Tuesday, February 10, 2004

IBO: Kerry Must Apologize

Today at Berria English:

IBOHR demands apology from Kerry for calling Basques “terrorists”

Bieter says he hopes Kerry will change his attitude when he gets to know the Basques

Ainara Mendiola, Special Correspondent, Boise (Idaho)
The International Basque Organization for Human Rights (IBOHR) has asked John Kerry to rectify what he said when he equated the Basques with “terrorists” during a rally. Kerry is currently the strongest Democrat candidate for the presidential elections set to take place in the United States in November.

Kerry spoke about “terrorism” in a rally he held on January 31 in Oklahoma. He said before September 11, 2001, many states had been facing “terrorism at home”, and when citing some examples he gave the following: “In Ireland they had the IRA, in Spain they have the Basques, in India the Sikhs… you only have to look around the world a bit to realise that there are many people who live with terrorism.”

When the IBOHR heard these declarations, they asked Kerry to rectify them. According to the statement they issued, Kerry rightly identified the IRA in Ireland’s case, because he did not regard all the Irish as “terrorists”, but that was not the case when he spoke of the Basques or the Sikhs. The IBOHR has pointed out that its aim is not to damage Kerry’s image, but wishes to remind him that it is “wrong and unfair to generalise and regard a whole country and its culture as terrorist.” As a result of this, the IBOHR has launched a campaign to get Kerry to apologise; it has in fact asked people to send messages to the Democrat candidate’s e-mail address asking him to rectify what he said. The address is: info@johnkerry.com. After denouncing Kerry’s declarations many Sikh groups also launched a campaign and the senator apologised to them in a speech he gave last Friday.

Dave Bieter, the mayor of Boise, said he hoped Kerry would have the chance to get to know the Basque Country and the Basque community better. He made these declarations in Boise to BERRIA.

Bieter was elected mayor of Boise last year and until last year had been a Democrat member in the Idaho House of Representatives. Kerry has not yet been to Idaho in his American presidential election campaign, but Bieter hopes he will have changed his attitude by the time he gets there. He admits that he gets on well with Kerry, and if the latter were to reach the White House, Bieter believes Kerry would have a positive attitude towards the Basque Country.

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