Party leader Oriol Junqueras: “It must be remembered that Esquerra Republicana is the most persecuted party in the history of Catalonia”
On Sunday the 9th of October, Esquerra Republicana held an event to pay tribute to all the party members who were victims of the Franco dictatorship. The event took place at the Fossar de la Pedrera, a mass grave for thousands of victims of Spain’s Fascist terror located in Montjuïc cemetery in Barcelona, during which a stele, precisely in memory of all those who suffered repression throughout the dictatorship, was uncovered.
Esquerra Republicana leader Oriol Junqueras presided the event and recalled that “Esquerra Republicana is the most persecuted party in the history of Catalonia, the party that suffered most repression in the form of assassinations of elected officials, from countless town and city mayors through to the President of Catalonia’s Generalitat government.” Mr Junqueras appealed to historical collective memory as an indispensable necessity in order to understand the current situation. “Without referring to what we have been or what we wanted to be and have been denied, it would be impossible to build a future collective identity.” “In our future, we want to resemble to some extent what we harboured in our past,” he added.
Finally, Mr Juqueras ended by musing that “when we exercise the memory of our history that recalls concepts like justice and freedom, we come together with all those who have fought for these values at any point in history.”
The event also featured speeches by the leader of the Esquerra Republicana municipal group at Barcelona Council, Ernest Maragall; the Deputy Secretary General for Rights, Freedoms and Anti-Repressive Action, Marta Vilaret; the Deputy General Secretary for Political Action and Deputy Spokesperson at the Spanish Senate, Sara Bailac; and the member of the ISOR Research Group at the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Department of Sociology, Marta Simó.
Mr Maragall linked this exercise in historical collective memory with the present to recall that “today, we send a message of reaffirmation and dignity to the repressors of yesterday and today, who so often remain a continuous thread: it is from that memory that we build a present and a future beyond their repression.” Following this same thread, Marta Vilaret added that “for years we have been facing a repression that reminds us that maintaining the same ideals, we find the same obstacles trying to halt us.”
For her part, Sara Bailac, who presented and hosted the event, thanked all the people and organizations that made this exercise of collective memory possible, and recalled that Esquerra Republicana “maintains intact the same ideals which those who have preceded us fought for: the fight for democracy, social justice and the emancipation of our country.”
Before the speeches, the commemorative stele was uncovered by Manuel Pérez and Lourdes Vidrier, members of Esquerra’s Historical Memory Sectoral Committee; Josep Huguet, a member of the Irla Foundation; and Sara Bailac.