Mr. Wallace, How do you feel about negotiations with terrorists?

Thoughts from Valencia, February 2006, by Bruce Wallace of Peaceful Tomorrows

by Bruce Wallace
February 19th, 2006

I was honored to attend and speak at The III Congreso Internacional sobre Victimas del Terrorismo in Valencia, Spain on the 13-14th of February, 2006. The gathering was more politically charged than I had anticipated, in part because Presidente Zapatero had just announced intentions to negotiate with ETA. ETA is a criminal group of terrorists from the Basque region who have been responsible for over 800 deaths in the last 37 years. (That is proportional to about 6000 deaths in the USA.)

All the people affected by terrorism that I spoke with were unanimous in their open opposition to negotiations.

Many reporters asked my opinion. Here’s what I said:

“There are many Basque people who have a dream of the Basque country becoming a separate Basque nation. Not all of them are terrorists. Put the terrorists in jail first simply because they have committed crimes, and then talk to the rest of those people who chose to be peaceful.”

One of the most emotional speeches was that of the president of the Foundation for Victims of Terrorism, Mayte Pagazaurtundua, who said that the only price society should pay for the end of terrorist attacks is “the persistence of the law and faith in judicial order.” She said, “The terrorists must be defeated, and the victims must not be used as bargaining chips.”

((ETA detonated a car bomb during the closing ceremonies of the Congresso.))

Filed in: Voices of Peaceful Tomorrows

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