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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spanish Inquisition: 'Mandela never used violence'

It would be laughable if one had not too present the aphorism of that Nazi propagandist who stated "a lie repeated one thousand times is a truth". And in Spain what the authorities say, specially in regards to Basques, is parroted by all the media without any criticism at all.

This single-discourse regime is incredibly said to be a "democracy" just because now and then they allow for ritual elections where nothing is decided at all.

Just in case anyone happens to do as the Spanish media and believe such nonsense, I must remind here that Nelson Mandela was a founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) an armed organization that fought by military means against the "democratic" racist regime that existed in South Africa.

This absurd claim that pretends to alter the historical reality of the South African struggle for democracy and human rights in order to adequate it to the reactionary ideals of a weakened regime, as is that of post-Francoist Spain, was made in the context of yet another inquisitorial trial against Basque citizens, in this case the rather well known speaker of the Basque Nationalist Left Arnaldo Otegi.

The trial, which concluded with a condenatory sentence of two years of prison and 16 years of absolute inhabilitation to exert public office for Otegi but acquitment of the other four prosecuted, was engineered around some declarations of the Basque politician, which neither the prosecutors nor the tribunal had any idea initially what they might mean, as they were said in Basque language and they had not even bothered to order a translation.

Otegi had dared to speak, in June 2005, in the homage to Basque prisoner Joxe Mari Sagardui, Gatza, who had been in prison for 25 years already (i.e. since 1980).

A. Otegi in the 2005 homage meeting.
Behind the photos of Gatza in 1980 and today.

In his defense Otegi mentioned that Nelson Mandela was also a political prisoner, to what the tribunal, that showed shamelessly its lack of neutrality all the time, replied in the sentence that the South African leader "never used violence nor supported it in order to achieve the suppression of apartheid".

This is blatantly false. Nelson Mandela was a founding member of the armed group, which the racist regime naturally used to dismiss as terrorism and that was the main justification for his life sentence, now so much regretted by all. Also Mandela has often defended that resorting to violence was the only thing that they could do in that time.

In his own words:

Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.
Besides of this convenient falsification of history by a supposedly objective and well informed tribunal (ahem), the, eventually translated, evidence against Otegi is summarized in the sentence as the following fragment:

... we proposed two [negotiation] boards and those boards, we don't know when, but will exist.

And, finally, in these two boards, like in South Africa, the future of this people will be built in agreement, with compromise, freedom, democracy and justice. Acknowledging the territoriality and the self-determination of this people, but this cannot be built without struggle, without organization and without compromise.

Gatza has been 25 years in prison, Mandela came out after 27 years. But Mandela did not leave prison to meet a South Africa of the past, Mandela came out of prison with aprtheid overcome, with democracy built and with freedom achieved. And that is the way that will come out in this people ["nation" or "country" meant in the original surely] the Collective of Basque Political Prisoners.

We still don't know if it will be long, short or breve, what we know is that in South Africa they achieved after 27 years. And what we know is that, if we keep the political lucidity, intelligence and prudence that Jon Idigoras told us about, maybe in 27 years will also be achieved in the Basque Country through negotiation the democratic national scenario is owed, that is deserved, that is needed. We owe that to the Basque political prisoners, refugees and so many comrades we have left behind in the struggle and we will achieve it. We are going through the good path, we are in the good path, the conditions are being created and we are going to manage those conditions within the will of the people. Territoriality and self-determination, democracy and justice.

And all the repressed Basques building the Basque Country with us at home, at the streets, in the Basque Country. Forward the Nationalist Left! Forward the Basque Country!

Sorry about some punctuation issues and some confusing sentences but I've tried to follow to the word the version reported (in Spanish, not the original Basque one) by the tribunal in its sentence, which, no doubt, is just a poor translation of the original discourse.

This new attack comes in the context in which the Nationalist Left is pushing forward yet another proposal for a democratic solution to the Basque-Spanish conflict and when Basque independentists of all colors are gathering into a wider movement.

Source: Gara [es].

Update (March 8): even the president of the Western Basque section of the ruling Socialist Party, Jesús Egiguren has declared that "is somewhat strange what has happened because they have applied the maximum possible penalty" (...) "it seems all exaggerated but who dares to criticize the judges!". Meanwhile the tories are proposing even further measures to make sure that the Nationalist Left cannot take part in Basque institutional politics in any way under any scenario. Source: Gara.

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