For a long time, while the invasive influences of Christian life surrounded the Basques, the indigenous Euskera-speaking people of their region survived (with their culture intact); they only became Christian during the period of the Reconquista when the infidel Muslims were driven out of Spain.

Cut to ten bombs going off in the Madrid subway system, from Atocha all the way to Santa Eugenia. The big question on everyone’s lips, from Amy Goodman to Reuters to the people getting ready to vote in the upcoming Spanish elections, is whether the minimum of 192 dead and 1200 injured (some of whom, to take a look at their disfigurement and trauma, might as well be dead) are the victims of the ETA, Arabs or both.

Once again, nothing but the kind of superficial analyses that we got post-9/11, post-Lockerbie and post-Shock ‘N Awe. Shucks, just can’t figure out what these people want. We gave ’em the right to pick their own textbooks in the schools…from a list of ours. Apparently, we’re on very shaky ground even trying to pinpoint who “these people” are, delimiting investigations to the A, B or C noted above. Typically, someone blows themselves up on an Israeli bus, and –damn!– we’ve got the whole story in our laptops before you can say “genocide” or “abominations” or “hegemony.” All awful, but nothing so complicated that we can’t draw the parameters overnight.

Our “uncompromising” efforts to crush the so-called Osama-led terrorism –their apparent success– should not fool anyone. Please. Last year the ETA was responsible for the deaths of only three innocent bystanders in Spain, the lowest total in thirty years. And all sorts of claims had been made by Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s would-be successor, respecting the “progress” that his party has made on behalf of national security. Until the previous record of 21 ETA kills (for a single act) was passed, that is. To give you a perspective, that would be like settling into a false sense of security with Bush’s reassurances, and then getting hit with a NYC disaster claiming about 27,000 lives next Wednesday.

Ah! It’s oh so simple. All very comprehensilbe with a sound bite. Let’s let the reprehensibility chew their heads off! Let’s not encourage thinking.

To those who would take this next round of opportunity to address the question of why any of these people hate any of these other people, I ask that we extrapolate on the Basque “Garean gareana legez.” “Let us be what we are.”