12 December 2006
A Basque solidarity rally was hold in Dublin last Sunday.It lasted about 1.5 hours, near Stephen's Green end of Grafton St, Sunday 10th. It started with Txalaparta performance, followed by Zanpantzar performance, 10 men in traditional costume, with another as the bear, led by a woman carrying the Basque flag. Supporters gathered around (40-50 people) and cheered them on. Supporters displayed a banner with the slogan "SELF-DETERMINATION FOR THE BASQUE COUNTRY". As well as Basque and Irish supporters, there were also Catalans in attendance, who displayed their own banner: "CATALONIA IS NOT SPAIN"Many passers-by, both Irish and non-Irish (tourists and foreign workers), stopped to listen and watch, or to ask questions of supporters.
Over 800 leaflets were given out explaining the cultural background to the performances and the historical and political background to the Basque struggle for self-determination.
Many signatures were collected on petitions in favour of the involvement of Spanish and French States in a process of talks and negotiations accepting the rights of all the Basques to decide their own future as the key to the resolution of the conflict.During the afternoon, some songs were sung and slogans shouted, in between performances of Zanpantzar and Txalaparta.
At the end of the afternoon, Germà Martin, speaking in Basque and in Catalan, thanked the performers and the supporters for their attendance, asked for continued support for the Dublin Basque Committee. He was followed by Diarmuid Breatnach, speaking in Irish and then in English, who said the same things and concluded with "Gora Euskadi" and "Visca Catalunya". Some supporters and Txalaparta performers then went into the Temple Bar area and put on another performance there.
Many of the supporters and performers met later that evening in a bar and enjoyed an evening of music and comradeship. The Dublin Irish Basque Committee is in the process of reorganising itself and this performance was an important first step.
As we already mentioned in previous bulletins he attempt of starting a
peace process has surprisesely provoked a huge convulsion in Euskal
Herria. It could not be in another way, since there are very opposed
interests. The only objective of both the Spanish government and its
Basque very loyal allied, the right wing political party PNV, consists
in eradicating ETA. They have no intention of going to the roots of
the conflict in order to reach an everlasting solution. The Basque
left wing pro independence party on the other hand, does not accept
any false solutions to the conflict, since if the conflict is not
properly solved it will last for at least another forty years or even
The PSOE and PNV want to achieve their goal by coercing the Basque
left wing pro independence party in many different ways, but in the
end they try very hard to weaken it so that only their conditions are
accepted without any kind of political normalisation. They want just
to defeat the Basque left wing pro independence party by using police,
judicial, mass media and economic repression. Even if so, from the
Basque left wing the answer has been very different, it has mobilised
its supporters in a positive way and always having the future in mind.
The strategy has been to answer repression by increasing nation and
democracy consciousness, asking for self determination.
The grounds of this initiative
On September 16th an ample and qualified group of representatives of
the left wing pro independence party appeared to announce the
beginning of a campaign the aim of which is to gain the right of self
determination. An initiative to add forces which was held in many
places; the slogan of this campaign was: "We have to back a democratic
resolution of the conflict because we need self determination". This
vindication is to be made everywhere in Euskal Herria.
· Objectives: the campaign itself has two objectives: "To promote
strongly this historic opportunity in order to find a solution and to
face false expectatives."
· Punctual reasons to back the Peace Process: "The process is
undergoing very hard times, it nowadays suffer of a blockade. Despite
the fact that it should be the exercising of a democratic right, it is
nowadays just another sort of process the aim of which is to weaken
and condition the left wing pro independence party. The Basque right
wing party PNV is the accomplice of the Spanish PSOE in this task".
· Positive elements: "The already started democratic process has been
backed by most of the Basque population. The political debate
originated under these circumstances has reached every corner within
the Basque Country. Save for very rare exceptions, the different
political, social and unions' agents have let very clear the relevance
of political negotiation. The matters to be discussed, this is,
territoriality and self determination are very present in the debate.
Despite the blockade there is an almost universal will to continue
Development of the campaign for self determination.
· Backing of relevant characters: referential people in the struggle
of our nation in favour of freedom consider that the political
situation that we are undergoing is crucial and that the strategy by
the left wing pro independence party is the most adequate answer in
order to solve the situation in a positive way. There was a first
appearance on the 20th of September in Donosti, and another way on the
27th in Bilbo. In both cases the message is pretty much the same; the
characters that appeared made clear the importance of the campaign
showing their solidarity at the same time.
