This letter was published at An Phoblacht:
Repression of Basque independence movement
I am a Basque and I might be contaminated. The Spanish authorities haven’t yet named the virus but myself and another 84 Basque citizens are under strict surveillance in case we have it.
On the 1 March elections will take place in the Basque country and we are all on the list of candidates for the Askatasuna party.
But the Spanish government has decided that we cannot take part in these elections because of that nameless virus.
We have been accused, as many people before us, of helping a terrorist organisation. The reasoning is that we are nationalist.
The ‘evidence’ consists of taking part in pro-independence rallies, visiting or writing to friends in jail or even socialising in the same bars as known pro-independence militants.
I am not a member of ETA but because of this ‘evidence’ I might be considered one soon or at least a collaborator. Today there are over 700 Basque prisoners in Spanish and French jails – all of them under imprisoned under similar allegations. The truth is that most of them have never seen a gun except for movies on TV or maybe in the hands of a heavily armed police officer at a checkpoint.
The Spanish state has launched a new inquisition because it knows that the Basque pro-independence movement is strong in political debate and its position is clear and democratic. They have seen how big Sinn Féin has become in the decade since the Good Friday Agreement. They know the risks of letting Basques decide their own future by peaceful and democratic means.
So they chose war. They use the police and special courts, ban political parties and close newspapers.
But the pro-independence movement wants to move forward. It does not want war. We look on with envy to Ireland, Scotland, Greenland and other countries that have democratically decided to take their future into their own hands. We don’t want to impose our views on anyone. We just want the right to defend our political project and to be assured that whatever road the Basque people decide to take it will be respected.
Irish republicans have long been great friends of the Basque Country. Once again we cry for help. In 2009 we face an attempt an inquisition to exterminate the pro-independence movement. One way we can stop this is with the aid and solidarity of the international community.
I hope one day we can work in our cities, towns and villages freely for the Basque independent socialist republic. That is our goal. And while we recognise it might take years to become a reality it needs to be the Basque people who decide their own future, peacefully, democratically and free from outside interference. Our day will come too.
Basque political activist
(named withheld for security reasons)
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