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Borja de Aristegui Arroyo

The End of Basque Terror?

Ever since the Basque terrorist separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (more commonly known as ETA) was founded in the late 1950s, it has assassinated over 800 people in Spain. ETA’s goal is to achieve the independence of the Basque provinces in Spain, as well as the Spanish province of Navarra and French Basque country. Today, its power and operational capabilities have dramatically decreased, mainly due to the combined law enforcement efforts of Spain, France, and, to a lesser extent, Portugal.Earlier this year, the terrorist group called for a permanent ceasefire. Some see this gesture as a beacon of hope: the beginning of the end for the oldest operating terrorist group in Europe. But is it really?The terrorist group started its long assassination record during the years of the Franco fascist dictatorship (1939-75), demanding more autonomy for the Basque country from the central government. Targeting civil servants, civilians, and military personnel alike (including several attempts on the lives of my own grandfather and, later, father), the terrorist organization managed to create an atmosphere of chaos and fear throughout the country.Although in recent years their killings have dramatically decreased, it has been due to the combined efforts of the police forces of Spain and France — notdue to a voluntary stop to the assassinations on the part of ETA. The end of the Basque terrorist group has been a priority of governments of all colors since the installation of democracy. That unity of purpose is what has driven ETA to desperation, and thus the group has — for the third time — been forced to call for a ceasefire.Unfortunately this is not the first time that the terrorist organization has called for a ceasefire as a ruse to buy time and rearm. Several times before ETA has tried this and several times before has the… Read More

Centuries of Friendship, but Still Persecution

MONTREAL – The Quran, despite the many misconceptions and prejudices we might have in the West, is a book that preaches peace, tolerance and acceptance. In this book, we read how Muslims are told not just to tolerate, but also to accept and to embrace Jews and Christians since they too are believers in Allah. In the Quran Christians and Jews are referred to as “People of the Book” and as such they should be respected and accepted for they are also believers. According to the Quran, the “People of the Book” have just misinterpreted the message of God. The Quran and thus Islam teach that Jesus is one of many prophets sent by God to spread His message.  The great majority of Muslims have great respect and thus acceptance of the Christian and Jewish minorities that exist in all Muslim countries.All through history one can find many examples of tolerance and coexistence between the three major monotheistic religions in the world. During the roughly 800 years of Muslim rule in medieval Spain, the central city of Toledo exemplified this coexistence, and has become today a symbol of religious acceptance and tolerance. In Toledo, Christians and Jews lived peacefully amongst the Muslim majority worshiping God in their own rites. It is true that to follow their own religions, non-Muslims had to pay a tax to the Muslim government, but the fact is that for centuries the followers of the three major monotheistic religions lived in peace and in acceptance of one another.To this day one can find Christian minorities that reside peacefully amongst the Muslim majority in all countries in the Middle East. These Christians, are ethnically and culturally Arab, and have been for centuries of great value to the societies to which they belonged.  Maronites and Orthodoxes in Lebanon,… Read More