Second Independence Day in South Tyrol

15 May 2016

With white and red flags, thousands of homeland-loving people demanded independence and freedom for their country. The motto was "Iatz", as the Tyroleans express it in the vernacular. The South Tyroleans have a clear goal in front of their eyes, they demand the long-awaited "lot from Rome"! And this demand echoed in chants through the alley of Bruneck.

It was a folk festival of a special kind, an atmospheric celebration for young and old and at the same time a breathtaking expression of will in the middle of the capital of Pustertal.

Apart from the fact that the South Tyroleans culturally and linguistically do not belong to Italy at all, the people have realized that it is also possible without Italy. And that Italy is holding back their own development. They are convinced that it is the path of independence that must be taken.

Other peoples striving for independence from all over Europe were also present: representatives from Catalonia, Flanders, Scotland, Veneto, Bavaria, Trieste, Lombardy and the Basque Country. These peoples all have one thing in common: they all belong to a state that is not theirs. They want to determine their own future. Side by side they fight with the South Tyroleans for a real freedom without foreign domination. Greetings from the European peoples followed.

The Basque Manu Gomez reported in his native language that the referendum in Arrankudiaga has not yet brought the independence of the Basque Country, but that with it a snowball was started rolling that can no longer be stopped.

Shona McAlpine from Scotland also reported that in the last referendum only a small percentage was missing to make Scotland an independent state, but that a lot has happened politically since then. Just last week's elections in the Scottish Parliament, he said, saw pro-independence supporters win a majority of seats.

Anna Arqué from Catalonia, who had already given an impressive speech in February in Meran at the Andreas Hofer celebration, described politicians who fall on their knees before nation states and deny the international right to self-determination as a danger to democracy.

Bart De Valck, spokesman for the Flemish popular movement VVB, appealed that while the economy is important, self-reliance comes first. Without self-reliance, there is no basis for prosperity and well-being," De Valck said.

In the afternoon, thousands of Tyroleans marched through the streets of Bruneck under the motto "Heimat in Bewegung - Los von Rom" ("Home on the move - let go of Rome"), where an impressive sea of flags presented itself to the eye. The procession of people exceeded all expectations.

Interrupted again and again by great applause was then the speech of the Commander of the South Tyrolen Schützenbund Elmar Thaler, who emphatically criticized how much and in how many core areas South Tyrol is still dependent on the good will of Rome. "We have a strong fatherland, and we are still - at least culturally - a part of Austria!", Thaler emphasized. And this is precisely where it is necessary to pick up and continue thinking, because there is no such thing as the ready-made solution, the perfect recipe for independence for our country, he said. "No one knows what he can do before he tries, and no one knows what he can achieve if he doesn't strive for more," the Commander of the South Tyrolen Schützenbund shouted into the enthusiastic crowd and called for more courage from the countrymen: "Whoever wants to create something must be confident, must want to tackle, must dare to do something!

This second Independence Day of this kind exceeded all expectations. Over 10,000 people had visited the event during the day. The hope remains that the "actual state" will change already in the foreseeable future. Unjust borders can be peacefully rectified in Europe, history has already taught us that. Germany, too, was unexpectedly reunited in 1989, contrary to all predictions. "It takes the courage to confess, because nothing is forever, and nothing is for eternity," concludes the organizer of Independence Day, the South Tyrolean Schützenbund.