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Post The Catalan Question: Geoff Cowling in "The Times"
Created by John Eipper on 02/20/21 9:06 AM

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The Catalan Question: Geoff Cowling in "The Times" (John Eipper, USA, 02/20/21 9:06 am)

Geoff Cowling writes:

Prof Paul Preston has kindly suggested I forwarded my letter published in yesterday's Times commenting on an editorial earlier this week about the Catalan elections. I have pasted it below.

As far as I can see, my letter has not provoked any comment on the Times website. I have no idea if it has been picked up in Madrid or Barcelona. Attention there seems to be on the riots following the imprisonment of the rapper Pablo Hasél and a debate about laws restricting free speech--a subject perhaps not unrelated to charges against Catalan officials.


On another tack, I've been using the Covid lockdown to write something about our posting to Afghanistan half a century ago. It started with an exchange with school friends who visited us in Kabul at that time but has expanded somewhat. I can pull it together and forwarded it as a single piece if you think it of interest to the WAIS Forum.

Keep well in Michigan!

JE comments: Geoff, I'll speak on behalf of all WAISers that we'd love to learn more about your diplomatic posting to Kabul.  If I have my chronology right, you were stationed there before the "Democratic Republic"/Soviet era which began in 1978?

The Times locks its content behind a paywall, but here is your letter of February 19th.  Congratulations!  Do you predict Sánchez will grant amnesty to the imprisoned or exiled Catalonian separatists?


Sir, You are right in your leading article ("Knowledge From Catalonia", Feb 17) on the Catalan election to urge the Socialist party of Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain, to "take steps to repair some of the ill feeling of the past few years, perhaps by re-addressing the savage sentences handed down to [Catalan] independence leaders".

Similar charges are being prepared against hundreds of minor officials and politicians in Catalonia for their role in the illegal referendum and for past actions in the Catalan government. Hearings are already under way, and could result in prison sentences of up to six years.

The ill-thought-out Catalan unilateral declaration of independence in 2017 was unwise. But the Spanish government should abandon this persecution of separatist Catalonia, reform its legal system and take a step into the 21st century. Otherwise, resentment among many Catalans will fester for generations to come.

Geoff Cowling
HM consul-general Barcelona 2002-05; Bromley, Kent


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