Jesus Mari Txurruka was to make his declaration at Bergara municipal court in Gipuzkoa last Saturday, the 20th of January. His grandfather's brother died in a Hamburg concentration camp in 1945; Franco's forces had killed his great-grandmother in cold blood nine years earlier at her farmstead at Elgeta in the Basque Country. But Jesus Mari is not going to make any such declaration. And nor are the other 13 victims' relatives who should have done so in January.
Maider Imaz, a temporary judge at Bergara court, accepted an accusation about Franco’s forces' crimes in Elgeta. Her historical decision caused a stir, being the first small opening in the Spanish justice system for the savagery of 80 years ago to be brought to trial.
But hope was to be short-lived, and full-timejudge Hugo Jacobo Calzon Mahia closed the case. The reasons were the same as always: The Spanish Amnesty Law of 1977 does not allow investigation into those crimes, and they are considered to have lapsed. The Basque Anti-Franco Accusation Platform believes that there was a “political hand” behind the change. Josu Ibargutxi, the platform's spokesperson, explained on the radio that all public prosecutors use the same, obvious "copy and paste" methods. Recently another court did the same thing with an accusation against the people who ordered the Durango bombardment in 1937.
The victims' associations have requested international agreements about human rights crimes be taken into account in order to overcome the Spanish legal wall, the former not having lapsed. Genocide is the deliberate elimination of a people, according to those agreements.
At Elgeta in October, 1936, the people in favour of the democratic republic were surprisingly able to hold up Franco's forces advance and form a front. Vengeance against local people was savage, with 33 townspeople being killed. Anttoni Telleria's case was one of the worst, who was raped while killing her parents before her; but all of those killings, fines and measure of repression were systematic and deliberate.
The killers are dying out, but the State's underlying responsibility is still there. The problem is that it is increasingly difficult to find witnesses and prove the truth as time goes on, and justice can only follow behind the truth.
Jesus Mari Txurruka got his great-uncle's watch back from Germany, where the Nazis had confiscated it in 1944. The glass was broken, but its hands still move forwards on the wall at Elgeta Memory Museum.
This year is the Eusko's fifth birthday. This solidarity and ecology-focused local currency is used in Lapurdi, Lower Navarre and Zuberoa (the northern Basque Country, which is under French administration). It is strongly supported by both citizens and institutions, and the aim is to continue enlarging the network which uses it. To celebrate the fifth anniversary, a "great family-style party" has been organised for 4th March.
On the morning of 20th February, 2003, I picked up the phone and heard Joxemari Irazusta's voice: "The Civil Guard have arrested Pello Zubiria." Pello? Joxemari told me the little he knew about it, and I couldn't believe it. I got back into bed; I couldn't digest the news. After turning around for a couple of minutes I got up again and set off for Lasarte (Gipuzkoa), the place where we edit ARGIA.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Spanish State for torturing Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola. The judges decided that Spain had contravened the 3rd clause of the European Convention. The Spanish State has to pay the two men 30,000 and 20,000 Euros, respectively, "for moral damages".
Andoain Town Council (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) has signed an agreement with Fiare. Socially excluded citizens, and those in danger of being so, will be able to ask for loans from the ethical bank without the guarantees required by traditional banks.
The Basque feminist movement gave the details of the strike which it has called for 8th March at Donostia's Tabakalera International Contemporary Art Centre.
On 13th May, 2017 at Usurbil station (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) Donostian Martin Goitiandia, who was protesting against the Spanish Gag Law, was seriously injured by a train. Now the Basque police have taken him, along with the person who waited with him for the ambulance to arrive, to court. The trial will be held on 5th March in Donostia.
"We are announcing the biggest demonstration ever to be held in the Basque Country" was how last week's message began. The organisers of Gure Esku Dago presented the project in front of the Donostia Eureka! science museum. They want to link the Basque cities of Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz on 10th June, 2018, and they will need at least 100,000 people to do so.
Susana Uribetxeberria, Basque prisoner Xabier Ugarte Villar's wife, had an accident on 27th January. It happened at dusk after she had visited her husband in prison, and while fortunately she was not hurt, this was the first accident in 2018 caused by the dispersion policy for prisoners.
The murders which took place in the Otxarkoaga district of Bilbao on the 18th of January have started a debate. Karlos Renedo, a member of Otxarkoaga local association, does not agree with the point of view expressed in much of the media and by many individuals.
On 28th of April, it will be 30 years since the first kick: the kick to the door of the bishop’s medieval garage that nobody imagined would start such a long journey. Meetings, symbolic occupations, speeches, interventions in council meeting were the actions that carved out a path for the Gaztetxe and for squatting Gasteiz.