Letters - Guernica was one of many

In his timely "Cities under siege" (The Back Half, 27 January), Russell Martin perpetuates a common mistake about Guernica. Attacking civilian populations by aerial bombardment was almost a commonplace in the 1920s and 1930s. The British, the French, the Spanish, the Italians, the South Africans and the Japanese all did it. Some of these raids were on the same scale or bigger than Guernica, notably the Japanese bombing of Shanghai in 1937, the Spanish attack on Chechaouen in Morocco in 1925 and even Durango in Spain, a few months before Guernica. In his splendid A History of Bombing (Granta, 2001), Sven Lindqvist writes: "Of all these bombed cities and villages only Guernica went down in history. Because Guernica lies in Europe. In Guernica, we were the ones who died." Now, our selective outrage is again being used to trigger war.

David Mackenzie
Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire

This article first appeared in the 03 February 2003 issue of the New Statesman, Terrorism: the price we pay for poverty