Prison’s grass-flowers 01/11/2014

We have found them in many prison’s courtyards, fighting against concrete and standing up looking for some sun. I wouldn’t say they are flowers, neither normal grass, truth be told, speaking about their beauty would take us to Kant’s debate about beauty.

When the sun shines strongly, there is always someone ready to water them, to quench their life thirst. Many times, don’t ask me why, it is Arab prisoners who water these grass-flowers, maybe due to the special relations they have with water…

On those occasions, I’m sure, the grass-flowers are grateful, with their chlorophyll hearts, to the prisoners, and as they are in the courtyard for a long time they never ask the prisoner why he or she is in here, to show their gratitude.

Sometimes when running on the courtyard I go by them, I believe they tell me, in the special language this grass-flowers have developed, LIFE AND FREEDOM IS ONE!

And maybe that is te reason having flowers or grass-flowers is forbidden in every prison.
Arnaldo Otegi

Colours are banned in prison 02/12/2014

And it is for that that they have informed me that correspondence can only be sent on white paper. It seems that the reason is a technical-logistical one: letters written on coloured paper are very difficult to photocopy and read. (sic)

So when they communicated it to me it reminded me of a delicious story that the author Eduardo Galeano wrote in 1976 and I think it deserves me to share it with you. The title of the story (based on true events) is titled “Forbidden birds” and it says this:

“The Uruguayan political prisoners may not talk without permission, or whistle, smile, sing, walk fast, or greet other prisoners; nor may they make or receive drawings of pregnant women, couples, butterflies, stars or birds. One Sunday, Didasko Pérez, schoolteacher, tortured and jailed for “having ideological ideas,” is visited by his daughter Milay, aged five. She brings him a drawing of birds. The guards destroy it at the entrance of the jail.

On the following Sunday, Milay brings him a drawing of trees. Trees are not forbidden, and the drawings get through. Didasko praises her work and asks about the colored circles scattered in the treetops, many small circles half-hidden among the branches:

“Are they oranges? What fruit is it?”

The child puts her fingers to her mouth: “Ssssshhh.” And she whispers in his ear:

“Silly. Don’t you see they’re eyes? They’re the eyes of the birds that I’ve smuggled in for you”

For that I have advised my friends that although my pages are white they carry all the colours of the rainbow hidden in them (above all red, to be truthful)… because they don’t know… white is nothing but the sum of all colours.

Arnaldo Otegi. Logroño Prison.

Otegi’s letter sent in the name of all five convicted in the “Bateragune Case” 2011/09/24

Before beginning, we’d like to express our thanks to all of those who today, and throughout the past weeks, have shown their support and solidarity. With your permission we would like to share that solidarity with all Basque political prisoners and with revolutionaries around the world who are criminalized for their activist commitment.
With the arrests two years ago they tried to impede that the change of strategy in the Basque Left was done in a cohesive and orderly fashion. Today with this harsh sentence they are only have one objective: trying to impede in the coming weeks and months that we take steps, in consonance with new strategy we’ve adopted, secures the new scenario in Euskal Herria in a definitive and irreversible way. They couldn’t stop the former and we won’t let them stop the latter.
We had the occasion to transmit to you from the cells of the National Court that we desired to offer an olive branch to those who judged us and sentenced us. We weren’t allowed to and that fact is a highly significant metaphor for the objective they seek: to let the olive branch fall, to in this way go back to scenes of violent confrontation and again to give them their excuses which hide their absolute political weakness and their reactionary and authoritarian character, that leaves the Basque Country with no alternative other than economic crisis, denial of our rights and the most cruel repression.
Yes. We have to say it loud and clear, powerful forces still exist which are installed in different sectors of the state that manage an agenda whose only objective is to impede peace in Euskal Herria.
The agents who manage this agenda of lies and repression are trying on this occasion, and we want them to know that we are aware of it, to keep the new steps towards the definitive and irreversible character of the democratic process that has opened in Euskal Herria from happening.

They will not succeed!
Because, Mr. Lopez, Ares, Rubalcaba*… if peace doesn’t come to Euskal Herria at the hands of an inexistent Spanish State of Law, then it will come at the hands of those who support the right to state for the Basque people.
For that we make a call for all of those who are in favour of a Basque democratic process: strengthen the path taken and abide by the decisions and commitments that we’ve acquired (with our own people and with the international community). Because the best response is to strengthen the path that we’ve chosen.

Two things to close with; first, we want our heartfelt congratulations to reach the Palestinian people for the initiative carried out in a unilateral way before the United Nations; we are with you… Long live the Palestinian people!
Second, while we wrote this letter we had passed through the prison at Burgos and many were the memories that came to mind: the Trial of Burgos (a kiss Itziar, Txutxo, Julen, a big hug Jokin!)* Also from this prison on September 27, 1975, they took Angel Otaegi out to be shot (together with Txiki and three members of the FRAP)*, so many struggles, so much suffering… but now we are on the right path and never forget what the Bertsolari said in Elgoibar: smiling is another way of baring your teeth!

