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Francisco Javier Cubero and Bob Torres © 2000


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On the cloudy and damp afternoon of 22 February, on the campus of the Universidad de Vitoria in Spanish Basque Country, a twenty kilogram truck bomb put an end to the lives of Fernando Buesa Blanco, a party official of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), and his police escort, Jorge Díez Elorza. This most recent attack by the ETA, or Basque Homeland and Liberty, was the second since the group called an end to a fourteen-month ceasefire in late November 1999. Their previous attack, on 21 January in Madrid, took the life of Lieutenant Colonel Pedro Antonio Blanco. These three represent only a fraction of the hundreds that the ETA has killed since it started its campaign for independence in the 1960s.

The violence of ETA's quest for an independent Basque state has often been countered with violence by the Spanish state, in both pre- and post-Franco years. This spiral of terrorism and repression has been justified by both sides as the necessary means to their respective ends. What follows is a letter to El Pais, written the day after the most recent ETA action by Francisco Javier Cubero, a Barcelona native, poet and dear friend of mine, and published on 25 February. Calling for an end to the fascism of violence, Javier reminds us that our silence is as good as complicity.


Necesitamos palabras para definir y definirnos, para expresar el pensamiento y hacerlo comprensible, para comunicarnos. Las palabras pueden vestirnos, pero también nos desnudan, demuestran quiénes somos. Ser puede ser un sinónimo de vivir, y vivir es condición indispensable para poder desarrollar cualquier tipo de lenguaje. Las armas son un instrumento que elimina la vida, en un sentido amplio y en un sentido cotidiano; rompen cualquier posibilidad de comuncación. Quien utiliza las armas no puede considerarse un ser humano: es un asesino frío y calculador; se afirma a sí mismo mediante el miedo de los demás y el desprecio hacia sus vidas; cuando intenta argumentar sus asesinatos en un contexto político evidencia su condición fascista.

No podemos resignarnos a la violencia, contemplar con distancia la muerte ajena, puesto que rompe una existencia paralela a la nuestra, una vida cotidiana llena de posibilidades, rodeada de afectos que, a su vez, serán sometidos a un dolor sin argumentación posible.

Las palabras no pueden sustuir a la vida, pero sí pueden provocar la muerte. el silencio cómplice, la hipocresia, las medidas palabras de ciertos políticos también disparan en la nuca, detonan explosivos con metralla. Militar o político, mecánico o abogado, transeúnte o niño, no pueden ser culpabilizados por morir; son cientos de victimas ausentes por la fuerza de sus casas, de sus familias, de una posible vida cotidiana. No puede haber razón humana que justifique, ni Estado que pueda garantizar una mínima libertad sobre esas bases. Ellos ya no pueden hablar; nosotros, contra el fascismo, tenemos la obligación de hacerlo.

Francisco Javier Cubero


We need words to define and to state opinions, to express our thoughts and make them comprehensible, to communicate. Words can clothe us, but they can also strip us, revealing who we really are. Being can be a synonym for living, and living is an essential condition for the ability to develop any type of language. Weapons are instruments which eliminate life, in a general sense as well as in specific instances; they destroy any possibility for communication. Those who use weapons cannot be considered human: they are cold, calculating assassins, strengthening themselves through the fears of others, showing contempt for life. When they try to justify their murders in a political context, they show their true fascist nature.

We cannot resign ourselves to violence, to the distant contemplation of the death of others, to the destruction of an existence parallel to our own -- a life full of possibilities, surrounded by loved ones who will be subjected to a pain without possible justification.

Words cannot sustain life, but they can indeed provoke its end. Silence is complicit; the hypocrisy and half-truths of certain politicians are as good as a shot to the back of the head; they can detonate explosives, spewing shrapnel. Soldier or politician, mechanic or lawyer, passer-by or child -- no one can be blamed for dying. There are hundreds of victims absent from their homes, away from their families, away from their daily lives. There is no humane reason which justifies this, nor is there a state which can guarantee a minimum liberty upon these grounds. The victims can no longer speak against fascism; we, the survivors, now have the obligation to do so.

Francisco Javier Cubero




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