As a child, I grew up watching my mother leaning out of the window every day, anxiously waiting, transistor in hand in case any tragic news broke, the arrival of the car that brought my father from the barracks. Thank God, he was never attacked, but many wives and many mothers who lived with the same daily grief for years did not have such luck and lost a loved one, carried away by bloodthirsty hands.
Live with an escort always look under the car before drivingConstantly changing schedules and routes home or to work and back became mandatory customs for thousands of Spaniards who felt like targets of terrorists. Those of us who have experienced this do not forget about it, and we have a moral obligation to tell young people about it in its entirety so that they know how to appreciate the value of the freedom they enjoy today.
In 43 years, the terrorist group ETA has carried out 3,600 attacks, killed 855 people, injured 2,632 people and left more than 7,000 victims. The GRAPO terrorists, who killed 93 people, and, more recently, Islamic terrorism are sides of the same coin, the terror experienced by everyone, without exception, in every corner of Spain. We will always remember that, although numbers are necessary, behind their coldness, somehow truncated lives are hidden.
The killers stop at nothing, they kill men, women, youth, children, soldiers, police officers, government officials, taxi drivers, housewives, students, construction workers … the only reason to be spanish We were hit in the back of the head, point-blank machine guns, kidnappings, extortion, car bombings, bombs in supermarkets, in the Civil Guard barracks, when passing buses and vans, at airports and train stations.
The legacy of terrorists is reduced to death, widowhood, orphanhood, physical and psychological trauma for life, destroyed families, tens of thousands of displaced people who were forced to leave their roots, unsuccessful life projects and hatred, great hatred spewed out by the cannons of their pistols and detonators of their explosives. substances.
Even so, there have always been those who have tried to justify such evil using notorious political theories. It is not the purpose of this article to analyze and refute the nefarious arguments that have led to the brutality of any terrorist group, since nothing, absolutely nothing, justifies a single murder, and entering this debate is the first step to take terrorism from the letter of nature.
Over the years, faced with assassins, a generation of Spaniards has grown up who have fought for freedom in order to overcome irreconcilable a priori differences, build Spain without offense, without fratricidal confrontation, and overcome the terrorist challenge through their unbreakable will to win. who accompanied the Spanish people in the most difficult moments of its history, managed to forge a strong society in the face of adversity, a model of tolerance and respect.
But advances and the passage of time seem to cause some to lapse into complacency, leading to the recognition of a distorted view of a reality lived through decades. for the sake of a chimerical set equal to everything and this alleviates the terrible pain of the victims. With this in mind, it is important that they continue to serve as a moral guide when talking about terrorism, preventing false interference. Let us never forget that if terrorists do not kill, it is because they cannot, and we should never be grateful to them, thinking that by doing this they save our lives.
It is inevitable responsibility of government agencies to encourage initiatives that keep the fire alive, not to look the other way when actions are clearly offensive to victims, and to relentlessly pursue murderers until they are brought before a judge. If not, where is the memory they require? where is their pleading dignity, when day after day they are celebrated with impunity, tribute to terrorists; and where is the justice they ask for when hundreds of murders remain unsolved.
Every day, at the right time of sunset, a Prayer Ring sounds in barracks throughout Spain in memory of all who gave their lives for our country, including, of course, those who were basely killed as a result of terrorist attacks. But the recognition and affection that the victims of terrorism deserve goes beyond the military and must be accepted by the entire society, as has happened in many cases, without failing in their efforts, no matter how strong the pressure or how strong they may be. time makes us forget. In this sense, it is very unfortunate to see how the small monuments that we find in his memory throughout Spanish geography are in most cases ignored or even abandoned.
Observing the example of other countries, we are missing in Spain a great national monument that honors the memory of the victims, which is a permanent memory of their victims; a monument that becomes a must for all Spaniards who want to give them the eternal respect they deserve, and which, when visited by visitors from abroad, feel that those who honor themselves there have forged the foundations of a better Spain with their dedication. Those who wish to participate are challenged to spearhead the construction of a National Monument to the Victims of Terrorism, the significance and scale of which make it a symbol of our nation.
To look to the future with hope and avoid the pitfalls of the present, we must not stop reflecting on what we have built together in the past and the transcendental role that the victims of terrorism have played in it. Our values, principles and foundations as a nation are further reinforced example of quiet and humble surrender what they gave us by removing hatred and revenge from their lives, a sign of a magnanimous desire for reconciliation, backed by the justice they deserve, and which for many has not yet arrived.
Victims of terrorism represent at the same time the dignity and problems that modern Spain has brought us, which we now enjoy, and although their victims have already taken a place in our history, the debt of the Spanish society to them is limitless. and we must never forget this.
Lieutenant Colonel Jesús M. Prieto Mateos is secretary of the Tercios Viejos española military professional association.