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Saturday, June 28, 2008

The referendum that won't be

The Basque autonomous Parliament has approved to call for a consultative referendum to Western Basque society (not Navarrese, not Northern Basques) with the following (rather tricky) questions:

1. Do you agree to support a process of dialogated end to violence if previously ETA declares unequivocally its intention to abandon violence forever?

2. Do you agree that the Basque political parties, without exclussions, begin a process of negotiation to reach a democratic agreement on the excercise of the right to decide of Basque people and that such agreement is submitted to referendum before the end of 2010?

Tricky certainly, they are so misleading that I'm tempted to vote against both. But worry not: the Spanish political and judicial institutions will curtail the right of Basques to vote on their own destiny before it happens. It has happened before and will happen again: Spanish politicians seem to need the Basque conflict exactly as Bush seems to need Al Qaeda.

In fact the Nationalist Left bloc has supported this law reluctantly (only one representative voted for it, the rest abstaining, so it would be approved by a single vote) on the certainty that Spain will simply forbid the referendum.

On the first question I have the following caveats: why would anyone renounce "definitively" to violence while the right of self-determination of the Basque People is not guaranteed, why isn't this demand posited to Spain and its armed forces?

On the second question I have even more doubts: I don't want the political parties to agree to anything, I want the right of self-determination to be acknowledged, full stop. Once it's acknowledged, then they will probably have to discuss and vote on how it's implemented. If Spain doesn't recognize the right of self-determination, our only realistic path is to begin with self-determination now and break apart unilaterally, like Kosova.


terryt said...

It's a lot like the Irish 'problem' (I'm of Irish ancestry, so possibly have a closely related Y-chromosome to yours). "We won't negotiate till you renounce violence". Of course once the breakaway group gives renounces violence (usually handing in weapons is demanded as proof) the government can then ignore them once more. Nothing changes. So of course the government wants the Basques to renounce violence. The Basques will then have no leverage.

Maju said...

Agreed. Though these days you have to watch what you say or write: everything can be considered a crime, even if you just express your sincere feelings or opinions.

I'm of Irish ancestry, so possibly have a closely related Y-chromosome to yours

Contrary to poplar belief, Irish and Basques are not more related than other Western Europeans (as could be English, Spanish or Belgians), what happens is that both groups show very marked low levels of admixture with "Eastern" genetics. This is specially visible in the Y-DNA. Both Basques and Irish (as well as Welsh and Scotts largely) are extremely high in R1b1b2 (nearing 100%) and this decreases to c. 65% among English and Spanish, c. 50% among French, c. 40% among Germans, c. 25% among Hungarians, and under 5% among Eastern Europeans.

But the few detected subclades are different among the Basque and the Irish. Nevertheless most R1b1b2 is R1b1b2* (undifferentiated, "private" lineages), so the known subclades are founder effects of very limited scope.