The Limako Arantzazu Eusko Etxea – Lima Basque Center has sent us a statement analyzing the consequences of the fall of Afghanistan, which is once again in the hands of the Taliban.
In this statement, which was sent by email to all Basque centers, the consequences for the civilian population as a whole, and women in particular, is analyzed, and what the return of a theocratic dictatorship means for the country.
As they comment quite well, the most important part of this, of everything happening in Afghanistan, isn’t geopolitics or geo-strategy. It’s the violation of human rights, the elimination of the freedom of expression, dignity, thought, belief, or conscience.
They also recall that we Basques have lived through similar situations, which caused many of our compatriots to die, be imprisoned, or exiled due to their opposition to tyranny.
For its interest, and timeliness, we share it here.
Euzkadi 1936 – Afghanistan 2021.
Two Different Faces of the Same Monster
At the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aranzazu of Lima, and at the Limako Arantzazu Ezuko Etxea – Lima Basque Center, we have observed with anguish the events taking place in Afghanistan. And with this manifesto, we would like to ask all those who can do something to please do so.
Our concern is not due to geostrategic consequences or international politics that made it so that the Taliban could take over the country, nor does it even focus on the possible influences that a regime like this could have in the evolution of terrorist activity in the future.
Because terrorism, in all its facets, can be created in almost any environment. Experience tells us that radicalism and intransigence it’s based on can take root among the ignorant and the intellectual elite, in the poor and the powerful, in those who live in open and democratic societies and among those who live oppressed by dictatorships of any type.
Meanwhile, geopolitics and international politics are part of a game of interests and power, in which terrorism itself is just another piece. It’s a game that forgets about people, or ignores them when making decisions, knowing that millions may suffer the consequences of each one of the moves in this “game.”
That is not what worries us, because our main concern is with the people, with the Afghanis who will now suffer the consequences of a government whose interests are not the welfare of its people or giving the citizens of Afghanistan a voice in deciding their future.
We’re especially worried about the Afghan women and girls who will most likely lose their status as people, and equals, to again become sub-citizens.
We’re worried about the imposition of a government for which a religion, or rather a very specific and radicalized version of a religion, will determine the laws of a country and how it functions.
We’re worried about human rights and the freedom of expression, of dignity, of thought, of belief, or conscience, and that they will be canceled.
In the end, we’re worried about how this dictatorship will influence the lives and rights of the people.
We, as Basques, on seeing what is happening in that country, cannot help but recall what our people suffered in the rebels’ uprising in 1936, and in the forty years of criminal dictatorship the Basques south of the Pyrenees had to endure. Similarly, the Basques to the north will remember the years of Nazi occupation.
They are now living what we lived through: death, persecution, repression, and exile. For example, the Taliban, just like the Francoists, think that women are inferior beings with no rights.
Afghanistan and the Basque Country also share another tragic circumstance: that of being abandoned by the powers that should have defended them from totalitarianism, be it in 1936 or 2021. Realpolitik cannot be an excuse to abandon people to their fate at the hands of tyrants.
We’re also worried by the attitude of a part of our society that, due to that same realpolitik, is not worried about the Afghans, but instead analyzes the current situation through the lens of the “defeat” of the “imperialist” forces, and not the beginning of hardship for a people.
That is why we are so happy that, in all this disaster, which is much more human than political, the Basque Government, with the Lehendakari leading the way, has shown its willingness to receive Afghan citizens seeking refuge from that totalitarian régime.
Because this is something that we Basques must never forget: we are not only a country of emigrants, we are also a country of exiles. Our people, we, have had to flee our homeland for political reasons since at least 1839, at the end of the First Carlist War. Most of those exiles found a new home in the New World, and there they created new lives, bringing the best our people had to offer to their new countries.
And the governments and international institutions must be asked for, we must demand of them, something more than thoughts. Abandoning a people to satraps, dictators, or totalitarian régimes of any type is not an option, or a lesser evil. Millions of people cannot be sacrificed in some global political chess match. Recognizing a dictatorial government would make them accomplices to their crimes.
Citizens, peoples, and governments cannot, must not, have no right to look away, unless we want to become a part of the problem and accomplices to the consequences.
Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aranzazu of Lima
Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea – Lima Basque Center