ETA’s terrorism has resulted in around a thousand deaths, thousands of injuries, and the emigration of more than 200,000 people. No words can repair such damage.
Many people have suffered alone for years, with the silence of a society looking at this suspiciously and murmuring phrases like “they must have done something”. People have been denied dignified funerals and have had to endure the exaltation of terrorism.
Victims have also had to put up with political games, with parties and groups trying to clean up their image and justify their postures. After years of indifference, Zapatero’s PSOE tried to convince these victims to accept the ‘peace process’ negotiations with ETA when it was on the ropes. And the PP, while claiming to defend the victims, has continued the path of its predecessors.
ETA has yet to ask for forgiveness from the victims, but society is content about having ended the violence ‘peacefully’. But the current political climate has come at the cost of years of terror suffered by ETA’s victims.
The Strasburg Ruling, abolishing the Parot doctrine, has been at the sharp-end of a crushing humiliation for the victims. The legalisation of Sortu – dubbed as the ‘New Batasuna (party outlawed for funding ETA)’ – in 2012 allowed Basque nationalists into positions of political power. This situation may well have been different if the Basque Country had been given its independence 40 years ago. Xabier Arzalluz, a centre-right Basque Nationalist, recognised in the dialogues with ETA that they had “shaken the tree” and that others – nationalist politicians – had “collected the nuts”.
There will be no real peace until the truth is recognised; until ETA asks for forgiveness; until respect for the victims of nationalist violence is established; until the unconditional disarmament of militants; and until the political acceptance of the immorality and illegitimacy of the path of terrorism.
Publishing house of Self-management magazine