· People's backing of the process: on the 30th of September five
simultaneous demonstrations were held; they all had the same
vindication: "Euskal Herria, self determination": In Baiona hundreds
of demonstrators took the streets. In Iruñea 1.500 people took part in
the demonstration. It is worth mentioning the presence of ex prisoners
carrying a banner. In this demonstration as well as in the rest of
them there is the same message going on: "The right to decide is
essential. Where is freedom if it is not recognised? If the persons
have rights why not the nations?" The demonstration which happened in
Bilbo was the most populous one with almost 8.000 people. It has a
clear internationalist connotation. The slogans in favour of
independence and socialism get mixed with other mottoes in favour of
Lebanon and Palestine. Many participants wearing Palestine shawls ask
for the active boycott against sionism. In Donostia 3.000 people ask
for independence and democracy for Euskal Herria. In Gasteiz 1.500
participants march with the photographs of the Basque political
prisoners; they also carried banners in which appeared the different
nations fighting for their freedom and against imperialism.
· To fight fascism: self determination. On the 12th of September Spain
celebrated the day of the Spanish patriotism. This day, as it can be
easily understood is very critically seen from Euskal Herria. This
year Iruñea has had a special political relevance, since the Spanish
right wing has chosen this territory to transform it into its
stronghold and in this way reject every Basque nationalist
expectations. On the one hand, the Spanish military police: "guardia
civil" organised a parade in which military, political and religious
authorities (As the Pope in Rome made some weeks ago, the archbishop
of Navarre wore the Spanish military police cap during the
celebrations); on the other hand, the pro nazi Spanish movement
organised a street demonstration protected by the Spanish police. In
the evening almost 3.000 citizens from Navarra, facing all these
provocations, went to the street to ask for their right to decide.
The Big Walk. The social and political agenda for these months is full
of events to ask for our right to decide our own future. It would be a
hard task just to mention them all. The most notorious one took place
in Bilbo on the 11th of November. 26.000 people of all ages marched in
the streets with a banner with the slogan of the campaign. At the end
of the celebration Arnaldo Otegi, one of the usual representatives of
the left wing pro independence party: Batasuna, transmitted these very
same messages to all the expectant citizens: "Night is even darker
just before daylight; things go wrong but there is a chance somewhere
there? They should stop using ETA and street fighting as a mere
excuse; the responsibility to make the peace process advance is mostly
in the hands of the political parties of Euskal Herria and, it is also
in the hands of the Spanish government in order to stop all the
aggressions against the Basque left wing. It is a paradox that the
official pacifists are afraid of peace and political debate, and yet
we "the aggressive and violent ones" are the ones who are claiming for
it. They know that their political project is weak and we know that we
will achieve independence as long as we are let free to make our own
choice. Our aim has a huge dimension since we want to solve an armed
conflict that has been going on for centuries; this is why the Basque
left wing is taking the right decissions; but are we asking for the
same compromise to the rest of the agents; the left wing pro
independence party will never sign a document which has no guarantees
for a democratic context in this country and for the definitive
solution of the conflict"
Euskal Herria, 1st December 2006
firstname.lastname@example.org // www.askapena.org
>The Basque political prisoner Iñaki de Juana, after completely serving
>his sentence (almost 20 years imprisoned), should be out of jail from
>the year 2003. But in the Spanish State, the times of sentences are
>elastic and malleable. As the former Justice Secretary said on 2005,
>it was necessary to find any way for keeping Inaki in jail although he
>had already served his sentence. With this stupid pretension a 96
>years sentence was requested based on two opinion articles. The
>prisoner started a hunger strike that lasted 2 months. He was fed
>against his will under an order of the Spanish National Court.
>Inaki gave up his stance when he knew that the prosecutor reduced his
>petition from 96 years to 6. But this is not what happened. The court
>took place and the prosecutor asked for 13 years. One day before being
>the condemnatory judgment to 12 years and 6 months of jail for two
>opinion articles known (November the 7th), Inaki again declared
>himself in hunger strike reiterating his decision for driving his
>protest to the extreme. He requested to the Prison Governor to remain
>in total isolation, renouncing to any contact with his family. Prison
>Institutions, trying to harden the situation, have requested
>permission to the Spanish National Court to place Inaki in a sharing
>cell with other prisoner.
