“ETA announces its disarmament and sets the date. This time the emissaries, or ventriloquists, of the group have been some alleged “spokespeople of the civil society”. The pathetic spectacle in 2013 seems to have cooled the mediator enthusiasm of Manikkalingam and his “Verification Group”. Since that fiasco, which also compromised the Basque Government and its Secretariat General of “Peace and Coexistence”, ETA seems to delegate its spokesmanship to elements it has on hand.
It looks clear that on April 8 we will attend a new ETA spectacle with the same purpose as always: the propagandistic pretension of disguising its defeat, regardless of the volume of the arsenal which, eventually, is displayed. The message is well-known merchandise: we must attribute the end of a terrorist campaign over fifty years to the willingness of the terrorists. Hereon, the chorus of voices who acknowledged receipt of the announcement was also predictable. The Podemos party, without much delay, to demand changes in the penitentiary policy to the Government. The legalized Basque nationalist Left greeting the news as triumphal portico of the “new times”. Some press requiring that the Government “doesn’t hinder”. The Basque Government placing it to be “up to the mark”.
The reaction of the Government has been the appropriate one. President Rajoy made clear that there will not be any counterparts (“we will not give anything”) and the Ministry of the Interior pointed out that “the most important thing is that the ETA mark disappears for good, the dissolution of the terrorist organization is still the key component”.
Predictably, the different views about the true meaning of the defeat of ETA will be discussed again: its causes and consequences. Being “up to the mark” of this moment will imply knowing the conceptual framework of the end of terrorism. What we all are betting, institutions and citizens, is giving meaning to the sacrifice of the victims, keeping the political acquis of the assaulted Spanish democracy untouched and setting the bases of coexistence in peace and freedom from decency and justice.
That will require not giving the leading role to terrorist propaganda. We have end up here thanks to the fact that the Rule of Law proved its legitimacy and efficacy. The disarmament –if it eventually comes- will be the result of the firmness of the State, not of any disposition of the group, nor from any “process” or any intrigue led by “men of peace” with years of criminal complicity on their shoulders.
The verification of the status at which ETA is at any time, the situation of its arsenals and its closure corresponds to the Law enforcement. There are still more than three hundred murders judicially unresolved, without any known authorship. The weapons than can be taken are evidence of conviction to clarify these issues and substantiate the proceeding responsibilities.
Being up to the mark also implies remembering that ETA has murdered in the name of a political pretension of nationalist bent. The end of ETA which the ensemble of the Basque nationalism pursues is that in which the political value of said pretension remains intact, without the macro-victimization of more than eight hundred people affecting it. In this sense, refreshing the memory and remembering what was included in the Preamble of the Recognition and Integral Protection to the Victims of Terrorism Act: “The use of violence to impose ideas in democracy definitely poisons these and turns, means and ends, in a whole incompatible with freedom, pluralism and democracy”.
The peculiar duration in time of the ETA terrorism is explained by the complacency and tolerance with which some political sectors have contemplated it and the political utilization of its existence as claiming and negotiating argument. Terrorism has served, to some extent, to internalize nationalist doctrines under penalty of suffering the consequences. Recently, the Centro Memorial de las Víctimas del Terrorismo (Memorial Center of Victims of Terrorism) has released the document “The strategy of fear. ETA and the spiral of silence in the Basque Country” in which the extent to which the victimization of ETA affected the electoral potential of the non-nationalist groups in the Basque Country is explained.
We will be up to the mark if this moment Is led by the memory and the reparation for the victims, the delegitimization of the criminal record of ETA and the demand to those who, from prison, maintain their terrorist militancy.
We will be up to the mark as long as we apply to dismantle the excuses which have granted ideological justification and rhetoric protection to the terrorist practice. As long as the narrative of the “conflict” subsists and wants to be hegemonic, the retrospective justification of half a century of terror will subsist.
We will be up to the mark as long as the unconditional and definitive dissolution of the group is pursued relentlessly, the acknowledgement not just of the damaged caused – evident – but of its injustice and illegitimacy; the denunciation of the support to the murderers; the recognition of the silence and the lack of solidarity which surrounded the victims and those threatened. The true peace demands pointing out the destruction and death caused, put the blame those who killed and honor those who died.