Spain manages to catch and convict nearly all the accomplices of the horrific bombings in Madrid. They manage to sweep the floor with Basque terrorists that have killed over 800 people in their efforts to get a Basque Homeland. This raises for me two fundamental, existential issues.
1) Why is it that the US, the superpower of world dominion, with the most sophisticated intelligence, cannot apprehend, and convict terrorists effectively? Even the sweeping Patriot act has not hastened the real-time apprehension of evildoers.
2) And why isnât the Basque struggle for independenceâfor liberation from the evil occupationâ the darling of the world? Why arenât their leaders fÃªted and bathed in the glow that poured upon the evil Arafat, patron of death and deception? Is it because ETA kills Spaniards and the PLO kill Jews?
Without getting into the meat of Basque-dom, let it be known that the Basques have occupied more or less the same geographic area since the Romans, experienced political and national freedoms, and exhibit many characteristics of being a nation. While being today Catholic, thanks to forced conversion, they retain distinct ethnicity. They have peaceful arbiters of national determination, who proceed through legal grounds to achieve independence, and they have terrorists, among the most daring in the world, scaring the pants off the Spaniards. So in other words, they meet all the criteria that should qualify them for at least autonomy, and yet Spain makes this nearly impossible.
Lets juxtapose this with the Arab struggle for âfreedom and self-liberationâ? to achieve a homeland in what is known as Israel. Arabs have shared the land with Jews since they became Muslim about 1300 years ago. Long after the last Roman legion left town. There was never and local autonomous Arab political entity. The land was always controlled during their sojourn by regional empires. They rejected offers of independence and co-existence, instead focusing their cultural and religious fervor on the decimation of their enemies. Rather than being a distinct ethnic group, they are a modern concoction composed of nomadic peoples, and immigrants from the entire mid-east, Mediterranean region. They have the same language as people stretching across over a dozen countries, the same religion (save the small Christian population). They have waged a campaign of terror and destruction against the Jewish minority ever since Muslim dominion ended with the defeat of the Sultanâs Ottoman Empire. I guess the one thing that the Basques and the Arabs have in common is that they practice religion that was basically forced upon them, usurping indigenous religious icons and holy-places.
I have left many crucial variables out of this comparison. Life is complex and so are theses conflicts. However as a student of conflict (this is what I have studied since 1989) I am mystified how one struggle has become chic and the other marginal, one demanding of international action, UN resolutions, and boycotts, while the other simmers in obscurity, languishes in the halls of the EU, and has no international backers, not even the Pope.
The answer is that killing Jews is a legitimate practice, when the Jew is in the way. But when the person in the way is a fellow European, a fellow Christian, then we are outraged. In other words, terror works against Jews because the Jewsâ death is a byproduct of our own supposed rejection of the Christianity and Islam. That the death of the Jew is at the hands of the murderous thugs, is just happenstance. The salient point is that the Jewish death is expected, no worse, inevitable. Where as when Europeans are killed at the hands of mountain-dwelling freedom fighters, the worlds is aghast.’
I will answer the first question in my next post.
The German Nazis were part of the plan to wipe out the Basques. Through coordination with fascist Franco, in the Spanish Civil War. On April 26, 1937, German planes bombed Guernica, the traditional Biscayne capital, the spiritual center of Basque life. It was like bombing Jerusalem or the Vatican. Much of the city was destroyed and a great deal of Basque history was erased.