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Basque History - Essay Example

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The conflict between the Basque people and the various governments in Spain over the last few centuries has been one of the most intransigent, and one of the most deeply passionate, in geopolitical history. The struggle of the Irish Republican Army against British occupation may be the only one in Western Europe that can be used to provide a parallel…
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Basque History
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Basque History

Download file to see previous pages... While the ETA did declare a unilateral cease-fire on March 22, 2006, on September 23, 2006, the organization announced that it would resume hostilities until the achievement of Basque independence (ETA).
To understand the sentiments at work in all three of these documents - particularly the harsh dichotomies of the Arana piece - it is good to have an understanding of the dynamics at work within the ETA. To people outside of the Basque region, and, in particular, outside of Spain, the mission of the ETA sounds just like one of many small revolutionary groups, agitating for its own few square miles of self-determination, if only to avoid the larger taxing entities in the country around it (Funes, p. 499). Each of these little splinter groups has its own manifesto that spouts idealistic words and phrases, its own shrill anthem that sounds to the modern person listening from abroad much like, quite frankly, the declarations that leapt from the American colonies to the government of Great Britain in the later days of the eighteenth century.
The modern chapter of the Basque story begins during the reign of Francisco Franco, and his attempts to drive the Basque nation off the very face of the planet. Because there had been Basque sympathizers with the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, Franco decided to eliminate any signs of Basque culture from the public consciousness. The Basque flag could not be displayed; Basque holidays could not be publicly celebrated; teaching the Basque language, or even speaking it in public, were forbidden; baptizing children who did not have Spanish surnames was proscribed (Sullivan, p. 88). This crackdown against non-Spanish cultures was not carried out throughout the country, however. While Guipuscoa and Biscay were also singled out for this attempted annihilation of local culture, because of their ostensible sympathies with the Republican cause, other territories were left alone. Because the regions of Alava and Navarre had been allied with Franco's faction during the Spanish Civil War, those regions were permitted to keep a reasonable degree of self-government (Clark 1984, pp. 82-84).
The results of this cultural attempt at extermination may have been predictable. Once the civil war ended, many Basques left the rural parts of Castile, Galicia, Extremadura, and Andalusia, which diluted the identity of those regions, in which only a percentage of the initial Basque population remained (Hamilton, p. 138).
The rest of the world, however, took notice of this repressive activity. Beginning with the excesses of the Franco era and ending with the transition in Spanish government to a democracy in 1975, the ETA received gestures of sympathy from around the globe. The peak of this support came in 1970, after the controversial "Burgos Trials," in which the Franco government showed its cruel and oppressive side to an international audience (Clark 1984, p. 128). The tide of international opinion, however, began to turn against the ETA as the 1970's progressed. In 1973, the ETA assassinated Franco's successor, Almirante Luis Carrero Blanco, and became increasingly radical after Spain became a democracy. The kidnapping and assassination of Miguel Angel ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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