September 11: three traumas, one path to clear them – Nonviolence

September 11, three tragic – historical – events: one in Europe – 1714, “the end of the war of Spanish succession, marked the end of the siege of Barcelona and the loss of his own system of government.”; another in South America – 1973, the coup against Salvador Allende – the constitutional President of Chile, and the establishment of the dictatorship of Pinochet; and a third in North America in 2001, with the atrocious attacks in USA.

Three traumas – three ways of living them.

The first one converted September 11 in a celebration – not of the “winners” but of that something of high importance that had been lost: the right to self identity and freedom, even thousands to millions of lives that struggled for both.

How can a tragedy be celebrated and, more importantly, why? With the human chain — of 400 km and 1.6 million people (according to Euronews and Generalitat de Catalunya)/hundreds of thousands (according to Reuters), that united both Spanish and French Catalan territories this September 11–, the answer becomes obvious: to always remember and struggle to recover what had been lost (or rather it was taken away) on this day. Nonviolently.

Being aware of the suffered trauma, not pretending to forget something unforgettable helps to better understand the past facts and the present goals. Not getting stuck in resentment is fundamental. Celebrating instead that invaluable something that was taken away, cultivates the potential creator* of the conflict and fosters peaceful means – such as La Via Catalana – to find solutions.

What the Catalan human chain –women and children, men of all ages and social classes, people of different skin colors, more than one million and half people– demanded is  more than the right to be heard as to own identity. Believe that the chain was a separatist demonstration would be a narrow interpretation that serves to some political and economical interests only. Of course independence on the lips of the demonstrators is not alien to economic and political interests, but they are subsidiary, instrumental, and spell the need for freedom to decide on their own. It is the central policy — serving privat intranational and supranational financial interests — the accelerator of this public statement of the Catalan will to decouple from it. A deeper reading of this symbolic act would rather be: a claim for freedom and real democracy, which takes into account the needs of each and everybody.

What do the Spanish people fear when thinking of the Catalan claim? What basic need do they see in danger? Could they possibly imagine multiple peaceful human chains throughout Spain, throughout Europe, claiming the same as La Via Catalana: the right to be heard and considered as to their basic needs? Maybe this would press EU to give up the luxury to decline responsibility and engage in a joint searching for solutions that prioritize basic needs of survival, wellbeing, identity and freedom** for all. ¿Perhaps the Spanish State would understand that listen to citizens that is governing and sit with them to find solutions to the problems of all, is for the best of everybody, including the State?

This outcome would open a path for similar approaches in Chile, where even if democracy has been restored years ago, the reconstruction of the society has not been on the agenda. The trauma hasn’t been cleared. 40 years later, there is so much need for real democracy and so many basic needs are being insulted or denied in our days, including survival, and not only for indigenous communities and Nature.

And why not a human chain throughout North America and beyond? South America and beyond? La Via Americana, linking North and South, with a living chain from U.S. to Chile to work the trauma of September 11 of the latter, and thereby prepare the former to close its recent trauma of September 11, thus expanding human chain around the world.



*a term from Johan Galtung – Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means – The Transcend Method, UN 2000


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