Thursday, March 23, 2006
The Basque separatist organisation ETA has declared a permanent ceasefire, starting tomorrow, that would, if fulfilled, end decades of armed struggle for independence from Spain, and pave the way for a negotiated peace. [...] The unprecedented announcement was posted on the website of the radical nationalist Gara newspaper, and dominated every relevant website and media outlet in Spain. The news was greeted with joy and optimism among Basques, and welcomed by the Madrid government as "good news for Spaniards". [...] Terrorism as a political strategy was doomed on 11 March 2004 when the Madrid train bombers killed 192 and sickened the nation. ETA finally recognised that its aspiration for an independent homeland could be advanced only through non-violent means. The government, meanwhile, acknowledged that the organisation could never be defeated through repression alone. And in Catalonia, the tortuous but bloodless process towards greater autonomy, involving all parties, has provided an inspiration to Basques.Anything that decreases violence anywhere is a Good Thing for the whole world.
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