Farewell beloved mum 05/06/2014

In black, sitting in the middle, Lolita Mondragon, next to her dressed in black too, my grandmother Nieves Sanchez. This photo was taken by the nazi photographer Erich Andress when the facist troops entered Elgoibar and it was recuperated from the Berlin archive by the historical Memory group Elgoibar 1936.

It has always been for me food for thought the desire in which our unforgettable Ion Idigoras* referred himself as Juanita Gerrikabeitia’s son. Like that I sincerely do believe he wanted to pay tribute to his Mum and letting know that 99% of the applause, praise and gratitude claimed by our people was in fact more appropriately addressed to his mum and family than him. Rather than saying that behind every assume great man there is a great woman, I’m sure that Ion, always memorable for me, would prefer saying that we’d rather state that those who kindly consider us activists and people worthy of some admiration don’t really know us and anyway what is certain is that behind every suppose great man there is always an astonishing woman and family.

That’s why I would like to address you as Lolita Mondragón’s son, my mother. Despite my sorrow, I would like to share an anecdote of her life that I will never forget: when she was barely four or five, she went with her mum (my grandma Nieves) to the prison Penal del Dueso where my uncle Fidel was incarcerated after being captured by the fascist troops. And it’s obvious that I’m speaking of the fascist troops because I’m referring about an anecdote that took place in 1940s, and nowadays it’s for sure they wouldn’t call them like this but they would rather call them “democrats of all life”. My mum always remembered that when she entered the prison they warned them that they could only speak Spanish and that she saw all the prisoners lying on the floor and stacked. When my Grandma in tears got closer to her son, my mum always remembered that she asked him: “ Are you my brother?”And she gave him a kiss.
Today, nearly 80 years after, I was able to say goodbye to my Ama during a one-hour visit at Mendaro hospital. It was tough, sad/moving, but also unforgettable. We hugged and kissed each other like we never did…. we could only define the atmosphere like Kant would: Beautiful and sublime… and I even thought I saw in the room butterflies that accompanied García Márquez, another great personage, beyond Macondo.

Today, 80 years after visiting her anarchist-communist brother in the Dueso prison, being captive in Logroño my mum got to say goodbye to me, meanwhile Rafa Diez and Isma Arrieta  are still wandering around that bloody jail in Cantabria and hundreds of other comrades  are doing so in many other prisons of the Spanish and French states.
Today I won’t deny it, I feel pain, rage and helplessness, today, it would be easy and humanly understandable to indulge in resentment, hatred and  feeling of injustice.. But all the pain of the world itself will not obscure my mind .

No, for in this too we are and should be different … as the Che said, that the true revolutionary is guided by agreat feeling of love for  people. And, while trying to be a revolutionary apprentice, I received only my mother’s love that I will never stop thinking about while I live.

But also for her and all the parents (like those of Xabier, Garratz, Txoritxu, Santi, Gari,…) who died without seeing their children free in a freed Basque Country, we will plant near their ashes a cherry tree in the Basque soil. Because in spite of everything, it’s already the time of the cherries( “le temps des cerises”). I owe it to Lolita Mondragón… to who I owe my life.. That’s why next year the cherry trees will be redder in the Basque Country.
Thank you Ama Eskerrik asko Ama Agur Ama maitia

*Jon Indigoras was a long standing leader and spokesperson of Herri Batasuna

That our sons and daughters be like Txomin Ziluaga 04/12/2012

I want to bring up a reflection that Comandante Fidel Castro proposed on the murder of Che Guevara:

If we ask ourselves how we want our children to be, we will answer: we want them to be like Che. I bring up this quote because, with due respect to the differences, a while ago a person and a militant from whom I learned a lot has left us.

I never heard him raise his voice in debates, he never made explicit in public his criticisms in public if it would hurt the Abertzale Left, he was always on the front line, he was always there when I and we needed him, he was a communist militant, he was a great Abertzale, he was one of those who always reminded me (for example when he introduced me to the waitresses of the Batzoki in Ibarrangelu) that I should never forget that the bases of the PNV are made up of the popular classes… I don’t say that he was perfect, my wife always defined him as a great gentleman… and for me an example and a great teacher so you’ll allow me to tell you if you ask how I want the militants of Sortu to be I’ll tell you: I want them to be like Txomin Ziluaga, like so many others who have preceded us and have left us in this battle for freedom and socialism.