*Lopez, Arez Rubalcaba: key members of the Spanish Socialist Party during the 2006 peace process.* In December 1970, several members of ETA were condemned to death in the Proceso de Burgos (“Burgos Trial”), but international pressure resulted in their sentences being commuted (a process which, however, had by that time already been applied to some other members of ETA). on 27 September 1975 Franco executed the members of the armed organisation ETA Jon Paredes Manot (Txiki) and Angel Otaegi Etxebarria as well as 3 members of a Spanish marxist group called FRAP.

The enemies of peace will not win in the Basque Country 10/05/2012

In light of the sentences that have come out these days (that of the Constitutional Court about the Parot Doctrine and our own case) we want to send some reflections that it is convenient not to forget at the time of faithfully analyze the current political situation that is occurring in our ancient Basque Country.

a) We transmit, in the first place, in front of all the patter that some members of of political class are lavishing these days the about the independence of the Judicial Power, the Rule of Law… (the judicial independence that the OCDE puts in 64th place Iran and Egypt)… we give to you a true piece of information: weeks ago, more than a month, our sources of information (including even some of those who informed us of March 11th) have passed on to us with total precision what was going to be the criteria of the sentence about the Parot Doctrine… and what the sentence was going to be (including the date that it would be made public!) in what they have called the Bateragune Case. Fine, this verification brings us to definitively settle any shadow of doubt as far as each and every one of the “judicial” decisions that affect Independence obey exclusively only POLITICAL criteria.

b) In the second place, I want to remind you that I have insistently stated that an agenda exists managed by the enemies of PEACE that seeks, with an ever higher degree of cruelty and desperation at the same time to collapse, block, the neutralize and destroy Peace Process put in march by the Abertzale Left and all of the Sovereigntist Movement. So we settle any shadow of a doubt about what is the nature and the will of manage this agenda: to prevent that Peace and Democracy open a path in the Basque Country.
This is the objective of and those who manage this agenda are Mr. Rajoy, Mr. Rubalcaba and Mr. Basagoiti, the intelligence services… etc.

c) And many are asking, why oppose Peace? … the reason is simple, they don’t have an agenda for it, they were comfortably installed (making a political business and even economic) in the “antiterrorist” scheme that allowed them to avoid responsibilities, to hide their true antidemocratic nature and to cover up the weakness of their political positions. Today peace terrifies them… and for that they need to block the Process and do so where they still have a real possibility, in the prisons, in the repression…. They need, because they know that to overcome the phase of the consequences of the conflict immediately brings us to the phase of dialogue about the causes of it. And they don’t have an agenda or a credible alternative for this phase, they know that they can’t use democratic reasons to oppose the desires of the Basque People to be respected as a Nation, with the right to freely and democratically decide their future.

d) These repressive attitudes (which do nothing but add more suffering to dozens of Basque families) try in this occasion to reach at least two added objectives:
d.1) On the one hand to seek the rejection of independence, the generation of new frustrations, the loss of confidence in our possibilities, makng us believe that we aren’t capable of making them vary their position of strength… no believe for one second… the strength of this state just measured itself to the rhyme of an Argentinian Tango, while the EU and the USA look the other way.
d.2) Also, this time the state has sought to “neutralize” a possible candidate for the coming elections in the Basque Country. You’ll understand that for me it means an added honor to be a militant of the Abertzale Left in which the State believes that with my candidacy the independence movement will win the elections in the Basque Autonomous Community. Fine, now we know which candidates aren’t to the liking of the enemies of Peace… so we are preparing with delight the most refined democratic responses: for the first time in the history of the Independence Movement we will dispute the elections with high possibilities of achieving victory in the coming elections in the Basque Autonomous Community.

Finally, let us never forget that just as the disappearance of the armed  was an indispensible condition (like the electoral and institutional presence) for our new strategy… they won’t be sufficient without organization, without struggle, without disobedience, peaceful, yes, … but disobedience…, definitely a strategy capable of organizing a massive political challenge to the Enemies of Peace.

This is the difficult path that we have chosen, the sons and daughters of Guernica , and Amaiur, of Telesforo and la Pasionaria, of Santi and Josu, of Jon, of Fidel, of Che… Smile because we are going to fight!
Arnaldo Otegi (in name of the Bateragune Five)


*Historical places and references of the struggle for freedom
*Telesforo. Telesforo Monzon, Basque nationalist leader; Pasionaria (Dolores Ibarruri), Basque Communist leader during the Spanish civil war; Shanti Brouard and Josu Muguruza: Abertzale left leaders killed by death squads. Jon idigoras: Herri Batasuna spokesperson.

Prosopon person 01/03/2014

The etymological antecedents of the word “person” are found in Greek and Etruscan. In the Greek world the expression “person” (PROSOPON), made reference to the mask that ACTORS used to represent their roles in theatrical representations. After this meaning it was used to define members of human society.
Who hasn’t once heard someone say that in the end life is an authentic dance of masks?
There are many and varied… although also in this the Basque pro-independence activists have a limited offer. Normally we have always been assigned the mask of a prisoner.
But, and although they don’t believe it, for some time now in spite of everything we have drawn a large smile… because at the end of the day, the mask of sadness has already been taken by the enemies of Peace and Freedom.
Arnaldo Otegi, from the Logroño prison.prosopon