Tunisian Nobel Peace laureate supports Catalan referendum
Ahmed Galai makes a declaration in favor of “democracy and the October 1” vote
Tunisian Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Ahmed Galai, supported on Monday the Catalan referendum to be held on October 1. He made an institutional declaration Monday evening to support “democracy and the October 1” vote alongside the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont. He said that Catalonia is a nation and, as a nation, it has the "right to self-determination". "Ballot boxes should never be considered a problem or the cause of a conflict," added Galai.
In the same event, Puigdemont reaffirmed that Catalonia will vote on October 1. According to him, Spain banning the referendum would not be democratic at all. "A referendum should never be branded a scam, on the contrary, the scam would be to prevent it. A coup can never be carried out with ballot boxes, on the contrary. A coup d’état would be banning them," he said.
"Ballot boxes should never be considered a problem or the cause of a conflict"
Ahmed Galai · 2015 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Galai is a member of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a group of organizations which won the prestigious award in 2015 “for its decisive contribution to the construction of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”.
Six Nobel Peace Prize laureates support the Catalan referendum
Ahmed Galai is not the only Nobel Prize laureate who has stood up for a referendum on independence in Catalonia recently. An international manifesto called ‘Let Catalans Vote’ was signed by a number of world-famous dignitaries in 2014, including Nobel Peace Prize laureates Desmond Tutu and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Literature laureate Dario Fo and other personalities, such as sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, linguist Noam Chomsky, former US ambassador Ambler Moss, critic Harold Bloom, and Chinese dissident Wuer Kaixi. Earlier this year the list expanded to around 50 names, including Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams, Rigoberta Menchú and Ahmed Galai.
The manifesto asks Spain and Catalonia to “to work together to allow the citizens of Catalonia to vote on their political future and then negotiate in good faith based on the result.” It also casts doubt on the justification for not allowing the vote. “To prevent Catalans from voting seems to contradict the principles that inspire democratic societies,” the manifesto reads.