Thank you very much,
Eskerrik asko!

*EAJ: Basque acronym for PNV, Basque Nationalist Party

The journey is being long 01/02/2014

They have woken up early, cold can be felt.
Good morning darling, says her mum with a loving look.
She has taken breakfast slowly, cleaned her face, dressed up…
Meanwhile her mum has taken the blue and white bag bought in the shop and then they have left the house turning the key three times.
They have arrived to the square without escaping the nets of dreams.
Holding her mum’s hand she listens the good mornings shared by those that take the same bus every week. Kids don’t have the energy for such things.
The journey is too long, heavy, tiring— and mum tries to put the kid to sleep, and she makes it… but only after a few kilometres, she opens her eyes and asks: How far yet mum? … a little yet darling… sleep a little bit. The same question and same answer will be heard a number of times during the journey.
They have finally arrived. From the cold of the Basque Country to the light and warm of Al-Andalus… They have quickly entered the visit, she has shown dad the last drawing made on the school, and told him, proudly that she takes care of mum, and that she is telling him that she behaves, when she has looked his dad on the eyes and asked. When are you coming home dad?
And the prison officer has entered the room and said “visit is over” and when listening they have given the last kisses, the last smiles… I love you, says the prisoner on the last instant… once in the street again, they have gone to the bus, everyone has come out of the short visit happy, and sad, full of energy… and tired… on the way back we will listen again, how far yet? How much time yet?… and while thinking on the visit a smile will come to her lips.

Arkaitz Bellon 2014/07/01

When the news of your death struck us
I’m sure all of us in prison thought the same:
it could have been me, it could have been any of us!
And we made your parents, friend and beloved ours.
And now, when your body goes amongst ikurrinas
when I saw on TV, the violent silence of people has touched me…
And I have imagined the leaders of the Abertzale Left repeating
The words said by Palmiro Togliatti when the secretary general of the Italian Communist Party
was close to death after an attack on him, with love, with Responsibility! Tell our people to stay calm
When I have switched off the TV, I’ve listenned to ALBINONI’s addagio in your honour, I’ve remembered
something a friend told me sometime ago: The Basque Country is a Country condemned to death!
And as I did then, with more reason I want to tell you: No!
The Basque Country is a Country, a people, that lost its fear of death long ago..
which loves live…
as you do, as we do…

Justice is equal for everyone 02/08/2014

When Basque prisoner Arkaitz Bellon died*, he barely had a few months left to complete the whole of his sentence of 15 years for the alleged burning of a bus in Donostia. From that day I began to select some of the teletext of “Tele 5” regarding news items from legal rulings in the Spanish state. These are only a few of them:
03/03/2014 – sentenced to 12 years in prison for STONING TO DEATH a friend in Nijar (Almeria).
05/03/2014 – sentenced to 3 years in prison for ATTACKING his girlfriend in Cantabria.
13/03/2014 – sentenced to 4 years in prison for sexually abusing a 6 year-old girl in Linares (Jaen).
10/03/2014 – sentenced to 4 years in prison a security guard in Macarena (Seville) for trying to rape a companion.
15/04/2014 – the Supreme Court sentences someone to 9 years in prison for trying to KILL his girlfriend with electric shocks.
18/05/2014 – sentenced to 12 years in prison for stabbing to DEATH a man in Seville.
Pedro Cuevas spent 4 years in prison of the 17 that he was sentenced for KILLING Guillem Agulló (a leftwing youngster killed by a recognised extreme right fascist in Valencia) .

And in this way we can make a never ending list… and so in Seville stabbing someone to death is paid with 12 years in prison and burning a bus in Donostia it’s 15 years (of COMPLETE fulfilment).
Justice is equal for everyone, they say. These are the facts, you can make your own conclusions.

*Arkaitz Bellon, a 36 year-old Basque prisoner died in jail a few months before his release. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for being accused of burning a local bus.