Basque youths: not all fanatics

I read Rop Zoutberg's article "One day ETA asks . . . and if they want you, you go" (15 January).

When the piece refers to "Basque youths" in generic terms, it seems to me that it is out of focus. A recent survey carried out by the Basque autonomous government says that 87.8 per cent of Basque youths are against the use of violence as a means to a political end, whereas 9 per cent justify it "only in certain circumstances" and 0.6 per cent "in all circumstances". Your article glamorises this minimal and fanatical part of the young population residing there.

I suggest that you do some research on the reasons for the greater - and apparently lesser-known - part of Basque youth (63.5 per cent, according to the aforementioned survey) who do not feel free to express their political views, especially some democratically elected non-nationalist municipal councillors, whose lives are constantly threatened by the violent actions of the radical minority portrayed in your article.

Carlos Sanchez
Press Counsellor
Spanish Embassy, London SW1

This article first appeared in the 29 January 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The fall of Mandelson