tried to fight in a non-violent way all my life. But I declare here, and I say it loudly, in case there are police or public prosecutors here: I declare myself enemy of the Spanish state and friend of ETA and Batasuna."

In 2005, Xirinacs was arrested for this, when he went to renew his national identity document and at age of 73, he was sent to prison.

Lluís Maria Xirinacs died in Ogassa in el Ripollès on August 11th 2007 and his funeral was held in the church of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona and an act of homage was organised appropiately in El Fossar de les Moreres next to the church.


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