Yesterday was Rememberence Day in honor of the victims of ETA terrorism. Flowers on monuments across Spain and the Basque Country. Flowers for the victims.
It's funny how a tiny group of extremists come to characterize an entire group of people. The Basques with ETA. Middle Easterners and Muslims with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Mexico with drug lords. Even Americans with rednecks. The list goes on.
In this region in particular, the only thing the world at large knows about the Basque Country is that ETA committed terrorist acts in the name of Basque nationalism. It's too small a region to be known around the world, unless the Basque Diaspora has a presence as it does in parts of the western US and in Latin America, especially Chile and Argentina.
ETA was created to fight against Basque repression by Franco. Franco banned all things Basque, including the language. Oddly enough, that had to opposite effect he wanted. More people can speak Basque now than ever before.
Since Franco's death, the fight for Basque nationalism lessened. Franco gave them a reason to fight, but once he died and they got their autonomy back, for most, that's sufficient. For ETA and other less extreme Basque nationalists, it wasn't. They wanted their own country. But only ETA went so far as to commit terrorism, despite not having the support of the majority of Basques. Terrorism usually occurs as a tactic of a group of minority extremists within another minority. Basques are a minority in Spain. Basque nationalists are a minority among Basques. ETA is a minority amount Basque nationalists. They committed extreme acts to try and provoke a response from the Spanish state and get all Basques on their side. But nothing has unified the Basque people like Franco. And without such a strong unifier, ETA is ineffective. For that reason, it seems as if their ceasefire in November of 2011 will be definitive.
So remember the victims, don't forget the past but realize that the present and future are different.