Territory and Terror: Conflicting Nationalisms in the Basque Country

By Jan Mansvelt Beck | Go to book overview

7

The spatial dimension of violence

Beyond the fracture lines

The traffic policeman José Pardines, who was killed on 7 June 1968, is generally seen as ETA's first political killing. In the Spanish Basque newspaper El Correo of 19 September 2000 Ernest Lluch - a former socialist Minister who himself was killed by ETA on 21 November 2000 - wrote that the first victim was not Pardines, but Begoña Urroz Ibarrola. Begoña was a baby of 22 months who was accidentally killed by the explosion of an object on the railway station of Amara in San Sebastián on 27 June 1960. Neither the Spanish authorities nor ETA have officially acknowledged her death as a result of ETA's violence. ETA's death toll since 1960 is claimed to be more than 800, plus over 25 battle-related deaths. This would qualify the conflict as a 'minor armed conflict' (Wallensteen and Sonnenberg 2000:542, 648). Although, from a military perspective, the conflict is limited and contained, there is widespread concern about violence in Euskadi. Violence, in this respect, should not only be understood to be direct bodily injury, but also includes the threat of harm to people and objects (Chapter 1). The longitudinal surveys conducted by Euskobarómetro reveal that violence and terrorism are seen as today's main problem. In November 2001 39 per cent of the respondents referred to violence and terrorism as their main concern, while unemployment was rated the most worrying problem by 26 per cent of the respondents (Euskal Herriko Unibersitatea 2002). The fact that the violence has continued for more than 40 long years qualifies the conflict as 'protracted' and perhaps even 'intractable'. Protracted and intractable conflicts have in common that they last for at least one generation. In contrast to protracted conflicts, the adversary groups in intractable conflicts consider their goals to be irreconcilable (Kriesberg 1998:161). According to this definition, the irreconcilability of goals is applicable to one set of adversaries, namely ETA and Iparretarrak on one side and the states of Spain and France on the other. To the other set of adversaries, namely both states versus the PNV, EA, or AB, the irreconcilability of goals has varied over time. Historically, Francoism has been incompatible with peripheral nationalism, while post-Franco administrations have always showed varying degrees of sensitivity towards ethnoregionalism. In addition, PNV, EA, and AB have demonstrated alternating views on independence and strategies to obtain sovereignty.

Before analysing why Basque political violence has been so persistent, I will first describe the diverse expressions of violence. I will show that violence in Spain takes many forms, which have a specific time-bounded intensity. These violent

-176-

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Territory and Terror: Conflicting Nationalisms in the Basque Country
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures x
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgements xii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The French-Basque Experience 19
  • 3 - The Spanish-Basque Experience 41
  • 4 - Euskal Herria 77
  • 5 - Basque Nationalism 97
  • 6 - Euskadi as a Weak Proto-State 126
  • 7 - The Spatial Dimension of Violence 176
  • 8 - Conflict Solutions 205
  • Conclusion 225
  • Bibliography 233
  • Index 253
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