Monestir de Montserrat
El post que segueix, sobre el Monestir de Montserrat, és una còpia del comentari enviat al bloc Left side of the road, administrat per un escriptor viatger, el senyor Michael Harrison de Liverpool (UK).
Hey, Michael, here I am with more historical remarks, this time about Montserrat.
I’m glad you emphasize that the Monastery of Montserrat has always been the place of many Catalan nationalist events, but we must also take into account that some of the political events, taking place in Montserrat, have aimed further than the Catalan nation.
For example, during 1969 the Spanish police arrested sixteen members of the ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - “Basque Country and Freedom”). General Franco’s regime planned to judge them in a military tribunal, under the accusation of having killed a policeman and committed other crimes. Not only in Spain but also internationally everybody was impressed by the number of defendants (sixteen) and the seriousness of the punishments: six death penalties and 752 years of imprisonment.
A vast anti-Franco campaign took place. Banned trade unions and parties (especially the well organised Partido Comunista de España - Communist Party of Spain) called for strikes in factories and universities and demonstrations throughout the country.
On the 1st of December 1970 the ETA kidnapped, in San Sebastián, a diplomat of the Federal Republic of Germany, Eugen Behil Schaeffer, threatening the Spanish Fascist Regime with killing him, if any of the death sentences against the Basque prisoners were executed.
In this context, on the 12th of December, three hundred Catalan artists and intellectuals decided to hold a meeting in the Monastery of Montserrat. They then published a manifesto demanding general political amnesty, democratic liberties and the right of self-determination, vowing to remain there until the issue was resolved.
Then, the West German authorities and big industrial bosses, who were at that time important suppliers, clients and investors in Spain, started to put pressure on Franco in order to avoid the carrying out of the death sentences. Otherwise it was clear that there would be economic sanctions. All this, plus the popular campaign, the international press and the final involvement of the Catholic Church in favour of the amnesty, succeeded in stopping the murderous intention of the Spanish Fascist Regime.
And the Monastery of Montserrat was a part of this historic circumstance.