Madrid Airport Bombing and Alleged Basque ETA Involvement
The world looks with shock and dismay at the senseless bombing of an airport parking building in Madrid on December 30, 2006 and the tragic loss of life. Anonymous phone calls have claimed responsibility on behalf of the Basque separatist party, the ETA. Let us hope this is not the case.
Why say “let us hope this is not the case”? The answer is that, while such violence is always to condemned, it is especially pointless if motivated by a wish to see an independent Basque country.
A song goes, “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss.” This means: No matter who runs the government, who the “boss” is, it will amount to the same thing. You can change the names of the leaders, but a government will still be a bad government.
Suppose the Basque people (the majority of whom we suppose to be good, sensible, and decent, as opposed to a small group of disaffected terrorists living in an imaginary world of the past) were to obtain an independent homeland? At first there would be euphoria. But then, within a short time, here’s what would happen:
1. A cadre of professional politicians, motivated by greed and desire for power, would monopolize the government.
2. The government would descend into a primitive two-party structure consisting of some vaguely differentiated “liberals” (e.g., socialists) and “conservatives.” The two parties would alternate in power, blaming the other one for all the problems but accomplishing nothing themselves.
3. Taxes would be oppressive.
4. Here’s the especially absurd and ironic part: how long before the “Basque homeland” would be petitioning to join the EU?
The problems that humanity faces in the 21st century are of a completely different order than in ages past. They do not have, strictly speaking, political or governmental solutions (except, perhaps, a radical revisioning of what governments are and a reduction of their influence in general).
Use common sense. Do you have a goal, or are you just a bunch of thugs looking for a convenient excuse to commit violence?
If the faction that committed this violence represents a minority of the ETA, then the ETA should speak up and disavow this faction.
John Uebersax PhD
January 4, 2006