4 November 2009


Last Wednesday South African attorney and international mediator Brian
Currin addressed a conference in Donostia/San Sebastian. Expectations
were high due to the work Brian Currin has carried out in conflict
resolution in South Africa, Rwanda, Ireland and the Basque Country.

Brian Currin arriving to the conference.

Mr. Currin said he knew the Basque pro-independence left was involved
in a strategic debate and that he had been given details about a new
political initiative. He revealed that in July last year, Batasuna had
asked him to write a report on the anti-aparthied United Democratic
Front experience in South Africa. Then that strategy was discussed
between September and December.
During the conference he said he trusted the Basque pro-independence
left and he encouraged others to support the new political initiative.
He went on to say that he thought the initiative was praiseworthy and
that it has the potential to have a deep impact in the political
situation in the Basque Country. According to Mr. Currin, a democratic
process based on the new political initiative would receive
international support.
He began his speech by talking about the recent arrests of prominent
Basque pro-independence activists such as Batasuna spokesperson
Arnaldo Otegi. He said he was sure the Spanish government knew about
the new proposal and that with the arrests they wanted to prevent it
from being launched.
Mr. Currin said that the Basque pro-independence left should be
legalised and its members released from jail and that the democratic
process should be carried without violence.
The conference is available on line at:
During the same week veteran pro-independence leader Rufi Etxeberria
was extensively interviewed by the Basque newpaper Gara. He was
recently released on bail after two years in jail for his Batasuna
membership and then arrested the following week along with Arnaldo
Otegi and another eight prominent left nationalist activists just to
be released on bail once again.
In the interview he says “it’s time to collect the fruits of long
years of struggle and not to let them go.” Mr. Etxeberria thinks that
there are appropriate existing political and social conditions to
promote a democratic process and to achive a new democratic framework
in the Basque Country.
For that he considers that the pro-independence left has to reorganise
and strengthen and that it has to become legal. He also thinks a new
broad political and social pro-independence movement has to be created
to promote a democratic framework and at the same time to develop a
pro-independence strategy.
As a third step Mr. Etxeberria speaks of the need to build a popular
wall to stop all the repressive attacks and to demand the release of
all political prisoners.
Finally he says that the negotiation process has to be rebuilt taking
into account the experiences and contents of the last process and that
a Forum for a Democratic Solution should be put in place.
On Monday the pro-independence left decided to make the debate
document available online.  In a statement it said that they wanted
everybody to be able to know about it from the original source in a
way to defeat the Spanish authorities' efforts to prevent the new
political initiative and to overcome the ongoing media hysteria and
criminalisation campaign.

Last weekend the National Forum of Debate met at its annual
conference. More than 200 delegates of different organisations took
part and evaluated the work done during the past year. The Forum was
created in 2003 to make a national analysis of the Basque Country’s
political, economic, social and cultural situation and to promote
national building strategies. This year’s conference decided to
establish a commission to promote a common and plural pro-independence
space for citizens to be active in the process of political change.

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