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.
A few other people had been arrested, and I heard their names on the radio: Iñaki Uria, Martxelo Otamendi, Luis Goia, Txema Auzmendi… they were among those who had been arrested. “That's it, then: it's connected with Euskaldunon Egunkaria.” Egunkaria has been founded in 1990, supported by ARGIA amongst others.
When I got to Lasarte I found that the Civil Guard (Spain's special armed forces) were in our offices, and they had already taken Pello's computer and mine (I was the editor at the time); they had also taken thousands of printed photographs, CDs and other types of documents. Later on they also arrested Inma Gomila, our workmate and the former manager of Egunkaria.
They closed down the only newspaper published in Basque, trampled on the right to a free press, arrested 18 people, of whom some they tortured, sent them to prison, made 150 people unemployed, forced people to spend a fortune on legal costs… and seven years later everybody was absolved: The Spanish National Court found out that Egunkaria had not been at ETA's command.
The official reaction to the whole operation was no joke, it was no mere sign of an authoritarian state but, rather, evidence of an entire legal system. The vast majority of Basques, however, saw things in a different way: the state had attacked Basque culture in a clear and savage manner.
No excuses have been offered, no reparations have been made, no damages paid… the state's impunity is all that has remained. Why does the state which destroyed it all not have to build it all again? The only thing that can be built on top of such humiliation is imposition. A whole people's response and the image of solidarity remain on the other side of memory, along with the strength to rebuild the project of publishing in Basque.
Last week I was struck by the explanation which Imanol Olabarria gave in ARGIA of the events in Gasteiz on 3rd March, 1976, which the Franco police killed five workers and wounded hundreds. Being held under arrest in Madrid, he asked his lawyer what the charges were; the answer was "Sedition, in other words, working against the security of the state".
Defending workers' rights on the streets of Gasteiz is attacking the state. For current Spanish judges, Josep Lluis Trapero, the head of the Catalonian police, not to send agents out to beat people up was also sedition. The Spanish security forces complied with Spanish law by hitting citizens. Organising a referendum, too, is a serious crime of rebellion, just as publishing a newspaper in Basque was terrorism.
Looking at Spain, I see something hard and terrible when the 15th anniversary of the closure of Egunkaria is mixed up with current events: in line with the fascist rising of 1936, Spain is clearly going backwards. Looking at our land, a reflection connected with the closure of a Basque-language medium comes to mind: Basque media are in the strongest position they have ever been in. And that, in itself, is a lot.
Informazio askea lantzen dugu ARGIAn, langileok gara proiektuaren jabeak eta gure informazioen atzean ez duzu sekula multinazionalik, bankurik edo alderdi politikorik topatuko. Gure ustez, burujabetza guztien oinarrian dago informazio burujabetza, ezagutzen dugunaren gainean pentsatzen eta erabakitzen dugu. Horregatik diogu kazetaritza independentea dela demokraziaren oinarrietako bat.
Aldizkaria paperean etxean edo e-postan PDFan jaso nahi duzu? Pozik hartuko zaitugu ARGIAko komunitatean. ARGIAkoa izateko, nahi eta ahal duzun ekarpena egin dezakezu, eta bueltan egoki ikusten duzuna eskatu. Indartu dezagun indartzen gaituena!
During the festivities on 8th September people in favour of the discriminatory Alarde parade cruelly persecuted the women and men taking part in the equal rights group.
During the festivities held in this town on the Basque coast the tradition, for three centuries, has been to rip the necks from hanging geese. This year more rubber than real geese have been used.
After the annual festivities in Bilbao (Bizkaia, Basque Country), a municipal policeman fined a man dismantling stands used during the celebrations. Twice. One of the fines was for speaking in Basque, which was "a lack of respect towards the agent".
Begoña Zabala (Algorta, Basque Country, 1950) reached Iruñea in 1977 and was a first-hand witness of the police attack in the bullring and outside it. She is a lawyer by profession, a member of the committee for establishing what took place, and she has worked on the legal side of the matter. She took a very active part in the feminist movement in the 1970's, and has just published the book Feminismo, Transición y Sanfermines del 78 ('Feminism,... [+]
"I wouldn't offer somebody who's been arrested a coffee", former Spanish Civil Guard Manuel Pastrana said ironically during an interview on Catalan TV3 station, making an open case for the use of torture.
At a press conference held shortly before the 6th of July, work carried out throughout the year has been appraised by feminists and other social stakeholders in Iruñea (Upper Navarre), and they have noted that several declarations made over recent days about San Fermin have made that easier, while others have made it more difficult.
A Spanish court in Navarre (Basque Country) sentenced five men to nine years in prison for gang raping a teenage girl in 2016 in Iruñea, during the world-known Sanfermin celebration. Now they will be able to leave prison, after a controversial judicial decision. The bail of 6,000 euros imposed by the judge has generated outrage among the Basques.
Wednesday 13th June, Altsasu. Banners saying "Leave Altsasu Alone" decorate the balconies in the town. You can feel the pain, but no grief or resignation. To the contrary: the town's solidarity and strength is palpable. There are three or four locals having their afternoon coffee at Koxka Bar. 606 days have gone by since the brawl which took place there between some young locals and two Civil Guards and their sentimental partners. That is where it all started, on a market... [+]
Gure Esku Dago ('It's in Our Hands', a platform in favour of the right to decide) needed 100,000 people to form a human chain linking Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz. According to the organizers, 175,000 people came together to connect the three Basque cities.
"Damages, public disorder and threats" and "attacking authority" are the crimes which the Spanish National Court has charged eight young Basques with.