Misc 17/01/2020

We need each other

Simplifying reality leads us to a dualistic view of the world. This or that. Mine and yours

Raül Romeva
3 min

In prison everyone tries to find their own space. In my case, I spend a lot of time reading and responding to the numerous letters I receive, and for which I’m eternally grateful. In the absence of social media, these letters are the means by which we find out about the troubling times we are living in. A confusion which is not only understandable, but which I even see as an opportunity to realize that things are almost never as simple as we would like them to be.

Simplifying reality brings us to a dualistic view of the world. This or that. Mine and yours. Them or us. An interpretation which only looks at the short term, while excluding a peripheral vision. There are those who live quite comfortably inside a battle trench. And to justify being there, they need to constantly feed the ‘enemy’ trench, while taking it for granted that society is divided in two. But it’s not true. The vast majority of people don’t live in ideological trenches, nor do they wish to.

The times in which we live are characterized by complexity, by a plurality of viewpoints, by relentless contradiction, including in terms of political tactics and strategies. This is true of every great historical moment.

Nevertheless, it is worrying that this complexity gets transformed into constant controversies and struggles which take up our time, consume our energies and fail to get us anywhere, and which instead weaken us as a democratic movement. Complexity demands the very opposite: the desire to contain destructive tendencies, to abandon comfortable rhetoric which shies away from the facts, to try to agree on our differences, while avoiding slurs and entering into the sterile debates which result from them.

We need each other. We need sincere and constructive debate, a legitimate laying out of ideas, an awareness of reality, a greater capacity for integration and the ability to explain ourselves in order to stay connected with the majority of society, to continue to win elections, to continue to garner support and to be able to face the challenges with strength, on the street and in the institutions. The change in the political climate is both tangible and much-needed as a means of putting the Catalan conflict back on the political path. The independence movement is an indispensable component in this new period. We mustn’t waste this opportunity.

Human relationships are, by definition, imperfect. Sometimes they are even illogical. After all that we’ve lived through and suffered in recent years, it’s clear that we need a little time to take it all in. I have no regrets for anything we’ve done, I take it on board and learn from it. I bear no grudges against anyone or anything. I realise that we’ve achieved a great deal, we’ve come a long way, while at the same time it’s not enough, for many reasons. There are no magic formulas or miracles. But I’m sure that persistence, resilience, respect, determination, dignity, courage, a dash of recklessness and, above all, generosity, both inward and outward, will help us to achieve our goal.

We need to talk to and listen to each other more. There’s too much judging and a not enough empathy; there’s too much lecturing and not enough listening; There’s too much accusing and even insulting with neither justification nor need, and a lack of respect for diverse and even contrary opinions. We are all looking for our place. It’s normal. It’s human. It’s necessary. What we ought to be clear about, though, is that none of us is indispensable, and that this country is too small and this cause is too big not to need everyone’s help. It’s the only way we can be really useful for the people, and be able to move towards solutions in the future.