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Speaking in very good English to the Potomac Institute, Spanish Ambassador to Washington Javier Ruperez analyzed the Basque problem and defended the Spanish government´s policies. He denounced ETA terrorism, saying that the government would never give in to it. He became tense as he spoke, which was natural, since he himself had been kidnapped..
In his analysis be omitted a key element, namely that young men of limited intelligence who think they have a grievance are prompt to resort to violence is they have arms and explosives. They enjoy violence. It is a universal phenomenon. In Colombia young guerrillas blow up power pylons, adding to the difficulties ordinary people face.
In Spain, the land of bullfights and soccer, it takes various vicarious forms, especially on the east coast. In one small town there is a festival in which young throw men a goat from a church tower, despite the protests of the priest and the goat. In Elche there is a festival in which young men throw fire crackers at each other; a number were seriously wounded this year. In Valencia on one happy day of the year, a crowd of them bombard each other withe tomatoes until they are all blood-red. A waste of good tomatoes, but what fun!
In the Basque provinces there are submerged memories of the Carlist wars and the Civil War, which pitted them against Castile. The Carlists were Catholics, but the ETA gangs are just vandals with no regard for ordinary people. Their favorite activity is burning busses, which ordinary people depend on my their activities, including work.
As stated above, the problem is worldwide. Witness the boys happily and proudly toting guns, the symbol of power, in Africa and parts of Asia. Three solutions must be imposed. One is the control of the arms trade which makes it possible for them to get into the hands of young men. The second is to guard supplies of arms and explosives to prevent theft, which is the way ETA arms itself. The third is to fight the cult of violence in entertainment, which young people try to emulate. Some WAISers may have been taken aback by my denunciation of the entertainment industry headed by Hollywood., but there is ample proof of its nefarious impact on xhildren. We need psychological studies of the roots on violence in young men.
Ronald Hilton - 8/27/00