70TH BOMBARDMENT ANNIVERSARY
Gernika, Buenos Aires and New York join for remembrance
The manifesto 'Gernika for peace' was read out in the three cities, among others. 70 years after the massacre, the village defines itself as a city for peace and dialogue, for reconciliation and against violence.
On 26 April 1937, German and Italian fighter planes backing the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War levelled this historic Basque town, destroying the city and killing hundreds of citizens.
Remembering those tragic events, Gernika has been "a world city for peace" for a few hours.
Representatives of Basque institutions, among them the Basque premier, as well as the Peace Nobel Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Chemistry Nobel winner Mario Molina went to Gernika to commemorate the anniversary. Representatives of cities that have suffered the consequences of war, Hiroshima, Coventry, Dresden, Hamburg, Warsaw or Stalingrad, attended the events at the Council House where the manifesto 'Gernika for peace' was read out in several languages.
Furthermore, a minute of silence in the memory of the victims of the bombardment opened the official events for the 70th anniversary of the destruction of the town. Afterwards, audiovisual documents of the time took those present to that tragic April 26 1937.
"Remember and pay tribute"
According to the mayor of the town, Miguel Angel Aranaz, the events "remember and pay tribute, one year more, to the victims of the bombardment, and spread internationally our wishes of peace and reconciliation."
Remembrance also had a more participative side, since all those who have moved to Gernika could enjoy an exhibition in which citizens could hang their wishes from a tree and contribute with their pictures to a photo-mosaic called "picture for peace" following the model of Picasso's Guernica.
In turn, the spokeswoman for the Basque Government, Miren Azkarate, assured that Zapatero's Government and Parliament "have the legitimacy" to apologise for the crimes of Franco's regime in general and the bombardment of Gernika in particular.
Azkarate insisted on the idea that the town and Euskadi as a whole deserve so and reminded that Germany already apologised ten years ago.Thus, Azkarate answered to socialists' critics on the aspiration that Spain's Government, inheritor of the Government of the Republic that rose up against Franco, apologises for the crimes committed by the dictator.
Is real sad to find out that Rodríguez Zapatero joins the long list of Spanish Prime Ministers who refuse to apologize for the crimes commited by Madrid against the Basque people, sad because there is those who thought that he really was being honest when he spoke about a dialogued solution to the Basque conflict. One thing though, if not for Gernika, sooner or later the PSOE must apologize for the GAL.