>In this bulletin we want to reproduce pieces of an interesting opinion
>article published in Gara newspaper on 30 October by Manuel F. Trillo,
>Freedom of speech, amputated freedom
>I have listened the statement of an accused, judged because of writing
>two articles. In them he mentions some people who are prison officers.
>The prisoner complains about the treatment received from them?
>Is not understandable that a prisoner complains about the prison and
>the jailers? Does not the slave complain about how cruel is his
>master? And the master because he has to treat with a slave? All of us
>complain; some ones can to say it in low voice but other ones can
>shout it. Do not the prison officers complain about how hard is their
>job? But, the person who writes two articles naming his jailers is
>being judged just because of mentioning them. If I had the idea to
>publish that my boss, my bigwig is a rotten, would be myself object of
>criminal proceedings? I have listened very quietly Inaki's statement
>during the hearing. The tone was somebody's who is tired of so much
>grudge, who knows himself symbol of a personal and collective combat
>which took him to prison 20 years ago. The arguments were so
>convincing that they were un-attackable.
>It is really difficult to me to accept the double measuring stick: On
>October 27th, during the oral hearing, the extreme right wing
>demonstrated in front of the Spanish National Court cutting the
>traffic during more than an hour and they were not suppressed. Would
>have the police had the same consideration if Batasuna´s supporters
>were the people cutting Genova Street? From here I ask to the
>Government Vice President: Why you allowed the extreme right to cut my
>right to the free circulation? I only have sympathy for the Law.
>Because of that I understand that anyone who makes an offence pays
>with jail the crime. But I can not support that they make fun of us
>using and abusing the Law depending of the ideological colour of the
>people who violated it.
>There is something that has taken my attention completely because it
>has nothing to do with what was being judging and it is that the
>prosecutor, on certain moment, asks to the defendant: If you leave the
>prison, what would you do? But, prosecutor, how low can you get? You
>know that this is not the cause of the trial because here it is
>another question in the air: the publication of two articles. And you
>ask to the accused about something relating his future. Burgos
>prosecutor, tell me one thing: Do you know what will happen to you in
>three days time? Prosecutor, I am going a bit farther, do you usually
>ask the same question to the rapists, women batterers, corrupts, drug
>I have also seen that they have allowed get inside the hearing room
>two individuals who uttered threats. The fact that these characters
>get access as a public but friends of the defendant were not allow to
>get in seems a nonsense to me. I am absolutely perplexed when I listen
>to the magistrate saying to take their identities and that they will
>be accused of disorders; come on please, both of them have uttered
>death threats, "look at me because this is the last thing you are
>going to see in your life". The threat was said in a tribunal and it
>was not a private offence; it is evident that the Judge and the
>prosecutor should have acted in consequence. Make your job. If the
>accused had pronounced this phrase in his articles, which one would
>have been the magistrate's and prosecutor's deduction?
>In the Spanish National Court the Freedom of Speech has been judged.
>The judicial operators know it; those who try to confuse the
>population know it. The discussion in this trial is the freedom to say
>that somebody is a rogue. This is the reason way this trial is not
>trivial. Fundamental rights are at stake. I can not imagine another
>sentence but absolution because two articles are not guns and words
>are not bullets. I hope the judge knows to ensure that the law is
>upheld. Otherwise, it would be a huge indignity.
>By way of conclusion
>While we are writing this bulletin, Iñaki has already lost six
>kilograms and is health, already deteriorate because of the previous
>two months lasting hunger strike, is getting worst by moments. His
>fellows in Aranjuez Prison are doing a rotary fasting in solidarity
>with the prisoner. The anti-repressive organism Askatasuna (freedom),
>has talked to the Government of Spain. Reminds it that "it is
>maintaining the policy to kill the prisoners and destroy the
>collective of Basque Political Prisoners following the guidelines of
>the anti-terrorist pact signed with the Popular Party? These are the
>principal obstacles to reach a definitive solution". And, referring to
>the Basque society: "It is the time to bring together strengths
>against every aggression and interferences".
>Basque Country, November 22th, 2006
>email@example.com // www.askapena.org