Picasso's "Guernica," an allegory of the destruction perpetrated by the Nazi Air Force on the Basque town of Gernika in 1937.
The word Euskara means "Basque language" in the Basque language. And anti-Euskarism is prejudice against or hostility toward Basques.
Once upon a time anti-Euskarism was characterized by violent physical and cultural repression of the Basque people. During the Spanish civil war, Euskal Herria, or the Basque country, was ruthlessly razed by Generalísimo Francisco Franco's National Movement, as well as his Nazi and Fascist allies. Particularly gruesome was the levelling of the town of Gernika by the German air force on 26 April 1937. Also, Basque prisoners suffered unspeakable torture in Franco's jails. And, once the Basques were defeated, the cultural persecution began. Euskara was not allowed in public, and any children who were caught talking in it at school were made to kiss the ground. Basque dances and music were forbidden as well.
Spain is a democracy now, but anti-Euskarism is by no means gone. Only, it now takes a subtler form. Basques are no longer attacked or tortured, and Euskara is taught at school. But the new anti-Euskarism consists of the notion that, of all the peoples in the world, the Basques, and only the Basques, have no right to a State of their own. While Europe has been creating statelets like crazy in the last decade, many of them less populated and less viable than the economically robust Euskal Herria, the European Union upholds the Spanish constitutional prohibition of a Basque state. Peoples around the world have been given an independent country -- the Slovaks, the Timorese, the Armenians, even the Jews, despite their frequent moaning that they're denied one. But not the Basques.
This goes hand in hand with their demonization. Granted, the fight for independence has been carried out by the Basques through in some cases objectionable means, such as ETA's terrorism. But, curiously, it attracts an attention from the media absolutely disproportionate to the real harm it causes. For instance, in all its history ETA has caused some 900 deaths. In the same period, the Lord's Resistance Army has killed tens of thousands in Uganda. However, when you search the New York Times for ETA you find some 6,000 stories, against some 1,500 much shorter ones in the case of the LRA.
The media's bias is evident if we consider that whenever ETA kills a Spanish politician it makes headlines all over the world. However, not a word was said about the Second Congo War, in which 5.5 million people died and the Pygmies were hunted down and eaten by both warring factions!
It is depressing just to compare the enormous amount of coverage devoted to Basque terrorism in relation to that dedicated to the African wars. And we’re talking about people who at most kill 2 or 3 Spaniards a year.
The world is obsessed with the Basques! Why so much prejudice? Why this wave of new anti-Euskarism?