Friday, March 19, 2004 | 9:12 a.m.
This is in response to articles about the bombings in Spain that initially blamed ETA and condemned all Basque nationalists for pointing to evidence that the attacks might have been the work of al-Qaida.
First of all, far too often are Basques in general and ETA, a nationalist organization, used interchangeably in Western media. This is a grave mistake. Basques abhor violence and want to see the perpetrators of this most recent horrific attack caught and punished quickly.
What we were seeing in those early articles were Basques being used as scapegoats by the Spanish government. They blamed not just ETA, but anyone who has "nationalist" beliefs -- anyone who supports the nonviolent road to Basque self-determination and anyone who dares to speak out about human and civil rights abuses occurring against Basques.
Being of Basque heritage, I am outraged by the way the Spanish government and even our media were quick to blame Basques and how they cast such a negative view of this ancient culture. The Basque people have far more going for them than a single nationalist organization, ETA, which has officially stated that it had absolutely nothing to do with the horrific attacks on Thursday.