When first Catalan grassroots activists and then Catalan government ministers were imprisoned before trial in Spain, Yes Scotland’s Future was keen to get behind the letter-writing campaign to support the political prisoners in whatever way we could. A website was created – catalanprisoners.info. We thought a website is a simple source of prisoner address information, which can be promoted beyond our Facebook page, i.e. on Twitter, by word of mouth and in the print media.
At the time of writing, there are still 4 of these Catalan political prisoners incarcerated before trial in Madrid, so please continue to send them letters, a simple act of solidarity to let them know you haven’t forgotten them and the world is watching how the Spanish government and its judicial system handle the political crisis in Catalonia.
At the same time as the catalanprisoners.info website was created, we had a conversation about a suitable hashtag for promoting it and we came up with #DearCatalonia. It was practically unused on Twitter and Facebook and conveyed the act of writing a letter combined with a layer of love and friendship for the Catalan people. The letter-writing campaign and website is a collaboration with other groups, particularly the Scottish branch of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) who produced #DearCatalonia postcards and ran stalls in many Scottish towns and cities.
As the campaign progressed and I educated myself more and more about the politics and culture of Catalonia, the act of writing a letter to Catalonia crystallized in my head as a good metaphor for a song to express my feelings about the situation and on the day of the 21-Dec Catalan election, I was able to perform a song entitled Dear Catalonia for the first time at a rally at the Scottish Parliament.
The song didn’t really reach a Catalan audience till late January 2018, when @Words4Cat re-published the video from 21-Dec with Catalan subtitles and shared it with the followers.
Des de @words4cat ens ha emocionat infinit la cançò que ha fet el @gerrymulvenna davant el parlament escocès!😍Thank you so much, Gerry. People like you give us hope and courage. Visca la República Catalana i visca Escòcia! Força, catalans, ni un pas enrere, que no passaran! 💪💛 pic.twitter.com/p5KA46kvWG
— Words for Catalonia (@words4cat) January 24, 2018
A week later, Hector Suñol contacted me with a view to creating a video for the song and I was able to do a quick home recording of the full three verses for him. Hector’s resulting video is very moving and can be seen at the top of this post. Apparently the video was shared widely in Catalonia on WhatsApp and other networks and as a result was covered in Catalan news outlets El Nacional and Som Garrigues.