This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Thilo Schäfer is a German journalist who lives in Madrid and who, in this case, is writing an opinion piece for one of the most widely-read newspapers in Colombia, El Heraldo. It would seem that the most logical, the most comfortable, thing would be to not get into trouble, and leave the problems caused by the “War in the North” out of his reflections.
But no, not only does he not do that, he decides to put himself smack dab in the middle of a debate that has the ability to create deeply opposing positions that make equanimous and reflective positions hard to come by. This is all referring to a matter that in Colombia, just like in the Basque Country, is felt especially closely.
The first time we referenced this journalist and his column was because of an opinion piece he wrote on the stepping down of Arantza Quiroga. Today, he once again shows us his ability to understand what is happening in our country with a sensitivity that is hard to find. His thoughts on the victims and the need for Truth, Justice, and Compensation for all of them is worth reading. It’s a principle that seems not all are willing to apply to all victims.
It’s especially heartbreaking to see how in most forums, the debate, and the recognition, only deals with the victims of the ETA (who do deserve that recognition). But it seems that many other victims of the violence lived here are still fighting to be recognized as such. Even the laws that are passed by the Basque Government that treat all victims as such are rejected by large sectors of the Spanish body politic because they don’t make “distinctions” in favor of the victims of the ETA.
For many, there are no other victims that those they consider closest. They think that the only victims are those that were “hurt” and that the rest are nothing more than “collateral damage” of the process to achieve “the truth and the justice” that they want imposed.
So, we find ourselves with political leaders and media that demand justice for some victims, while denying that, for example, the victims of the dictatorship should should abandon the common graves that accumulate in the tombstones, roadside ditches, and forest clearings.
For them, and they shout this from the rooftops with no shame, speaking of this, of giving reparations to the victims, is “reopening wounds”. This may be because many of them make up the group of political, or biological, children of those responsible for the Fascist regime that assassinated, stole, and plundered for four decades. They might be afraid that we may start by exhuming the murdered and end up looking for their murderers.
The Spanish Right is still determined to protect, actively and passively, the “status quo” that the Franco regime left behind; unfortunately, the sad fact is that when it comes to victims, there is no exception.
El Heraldo – 22/9/2016 – Colombia
Las víctimas en el País Vasco
Hace pocos años, una campaña electoral en el País Vasco era un ejercicio de alto riesgo para los candidatos de los partidos no nacionalistas que iban protegidos por guardaespaldas ante la amenaza de la banda terrorista ETA y su entorno. Afortunadamente, son cosas del pasado desde que la organización dejó las armas en 2011 tras cuatro décadas de lucha armada por la independencia de este territorio singular. Este domingo, hay una nueva convocatoria a las urnas en Euskadi -como se llama la comunidad autónoma en vasco-. La campaña ha demostrado el cambio a mejor en la sociedad vasca que ha dejado la violencia atrás.
Perhaps the clearest example of denial, no argument, is the fact that there are more Francoist victims than ETA victims was seen in the electoral debate held on this matter between Pili Zabala, a victim of state terrorism, and Alfonso Alonso, a member of the People’s Party who defended that the only victims that matter were those caused by the ETA.