Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dog Day in Bilbao

The Ertzaintza brutally charged against the relatives of the Basque political prisoners that for years have been carrying out a demonstration every Friday in front of Sabin Etxea (headquartes of the Basque Nationalist Party, the political formation that first proposed the dispersion of Basque political prisoners) in Bilbao. Right after the bus that takes some of the relatives to the jails in Andalucia departed, the Ertzaintza officers attacked against the crowd, arresting one person and sending the mother of a political prisoner to the ER. Those attacked did not even carry pictures of their loved ones, only one banner with the motto «errepresaliatu guztiak etxera» (bring home all victims of repression).

It is quite possible that, due to the dismal lack of knowledge and the preposterous bias deeply rooted in Madrid regarding the Basque reality, a judge may believe that the criticism against the dispersion policy is simply an "ETA/Ekin slogan". This was stated by the Audiencia Nacional judge Eloy Velasco, who earlier this week pressed charges for "apology of terrorism" against a number of food service employees using such argument.

But even a poorly informed person, with no access to any other version but the one portrayed on the police reports (with few facts but extensive guess work), should be able to set apart simply trues, like a father displaying the photograph of his daughter, sentenced to life in prison and serving her time in a jail thousands of miles away and enduring inhumane conditions, is not responding to a slogan but to his own conscience and dignity.

As a matter of fact, that reality can not hide that in Nabarra, thousands of people consider that the Basque political prisoners fight for legitimate ideals, even those who do not share their goals nor their methods.

The big issue here is that if the Spanish judges and politicians compare painting a graffiti in favor of ETA to a public demonstration in favor of the political prisoners' rights, the only result they will achieve is that the Basque dissidence will set up a barricade that will include the social base that supports the Basque Nationalist Party. This comparison established by the doctrine that "everything is ETA" even goes against the perception of reality by the majority of those who vote for the PSOE in the Basque Country. Despite the belligerent speech by the politicians and the wild verdicts by the judges, common sense prevails in Basque society.

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