From my window, I can see a news helicopter flying over the Plaza de Independencia, where a rally will begin in a few minutes, at 7 p.m., to express Spain's condemnation to the most recent killing by Basque separatist terrorists. Those attending will spend five minutes in silence to show respect and solidarity with the terrorists' victims, now 835 people over four decades. I probably should be there because I would actually be silent.
Not everyone will be, sadly. A similar rally was held last night in front of Madrid's City Hall, and the silence was broken by insults, particularly against Socialist Party politicians -- "Socialists are terrorists!" -- but also against Popular Party politicians who united with them against terrorism. The Association for Victims of Terrorism (AVT) shrieked while others tried to honor the victims of terrorism with their silence.
For the most part the AVT members are older people, especially retirees, and followers of a viciously right-wing commentator on the Catholic Bishops' radio network. They also shouted "Faggot!" at a gay Socialist Party alderman, and, although the vice-mayor accompanied him to his car after the rally, this didn't protect him from further insults and even some shoving.
As you may know, on Saturday, Basque terrorists killed a Spanish Civil Guard agent in France and put a bullet in the brain of his partner, who is still hospitalized in critical condition. The agents were part of a large-scale police operation to find and arrest members of the Basque separatist terrorist network.
The terrorists believe that the Basques, an ancient ethnic group in northern Spain and southern France, are racially superior to Spaniards and should have their own independent ethnically-cleaned country. I have heard Basque terrorist bombs explode in Madrid from where I am sitting now, and in my daily activities I often pass locations where they killed people. But the police effort against them seems to be slowly paying off, and the death toll has fallen steadily. Some political viewpoints, though, cannot accept a successful fight against terrorism led by politicians they hate.
And so politics in Spain keeps getting meaner and noisier. The rally is about to begin with the slogan, "For freedom, for the defeat of Basque terrorists." Join me in five minutes of silence to honor the victims of terrorism in Spain and around the globe. We can argue over politics later, maybe even civilly.