Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Update)

Veteran Basque activist optimistic on Tamil Eelam struggle

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 June 2016, 21:26 GMT]
The struggle for Tamil Eelam spearheaded by Tamil Tigers was an alternative project for a lot of progressive people around the world. “Many people looked upon it as a hope against the capitalist scheme we have everywhere,” said Gontzal Martinez de la Hidalga, a veteran Basque activist. The Basque, subjected to State oppression in Spain, demonstrated in a regional poll this week that they want to be citizens of a sovereign and independent Basque Country. Mr Gontzal, who has worked alongside the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) held in Bremen, which concluded that the Sri Lankan State was guilty of genocide against the nation of Eezham Tamils and that the USA and UK were complicit in the genocidal process, was optimistic about the Tamil Eelam struggle and was promoting Eezham Tamils to interact more with the Latin American people and with other stateless nations in the world.

The Basque people have been exemplary in linking their solidarity movement with other oppressed nations and with the Spanish-speaking alternative world, particularly in Latin America.

“Traditionally, Latin Americans were in the Non-Aligned Movement and [the State of ] Sri Lanka enjoyed a big weight there. A lot of Latin American countries have mistaken the question to think that non-intervention in Sri Lanka is an anti-imperialist stand,” Gontzal explained.

“[Backing] non-intervention in a genocide promoted by the imperial powers is to support Imperialism,” he said.

Gontzal is also a member of Komite Internazionalistak and he describes himself as an internationalist activist.

Despite a permanent ceasefire declared by the ETA, the armed movement in the Basque country, the State of Spain is not prepared for genuine negotiations and continues the oppression, Gontzal said.

However, there are also increasing solidarity emerging from sections of populations in Spain favouring the cause of the Basque people, he said adding that political struggle has gained significance nowadays.

Gontzal said that the Basque people are not recognized as a nation by the centralized French and Spanish States that are occupying their homeland.

The Basque remains the oppressed nation in Europe with the highest amount of political prisoners at present.

Noting that the Kurdish and Palestinian struggles have been recognized world over, whilst the Eelam Tamil liberation struggle as well as the genocide committed against it has been silenced, the Basque activist was optimistic that Eezham Tamils with the help of solidarity movements of oppressed nations will be able to shape their struggle gaining global focus with similar effect of the Kurdish and Palestinian questions in the future.

The Basque, who are a non Indo-European language speking nation, have for centuries been struggling to maintain their unique language, identity and they have fought for their national and political rights amidst oppression from the Spanish and French States.

The Basque politically mobilized their nationalist movement during the 20th century with a strong focus on resisting external forces that are opposed to the sovereignty of their land and the continued deprival of international acceptance to their language.

Nowadays, they continue their struggle defending their sovereignty and the right for self-determination orientating their struggle also against the capitalist globalization.

The Basque people, during the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco, opposed the dictatorship consistently.

Gontzal was interviewed for TamilNe by Norway-based Eezham Tamil anthropology academic Athithan Jayapalan.

The interview was recorded in Ecuador during the recent trip organised by the People's Tribunal on Sri Lanka (PTSL) to Latin America

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External Links:
Sputnik International : Spain’s Basque Country Moves Closer to Independence Referendum
PPT: Peoples Tribunal on Sri Lanka, Dublin



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