jueves, 30 de julio de 2009

ETA explained, simply

Today I write for all my friends from abroad. You'll probably read in the papers, or watch on TV, news about the recent terrorist attacks in Spain. Some friends of mine have joined a campaign to pressure foreign media to refer to ETA people as "terrorists" only, instead of "separatist terrorists", as they are usually referred abroad.

I fully understand their motivations, but I don't really believe in their success. Such a campaign could - and probably will - be understood by (at least some) foreign media as a tentative from the Spanish government to whitewash their "part of guilt" in the "crisis".

We can't fool anybody: they ARE actually separatists. But that doesn't justify their acts AT ALL.

What I'll try to tonight, with this post, is to try to show the big picture, at least who those are interested to know what's this all about. If you live on the UK, it's your chance: British media probably will focus only and exclusively in sunburnt vacationers stranded in Son Sant Joan.

Of course it's not a neutral point of view, far from it. But for democracy-loving, peace-loving, common-sense-loving people from all over the world, ETA actions could not be seen from a neutral point of view anymore.

As democracy, finally and luckily, spreads through all over the world, terrorism, as a way of political activism, lose justification day after day.

Since 1978 Spain is a democracy. We have a Parliament, a Government, an astoundingly bizarre quasi-federal state, but guess what: it is democratic. People can go to the polls and cast their ballots freely. All political ideas can be fielded and usually are. (That includes pot legalization and bullfighting ban.)

When ETA was founded, in 1959, Spain was a very different country. Theoretically, there was a Parliament, a Government, and a Judiciary, but, in practice, Franco ruled and that was that.

The Basques, then, were thoroughly oppressed - but then all Spaniards were. Those which won the Civil War ruled over those which lost - and most Basques lost.

Basque nationalism was then, and still is, popular in the Basque Country. Most Basques are, even those which doesn't have nationalistic political ideas, fiercely proud of their country and character. Most Basques (at least the Basques I know) are a funny, cultivated, food-loving people.

But Basque nationalism does not means automatically Basque independentism. Basques usually like to be Basques and fancy to be treated as such (specially by the government in Madrid), but independence for the Basque country, even during the worst times of Francoism, has been always a fringe option, only supported by, as maximum, one quarter of the Basques.

And the proof is that, since democracy re-establishment in 1978, independentist parties have been in the ballot every election in the Basque Country - and never obtained a majority; even getting close to it.

So, if there is an actual democracy, and independence is not that popular, why do ETA fight?

Well, actually, since almost forty years, ETA doesn't fight. ETA kills. To fight, for me, is to take arms and face your enemy - and they don't.

And the answer to your question? Well, that's what all around here have been asking for the last twenty years.

And the answer is, that people in ETA doesn't care about the real Basques and their real plights. They have an ideal Basque Country in their heads - a Basque Country which is oppressed by a bad and violent Spanish invader and yearns for freedom - under their leadership, of course. They "fight" for that - and by God they will not let that treacherous reality get on the way of their triumphant march to independence.

So, they say that the Basque language and culture is oppressed. The fact that today there are more Basque-speaking people than thirty years ago is happily ignored. They say that independence can not be obtained by political means. Well, it IS in the ballot - the people choose otherwise, but they don't care. They say that there is a police state - when the only ETA militants dead "in action" in the last twenty years were three poor guys driving in a car near San Sebastián: unwisely, they were carrying a bomb with them - it exploded. Doesn't look like a police state to me.

But, they are right somehow: the Basques are indeed oppressed. But not by the "enemies" fought by ETA. The Basques are oppressed by ETA itself.

Because tomorrow morning, as every morning, thousands of Basques will awake up with fear. Fear of having a bomb glued below your car; fear of having a gas bottle lit in front of your door; fear of be marked as an enemy when your only "crime" is to defend different ideas than some of your neighbours.

It's death: and it's there, and it is everywhere - and everyone can be a victim.

Like Gregorio Ordoñez, city councillor in San Sebastián, shot in the back in a restaurant - he was having dinner with some friends.

Like Ignacio Uría, a retired contractor for the high-speed train line which will link Madrid and Bilbao - with no political or military connections at all; he was shot after his usual card game.

Like Alberto Jiménez-Becerril, city councillor in Seville, and his wife Ascensión, a lawyer, both shot when they were returning home from a walk; they had three children.

Like Isaías Carrasco, a city councillor in a 5,000 inhabitants town, where he worked in a toll booth. He was shot in the back - his wife and daughter were with him.

Like the 130 people who lived in the police barracks in Burgos, 50 of them children, who almost died yesterday.

And like the two policemen which died in Majorca today. They were my age.

All of this to liberate a people which is actually free. This is not a war; this is not even a struggle; this is murder - pure and simple.

So, you may have some doubts after this article. Feel free to ask - I'll try to answer in my better capacity.

We'll keep informing.

1 comentario:

The Patriot Game dijo...

Wow, so we, loyal Spanish citizens have the right to "vote for pot legalization or banning bullfighting". Gee, thanks! Such a concession, being able to vote against bullfighting, we should be grateful!

Why don't people like you focus more on what makes people kill and die for a political cause (something which I don't condone, by the way) and less on just statistically listing ETA's killings? (While leaving out Spanish right-wing and Spanish State Terrrorism killings, of course)?

Because maybe then, you would start adressing the real root of the problem, which is that, while everyone can vote in Spain, Basques cannot separate from the Spanish State following the current political frame, as it would require reforming the Constitution, which is designed to exclude minorities (and the Basques are one of them) to have their say.

Simply put: Basques can gain independence via democratic means only with the consent of a lot of non-Basques, which is, in effect, treating the Basque Country as just a segment of Spain, with Spain having it's final word on any decision.

Freedom for the Basque Country.

Freedom for the Valencian Country.

Ireland united and free.