“For me, on October 20, 2011 a different life began.” “On October 20, 2011 a new life opens for me.” The first sentence is from the former PSOE deputy Eduardo Madina and, the second, from the former leader of the PP of Gipuzkoa Borja Sémper. The two have tried to commemorate this Thursday the tenth anniversary of the end of the ETA violence that will take place on the 20th by presenting their joint book in Madrid All futures lost. Conversations about the end of ETA (Plaza & Janés, 2021).
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During the discussion, both wanted to value that date of the end of the violence of the terrorist gang, defining it as a “happy” moment. “I can divide my life, fragment it, since October 20, 2011,” explained Madina. “I was able to live my life from that day on. For me it was a happy day. I could not help feeling enormous happiness. Today it is easy to imagine a Euskadi without ETA but then it was not so easy,” he assured.
“I also divide it into two,” added Sémper, following a line, within the conversation moderated by journalist Carlos Alsina. “We knew that this time was the final one. I had lived in a context in which violence was part of the urban environment. Life was conditioned by a totalitarian idea that stained everything. The day ETA leaves violence a new one opens. life, unpredictable, wonderfully unknown. How could it not be happy, “he concluded.
Madina wanted to clarify that the former Interior Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, “was right when he said that ETA could have continued killing” after 2011. And with regard to social support for the terrorist gang, the socialist wanted to differentiate several stages by affirming : “The same people who toasted the day of Carrero Blanco’s murder were the ones who mourned the death of Miguel Ángel Blanco.” However, he has claimed not to understand “the indifference” on the part of Basque society in the face of violence.
Sémper, for his part, has wanted to value the anti-terrorist pact signed by PSOE and PP. “We were capable of the greatest of greatness by uniting differently to attack one of the main problems that existed in Spain,” he concluded.
The book that they have jointly prepared reproduces the conversation between Madina and Sémper ten years after ETA left the violence in a centenary village in Aretxabaleta, near Mondragón, with the collaboration of the Basque journalist Lourdes Pérez. Their commitment made them targets of the terrorist gang from a very young age. Both lived through the hardest years of terrorism on the front line and from different political formations. And they never considered quitting, despite the cost to their lives.
“A shitty time” in the Basque Country threatened by ETA
Madina has assured that the work aims to be “a contribution to memory at a time when there is a certain duel between forgetting and memory.” “It is wonderful to talk to the socialists”, added, with irony, Sémper, who explained that during that conversation with Madina both were “discovering things about one and the other” and shared ideas such as “when assessing respect for human dignity “. “The experience was intense”, has riveted.
The former socialist leader has also recognized that after the attack he suffered in 2002 he lived “a shitty time” for fear of being the target of terrorists again. “To choose well was to be in the most dangerous place. We chose well but we had a bad time,” he acknowledged. Semper has added that he “was not able to cope well” to take an escort or have those related to ETA paint the door of his house. “Today it seems that there is a lot offended, a lot of aggressiveness in the street, can we talk about what is really offensive and what it is to be pissed off?”
In the presentation, the two authors have been supported by the former President of the Government Felipe González, the President of Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García-Page, the former Vice President of the Government Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the PP spokesperson in Congress, Cuca Gamarra , that of the Senate, Javier Maroto, former socialist leaders such as Ramón Jáuregui and Elena Valenciano, former officials of the PP such as José Luis Ayllón or Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, or the spokesperson for Citizens in the Lower House, Edmundo Bal, among other political figures.