Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Civic Responsibility

It's back! The Civic Rebellion, that noble movement of decent, honest, hard working, ordinary, Partido Popular voting folk whose main activity in life seems to be shouting "Zapatero dimisión" at anyone who such much as looks in their direction, returns to the streets of Madrid on November 24th. It's a good date for it, the PP's more affluent supporters will have an excuse for getting the mink out of the wardrobe as the autumn chill should be with us by then. If we are really lucky it will rain...heavily.

The callers of the latest demonstration are not, of course, the PP itself. As usual they rely on one of their satellite organisations, and the increasingly inaptly named Asociación de Victimas de Terrorismo (AVT) has undertaken the task of mobilising yet another anti government demonstration. Meanwhile the president of the AVT, Francisco José Alcaraz, finds himself with a small legal problem over some of his more extreme public outbursts. He is facing a court case accused of “injurias” against the government because of his frequent statements claiming that the Spanish government and ETA work hand in hand. Much as I detest Alcaraz and his viciously sectarian political activities, I’m not in favour of it being an offence to insult or defame any government. Indeed, were we to take action against all of those who have peddled blatant falsehoods against the government on the issue of terrorism alone we would have so many legal cases in progress that even the most right wing of judges would not have time to chase those who burn photographs of the king – and where would that leave us? Apart from that, it gives Alcaraz a thoroughly undeserved chance to play the martyr.

Of course it needs to be pointed out that sometimes you reap what you sow. The AVT has systematically attempted to use the legal system to silence critics and to take rock bands to court over their lyrics. If anyone deserves similar treatment then it is Alcaraz. I wonder how much of the money which is supposed to have been used to assist the victims of terror has actually been employed in legal intimidation of all those who Alcaraz dislikes. Add to that the undoubtedly enormous amount of money they spent in their attempts to destroy the police case against those accused of perpetrating the Madrid bombings. Did you read that last bit right? Yes you did, an association purporting to represent victims of terrorism tried harder than some defence lawyers to bring down the prosecution case in that trial. An adverse verdict, from the AVT's point of view, will be one that attributes the massacre to Islamist terrorism. All those years of selling fantasies and lies and conspiracy theories will have been wasted. If that is how next week’s verdict emerges the PP, AVT and friends will need to make even more noise on November 24th to try and drown out the impact of the case.

The AVT and their allies have taken the abuse of terror for opportunist political gain to new heights. The organisation is run by a hard right clique who exist in this ethical vacuum where anything justifies the end objective, even if they debase in the process the very cause which they were set up to promote. No greater disservice can be done to the victims of terrorism than to use them in this way. The PP could easily set up its own internal grouping of terrorist victims, but then they would have to be open in their political alignment and of course the PP would have to fund their activities from its own resources. The best thing the AVT can do, if nobody is able to reform it, would be to disband itself and let genuine organisations represent the needs of terrorist victims. None of this is likely to happen.

So this fraudulent attempt to misrepresent the voice of the victims will continue. Given that there is no current negotiation process with ETA, then one will have to be invented for the occasion. I am sure that Alcaraz is already working on the details of another sinister and clever communist-nationalist conspiracy to convert España into Exspaña. I predict this will run along the following lines, the breakdown of negotiations with ETA is just an electoral ploy by Zapatero who still has to honour the commitments he made to them as they worked out together how to commit the Madrid train bombings. Once he is back in power he will simultaneously hand over half of Northern Spain to his Basque allies whilst they all joyfully perform regional dances on tattered copies of the Spanish Constitution. That document which the Spanish right overwhelmingly rejected when it was first proposed but which they now love and revere as if it was their own dear child. Meanwhile the F2M (flags to morons) business has never been stronger. Once again I am forced to curse my lack of business acumen for letting pass another opportunity for a comfortable and early retirement.

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