Agirre Center
2019/02/22 11:15:00 GMT+1
Last February 22 was a day to remember history and also prove the validity of the legacy that great men of democracy showed in the past. Thus, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, Lehendakari Ohia and President of Agirre Lehendakaria Foundation, and Quim Torrá, President of the Generalitat, walked together as the President Companys and Lehendakari Agirre did eighty years ago to cross France into exile. It was in February 1939. Ibarretxe and Torrá, stepping where their political ancestors stepped, honoured and remembered their memory and valued their great legacy as men of peace who defended their respective peoples from democracy.

The act was full of symbolism and meaning, was part of a trip to done to Catalonia by the President of Agirre Lehendaria Foundation that concluded with a talk in the municipality of Banyoles under the title "Una mirada sobre el Procés – Del tauler catalá a la cruilla basca".

As Agirre Lehendakaria wrote in his book “De Guernica a Nueva York pasando por Berlin” “… the President of Catalonia, Mr. Companys was leaving through the mountains, on his way to exile. I was marching beside him. I had promised him that in the last hours of his homeland he would have me by his side, and I kept my promise. Also the Catalan people emigrated, and also the aviation of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, murdered those defenseless farmers. The troops of the Republic withdrew in the French border. The most absolute abandonment on the part of the world accompanied the defeat of those adversaries of totalitarianism. I looked with pain at the fugitives, because for us, the Basques, the rules of modesty imposed by misfortune had been kept in France. We were attacked but we lived in our own institutions and were distinguished with affection by the authorities and personalities of all ideas. But for that immense caravan of homeless people, the concentration camps awaited”.

Torrá and Ibarretxe walked the road together sharing conversation in private.

Fem camí. Bidea eginez. “The Basque and Catalan waves will someday meet”

After the historic walk, the President of the Agirre Lehendakaria Foundation and Director of Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC) shared a round table with Xavier Cortadellas, editor of “Miradas en torno al Procés”,Pep Cruanyes, Vice President of the ANC, and Sónia Tubert, journalist, who moderated the meeting. Ibarretxe, in front of his audience and under the title “Fem camí” affirmed in relation to the State's response to the Catalan situation in which “it is hardly credible that someone who doesn´t accept democracy, and does not recognize that individual and collective human rights are violated, can accept any type of political negotiation that develops a democratic framework”.

In this situation and in view of the upcoming elections, he continued, “the fact that the political parties and Catalan society do not act with unity can be decisive for democratic demands. There are elections ahead. Political leaders must act intelligently and know  they must be able to compete and cooperate. It is necessary to learn to compete in the voting market and, still be able to cooperate when it comes to big political issues. I trust elections not to mark irreconcilable distances between the political parties”.

The Director of ALC concluded his intervention by answering questions of the journalist alluding to the sum of efforts and saying “if in the peloton we would relay each other, we would go faster. The Basque and Catalan waves will someday meet” he said.