Our first reaction is to welcome cautiously, with the reservations which we outline below, what may be the end of the killings and torture to which a criminal group has subjected us for so many years. To us, as victims of terrorism, the possibility that no more names will swell the list of the dead is not a triumph, but a relief. We have always hoped that the latest attack would be the last and that the family most recently destroyed by ETA’s barbarism would truly be the final one to suffer: the vivid memory of our relatives led us to fervently hope that this would be the case.
We wish to congratulate the State’s Security Forces and Organizations for their dedication and professionalism, which have indisputably brought about the defeat of ETA. We have always believed, in contrast to certain politicians, that police and legal action and the strict enforcement of the State of Law were, and are, the only proper path that can be taken in the struggle against terrorism. Our thanks go out to the professionals who have made it possible for us to reach the beginning of the end of terrorism in our democracy.
However, an analysis of ETA’s statement is necessary as in our view it does not fit the expectations which many people are placing upon it.
- ETA, the statement says, using the terminology to which we have by now become accustomed “has decided to definitively cease its armed activity” but it has not announced its dissolution. That it is not being broken up and certainly the fact that it is not giving up its arms are clear signs that they shall be kept as guarantees against what they brazenly call “a fair and democratic solution of the secular political conflict.”
The triumph of democracy over violence necessarily requires the dissolution of the group, the handover of arms and the placement of its members at the disposition of the Law, so that society can once and for all remove the sword of Damocles which has consistently hung as a threat over our heads. The terrorists have lied many times about their end, and we should not let this be another example.
- ETA has not relinquished any of its demands. It talks about a “democratic solution” and we all know what the group means by this phrase. In previous communiqués, ETA has stated that the “democratic solution” or the “democratic process” must inevitably work towards “resolving the key issues of territory and right to self-determination which are at the heart of the political conflict.”
Blackmail by terrorists cannot be tolerated and neither can democratic States “opening” a process of dialogue with them on an equal footing, even if it was called an “International Conference”, in precisely the form and manner ETA wished.
-ETA regrets nothing and has not asked for the forgiveness of its victims. The statement makes clear that “long years of struggle have created this opportunity,” an expression which essentially justifies and endorses the murder of 858 people, clearly showing that their now legal political project is built upon the blood of the innocent.
Given the points made above, allow us to be critical of the present situation. We call upon our political representatives to ensure the following; that we really have reached an end without concessions, this not currently being the case given the submission of public powers to the Guernika Accord; that the State of Law will truly triumph over terror; and that the application of the Law shall be inflexible and unbiased. We do not want the defeat of ETA, due to an erroneous understanding of the situation, to be converted into the triumph of its political project and or for immunity from crimes committed to be given in exchange for a statement made when the group found itself suffocated and defeated.
We would like to end with some words recently uttered by Joseba Arregi on receiving the Prize which COVITE had the honour of awarding him this year: “When they, ETA and its supporters, spoke of liberty, we spoke of peace. Now that they speak of peace, we must speak of liberty. Because their liberty was never ours and neither is their peace. The challenge currently facing us is to keep up the pressure created by these different interpretations of peace and liberty.”
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