Thursday, March 23, 2006

Euskadi : ETA announces a ceasefire

ETA has announced a permanent ceasfire after decades of armed struggle against the Spanish state. Its not the first ceasfire offered by ETA but hopefully it will be the last. I've been to the Basque regions of Spain and France and have always been astounded that this long running conflict has been ignored for so long. In a Europe that likes to present itself as a modern champion of Human Rights, the Basque issue has always been swept under the carpet.

Recent action by Spanish and French authorities has resulted in the arrests of a large portion of the ETA leadership and coupled with ongoing repression of Basque political parties affliated with ETA it is likely that ETA has conceded internally that armed struggle is not going to achieve the desired results.

This should not be viewed as a victory in George's so-called "War on Terror", because everybody's favourite Texan rancher wouldn't know his ETA from his i.t.a.. Obviously the post-911 environment made life much harder for organisations like the IRA and ETA, but neither has climbed down from their objectives, opting instead for a change of tactics.

I for one do hope that this ceasefire is permanent and that the entire Basque region of Spain and France can become the autonomous region that it deserves to be through peaceful and honest negotiation.

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