A true story*


The admirable engagement of the Fundación Gregorio Ordóñez to support and spread the reality and relevance of bearing his name goes a step further with this successful attempt to modernize the general archive of Gregorio Ordóñez.

Few biographies can claim so many achievements in such briefness of the time lived. Few lives, like his, have moved feelings and established references of exemplariness. Few memories survive as imperative of commitment to freedom as the memory of the one we miss so much.

Gregorio Ordóñez is a symbol. But he is, above all, a personal story, true and specified on a political action from which social leadership against terrorism and fear rose and changed things for real. Soon after, it could be determined how decisive was the path that Gregorio Ordóñez chose to walk, while denouncing terror and bravely identifying those responsible, who were not just those who took up arms. Gregorio shook the security of those who lived in institutions acting, without any problem, as unpunished accomplices of terrorism. He broke the silence in a society which, looking the other way, was giving ground to ETA’s strategy and its political organizations and ignored the victims. However, this society recognized in Gregorio the leadership and the values for what it was worth taking action while refusing the resignation.

We have to keep wondering what makes a young man, with a newly inaugurated family with his wife Ana, risk his tranquility and his life to face a terror machine like ETA and its truss of organizations. And nowadays, when politics are suffering a deep discredit without precedent, the answer is most needed than ever: Gregorio Ordóñez believed in politics as dedication, as service and as engagement, and he proved this more than enough. In the politics Gregorio believed in no one could be without dignity. For Gregorio, terrorism was, naturally, an injustice, but also a collective humiliation that he was not willing to go through nor was he willing for the Basque society to go through it. This impulse of dignity, that can be followed in his biography in this archive, is what showed the cowardice, what dragged more citizens after his example and what ETA could not stand.

At this point, no one can doubt that the story which tries to find its way as established truth of what has happened is the one that wants to water the responsibilities down because of the terror, the one that tries to make of these decades of crime another chapter of a secular conflict between two sides, the one that wants to ennoble terrorists pulling their guilt over and even turning them into peacemakers. The rule of law, the social mobilization, the international cooperation, the moral strength and the example of the victims are reduced to accessory episodes. Nowadays, fighting terrorism means facing this story that scamps recognition of those who deserve it and gives away benevolence to those responsible of so much crime and destruction.

A challenge of intergenerational communication lies ahead. The meaning of terrorism, the reason why it grew in the Basque Country, why it benefited from the political and social legitimation of so many for so long. Here again Gregorio Ordóñez provides us not only with the incentive for this new challenge, but he also offers himself as the most compelling argument that reminds us that warning: for evil to win, it’s only imperative that good men don’t doing anything.

* This article was originally published in Fudación Gregorio Ordóñez web page (18.10.2016)

Translated by Clara Ayuso