A day of homage was held on Sunday by the Spanish lower house of Parliament – Congress – its first to pay respects to the victims of terrorism. By accident or design the date coincided with the 50 th anniversary of the first slaying by the Basque terrorist group ETA. The victim was a 22-month old girl, Begoña Urroz, who was killed at Amara station in San Sebastián after an incendiary bomb exploded in 1960.
Since that day the number of people killed by ETA is a staggering 858. The last victim was a French policeman Jean-Serge Nerin who died in a shot-out with members of the terrorist group on March 16. Over the years members of the military, Guardia Civil, various police forces, politicians, judges, businessmen and members of the public have been slain by their bombs and bullets.
The 80s was a very bloody period with 98 people being killed in 1980 itself and the slaughter continued to 1991 when 45 were murdered. Since then the number of deaths has declined – partly because of a change of policy by ETA and partly due to the fact that the security forces have hit back with numerous arrests and the breaking up of its assassination cells. Indeed in 1999, 2004 and 2005 there were no deaths at all but with a terror organisation you never known when they will strike again.
I fully support a people’s right to self determination. However whilst the ETA campaign started in the era of the Franco regime some of its bloodiest days have been since the introduction of democracy to Spain and its Basque region.
The Basques are a proud people and the vast majority do not support an ETA nation created with bombs and bullets – to be led by people with blood on their hands. Indeed it has been the Basques themselves who have often suffered at the hands of this terror group – starting with the innocent babe in arms Begoña Urroz.
May they all rest in peace!