• In 1937, planes from Nazi Germany raided the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Stark, just like that.
On one line the world remembers today what happened in Gernika 67 years ago.
To the world it may be easy to remember the events that took place that market day in Gernika on one stark line, not so to the Basques.
To us Gernika represents the heart of the Basque Country, just last week we mourned the death of our Gernikako Arbola, our Oak of Gernika, the tree that embodies the Basque freedoms and laws, the same tree that survived the attack by the Luftwaffe's Kondor Legion.
The attack was aimed at bringing fear into the hearts of the Basques who for months had been battling the combined forces of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, Gernika was well behind the front line and had no means to defend itself, few weeks previous to that day the Germans had tried their bombers on the city of Durango killing dozens of people. This time Franco wanted to break the Basque will and allowed the Germans to go at it with everything, destroy Gernika and the Basques will surrender. At the end of the day up to 1,600 innocent civilians were dead, but the Basque resolve to face totalitarianism and the Oak of Gernika stood up, solid.
From that day on the people from cities around the world would experience such sort of violence aimed at breaking the spirit of their nation, time and again the attackers failed. They failed in Gernika in 1937, they failed in New York in 2001.
Today we mourn the victims of Gernika, but we honor them by continuing to work towards the peace and democratic will of the Basque Country.
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