Friday, March 9, 2012

ETA asks France for dialogue

The Basque armed organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basque Country And Freedom), commonly known by its acronym ETA, currently in the process of unilaterally giving up armed struggle, has issued a communication addressed to the French Government asking for direct conversations about the conflict and its consequences. 

Notably ETA claims that the French authorities have been treating the conflict as a Spanish internal matter, forgetting the many Basque prisoners in French jails, almost systematically far away from home and its own role in the so-called dirty war (institutionally-sponsored terrorist attacks against Basque activists or random civilians).

ETA also states that French authorities, like the Spanish ones, deny the national reality of the Basque Country and the right of Basque People to decide their future.

The communication comes days after the French President N. Sarkozy admitted in a convoluted electoral tour through the Northern Basque Country that Basque prisoners with French official nationality may be moved to the Basque Country or nearby areas. Currently most are in the many Parisian prisons, 700 km away from home. 

Source: Gara[es].


  1. The issue is also a legal one : with all anti-terrorist judges in Paris (everything is in Paris ...), it is impossible to have alleged ETA members located in SW French prisons (Bordeaux or Pau should be tolerable in my opinion, about 1h30 of road, Bayonne would be ideal) during the whole enquiry ... Once judged, they can expect being relocated wth good hope though (there's still a problem with those having Spanish nationality).

    IMO, in a sane country, the special penal department investigating the Basque issue should at least be located in SW France ! But I won't deny there is a psychological issue with such institutions being in Paris ... "Violence d'Etat".

    As for the Basque issue as a whole, it is undoubtedly true that France tackles it as a purely internal Spanish affair. France doesn't care. Sarkozy's visit in Bayonne, which was mostly a reaction by Basque militants to his Basque "policy" (the Pamplona-Salies highway, LGV, Basque prisoners, the future of Basque peasantry, ...), was analyzed by the French media as the proof that the electoral campaign is quite agitated, that Sarkozy had forgotten he was impopular and that it meant Hollande's victory. This is not untrue but come on, had not he been to Bayonne, such events would never have happened : there is a "local" factor that France seems to be unable to intellectually get. A "convoluted electoral tour" in Bayonne is analyzed through the Parisian spectrum.

  2. Paris is just where they are most concentrated but they are scattered not just there but through much of the hexagon. Only 13 (<10%) are within 400 km of the Basque Country, while 50 are scattered farther away but outside Paris and 72 are in Paris.

    Only one is within 200 km of the Basque Country in France (Mont de Marsan prison).

    The same happens in the South with only 4 in the Basque Country and 9 within 100 km out of 518 (2.5% together).

    It is an intentional dispersion intended to punish them and their relations harder.

    And let's not forget that nowadays many Basque political prisoners are also prisoners of consciousness, not having ever been member of any armed organization at all.

    There's no excuse: they just want ETA to take back arms.


    (Forgot the link to the prisoners' map)


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