An Observation of the Basque

TitleAn Observation of the Basque
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsHimes, Aaron
Academic DepartmentPolitical Science
Thesis AdvisorStell, Brent S.
DegreeBachelor of Arts in International Studies in Political Science
Number of Pages37
Date Published05/2001
UniversityOregon State University
Thesis TypeUndergraduate
KeywordsBasque, independence, self governance, Spain

For the past four decades blood-shed has blanketed the Basque country of Northern Spain. This unique and rich culture has been muted by the gun shots and bomb-blasts of a small band of terrorists, which identify themselves as ETA. No longer are these people referenced by their culinary delicacies, their sporting prowess or their beautiful country vistas, but rather by their death tolls and violence which routinely surface on the front page of global media outlets. Although ETA'S rigid demand for independence is not shared by all inhabitants of this region it is painfully apparent that the majority yearn for a greater degree of self governance than the Spanish Central government is willing to a lot them.
This paper is an examination of the conflict between Basque nationalists and the Spanish central government in the their pursuit of furthered autonomy. This paper examines the roles of participants such as ETA and various political parties within the conflict. It also attempts to illustrate the impact of the actions of these groups within the different facets of society. Beyond cultural examinations, this paper also strives to shed light on the historical and political context that this conflict occurs and provides insight as to the future direction of the conflict.
The foundation of this paper is based on a series of informal interviews with academics and randomly selected interview subjects, a year long study abroad experience in the Basque country and various reference materials written about the subject. This thesis project is an experiential based writing endeavor composed of personal experience, referenced citations and expert opinion.
This paper examines the Basque conflict and its impact on Basque society. It cites direct and indirect ways in which the violence and political posturing affects active and non-active participants alike. It also concludes that the inflexibility and extremist positions adopted by both, Basque nationalists and the Central government are to blame for the continued escalation of violence. The violence must subside in order for this conflict to be resolved and neither side is willing to take the necessary steps to ensure an end to the violence. Until this key issue can be resolved it is unlikely that progress will be made in the direction of a practical solution to this power struggle.