Euskadi Ta Askatasuna: Once a Spanish Nightmare, Now a History?
On 20th December 1973, Antonio Alcantara and the family was going to the doctor to get his son examine as he was suffering from fever from past 4 days. Gushing from the busy morning roads of Madrid, the car was not moving but was crawling slowly at the red light of Diego de Leon street, when the car stopped the left of the Diego Street joined to Claudio Coello Street, where National Institute of Social Security is situated. Sharp at 09:27 AM when, Antonio saw a car was heading towards them the car just reached Francisco Borja church in the Claudio Coello Street, it exploded.
All the people who were busy making their way through traffic to their respective destination, suddenly they all were running farther as much as they can go. There was a huge chaos during that morning. The worst part of this incident was that the car didn’t blast due to any technical glitches but by someone who just planted a bomb in the car and the car belonged to then- Spanish Premier Carrero Blanco and unfortunately he was inside the car, heading towards his office. This whole incident took place in Claudio Coello Street, which is hardly 100 meters away from the US embassy. After sometimes, a terrorist group, ETA took the whole responsibility for this attack.
Who is ETA? Who are these people and what they want?
ETA (Basque: Euskadi Ta Askatasuna English: Basque Homeland and Liberty) is a formerly armed leftist Basque nationalist and separatist organization in the Basque Country (in northern Spain and south-western France). The group was founded in 1959 and later evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group engaged in a violent campaign of bombing, assassinations and kidnappings in the Southern Basque Country and throughout Spanish territory. Its goal was gaining independence for the Basque Country. ETA is the main group within the Basque National Liberation Movement and is the most important Basque participant in the Basque conflict.
ETA, the only long surviving terrorist group in the 21st century Europe will soon be announced its dissolution. Defeated by the Spanish democracy after half of the centuries violence, ETA presented its dissolution long back in 2011 when it called for the ceasefire but it still maintains the fiction of its existence to try to give meaning to the murders of the past and to breathe morally to its own, especially the prisoners. Its last and anachronistic statement published a few days ago in Gara, in which it paid tribute to its “fighters emerged from the people.”
The acknowledgement of defeat and the surrender of arms after (in the April of last year) are the two acts which form the liturgy of ETA for concealing its surrender under the law. Its probable dissolution — or “demobilization,” as it now shuffles in its attempt to prolong the militaristic theatre-would be the end point of the fanaticism that had cost the lives of 829 people. Nobody should have the recognition of gunmen, informers and acolytes at all.
Its birth in the late-Francoism and his time of its greatest bloody harvest during the period of Transition only served as the hindrance for the path towards the democracy and to poison the country which they claimed to defend, that in which is one of their holiest rights, the right to life, was more vilified. One year from now that the ETA is the thing of dark past and its dissolution, therefore, will be merrily symbol. But the damage it had caused will always remain permanent. Their ruffianism will always remain alive. The victims of their attacks and their extortions can be counted till thousands and all of this have convulsed the coexistence in Basque Country that became unbreathable and still continue to give worrisome signs, despite all the progress made.
The government of Urkullu have done a great work and all the other Basque political parties continue working to achieve a normality which is spreading gradually but with great difficulty and above all at a cost to the victims of terrorism. The homages after every release of a member of ETA are the display of social bitterness and of the pain that is still capable of producing hate that has guided the group. The political and social environment that had covered the ETA have the unresolved issue of a self-criticism which undermines the violence. Steps have been taken in the right direction, with the presence, for example, of Basque nationalist leaders in the victim’s funerals, but the latter need reparation and the absence of full normalcy in the coexistence is an added and cruel damage.
For others, it is advisable to be sure that staging which is prepared for dissolving the band which mainly benefits ETA itself. The state has remained ruthless against gangsters and post-conflict management have continued the same path with the strict application of the law and the tough penitentiary policy which ETA has consistently condemned. The 92% of 230 prisoners in Spain are in the first degree and do not have access to prison benefits and that has the specific enormous weight in the decision to return- this time too- unilaterally.
Source: El Pais Abhinav Kaushal (Edited) The Kootneeti Team - Latin America & Spain Desk