Thursday, March 11, 2004
170 dead in Spain. Spain has 40 million people. The USA has 290 million. The number of dead in this one attack is roughly 40%, proportionately, the loss suffered by the United States on 9-11.
Basque is spoken by 2% of the Spanish population. The Basque people overwhelmingly reject the ETA terrorists; even pro-independence Basques are strongly opposed to the terrorism. There is no substantial Basque diaspora that supports the ETA against the wishes of the natives, as there is, for example, a substantial Irish diaspora that supports IRA terrorists (who are opposed by the overwhelming majority of Irish nationals). The Spanish government has, since Franco's death, repealed essentially all the repressive Franco-era rules designed to extirpate the Basque language; the Basques now have considerable autonomy in their territory and their language is an official language there. The Spanish government has also been actively trying to annihilate the ETA for decades.
Nonetheless, without overwhelming local support, without an international network of ethnic supporters, in the face of both accomodationist policy initiatives with respect to the issues that drive their substantive complaints and a determined campaign by the government to wipe out the group, the ETA has been able to inflict this kind of horrible damage on the Spanish people.
If that isn't a sobering thought in considering our own war on terrorism, I don't know what is.
My heart goes out to the good people of Spain.