With a practically empty hemicycle, in which there was only a notable presence in the PSOE bench, the Congress of Deputies celebrated this Monday the traditional tribute to the victims of terrorism in a solemn act in which there were practically more people in the gallery of the public than in the seats. In the hemicycle's 'chicken coop' were representatives of the armed forces and victims' organizations, as well as the Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo.
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The PP, which last year broke unity against terrorism for the first time by absenting itself from the event, has broken it again this year and none of its deputies have attended the event with the exception of its two representatives on the Congress Table, Ana Pastor and Adolfo Suarez Illana. Neither has Vox attended. Both formations justify their absence in the presence of EH Bildu, the formation that integrates the nationalist left and that rejects, since its birth, all kinds of violence, including that of ETA.
It was no use that the president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet, recalled that the date to celebrate the act and the event itself was agreed "unanimously". "We do it because the law of recognition of victims, approved unanimously, mandates it," she added. June 27 was chosen in memory of Begoña Urroz, murdered at the age of 22 that day in 1960, by a bomb planted at the Amara railway station in San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa).
🎺 Madrid Royal Conservatory of Music student Christian Franco Brines performs the Second Movement of the Trumpet Concerto in E flat major by Franz Joseph Haydn during the tribute to the victims of terrorism. pic.twitter.com/J5qIc1tlXn
– Congress (@Congreso_Es) June 27, 2022
Tomás Caballero, president of the Victims of Terrorism Foundation, thanked Batet for maintaining his "commitment" to the victims of terrorism. He has also highlighted the "work" of deputies and senators who "have faced terrorism", citing various laws approved in Parliament to recognize the victims. “Memory saves us and protects us from a second crime, which is forgetting”, he has pointed out.
The victims, against the tributes to terrorists
Caballero has asked, however, to "review" some of the aspects of the victims' law to equate all of them and to prioritize "their protection above" any other consideration. In addition, he has requested that the aid received by the victims be decoupled from the clarification of their attacks. He has also spoken of a discomfort in the group of victims due to the lack of unity against terrorism that "today no longer exists". He has finally asked himself "why so many attacks remain unsolved", or "why there are still tributes to terrorists upon their release from prison".
Members of the Bureau, spokespersons and parliamentarians from both chambers, members of the Government and associations of victims of terrorism participated in the act. The President of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, and the President of the Senate, Ander Gil, greeted the guests at this tribute ceremony, which has been held every year since 2010 in the Lower House, in the Hall of Lost Steps.
Once in the Hemicycle, the president of the Congress opened the tribute ceremony, which began with the interpretation of the Second Movement of the Trumpet Concerto in E flat major by Franz Joseph Haydn by the student of the Madrid Royal Conservatory of Music Christian Franco Brines. Caballero then intervened and, once his speech was over, Batet addressed the representatives of the victims, deputies, senators and authorities, and invited all those attending to observe a minute of silence.
During her speech, the president of the Congress has assured that "the ordinary pulses of parliamentary life, marked by debate, opposition and criticism, stop on a day like today" in order to "testify" the "respect and recognition ” of the Lower House “to those who have been the first line of defense” of democracy. “The terrorists tried to undermine the foundations of coexistence in peace and freedom, making their victims suffer pain and unreason. For them they were not people with a story in progress, with projects to fulfill, with wishes to fulfill, but a pure means to sow terror and fear in society. They were deprived of their lives, their integrity and their freedom”, she recalled.
“But those who suffered the attack, their families, their loved ones, resisted. They resisted the pain, often inconsolable; they resisted, in the early days, misunderstanding and silence; they resisted the instinct of revenge, and knew how to maintain serenity, temperance and faith in justice. The victims, our fellow citizens, despite the suffering caused by the terrorist action, maintained the most precious political asset: trust. They maintained the most basic political good of democracy: reason against barbarism. They trusted in the rule of law, in its ability to prosecute the guilty and apply the full weight of the law. They trusted in our democracy, in its strength to combat and defeat the terrorist scourge”, added Batet.
Batet: "We managed to ensure that democracy had a single voice against the violent"
In his opinion, "it is this position of the victims of terrorism that places them in the preeminent place they deserve in the history of the construction and consolidation of the democratic system." “Those who have suffered the direct impact of terrorist violence directed at all citizens deserve the recognition, support and solidarity of all citizens. Every example is an example for someone. The example of the victims is for the whole society
The president of Congress has also said that "ETA's defeat, eleven years old, is a collective success" in democratic history. “We achieved it thanks to the permanent dialogue between parties and social organizations and the clear awareness of the cardinal principles and values that were at stake. In this way we achieved that democracy had a single voice against the violent. The voice of unmitigated rejection of violence; the voice of constant support for the work of the State security forces and bodies, of judges and prosecutors; the voice, in short, of recognition and solidarity with the victims”, she stressed.
Despite the obvious division that has been reflected in the hemicycle, Batet has praised the "unity against terrorism". “Because politics shows itself to be a nobler activity when it serves to defend fundamental rights, when it is on the side of the victims, protecting and protecting them. That unity against the unreason of those who have tried to impose their ideas through violence is part of the material constitution of our democratic system. It is one of the basic consensuses on which our life in democracy is based”, he concluded.
The act has closed with the interpretation of the Sonata in F for two saxophones by Jean-Marie Londeix by the students of the Royal Superior Conservatory of Music of Madrid, Olga Valdivieso Díaz and Raquel Núñez del Campo.