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"The university was a pioneer of civic resistance to ETA."

Ana Escauriaza gives a seminar of group of research in Recent History (GIHRE)

Ana Escauriaza, graduate in History and Journalism by the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University, and professor of the Master's Degree in Christianity and Contemporary Culture, has explained in the seminar of the group of research in Recent History (GIHRE) how the universities were a goal of ETA. In his latest book, "Violence, Silence and Resistance. ETA and the University (1959-2011)", Escauriaza has studied a phenomenon that for so many years was part, before the passivity of many and the resistance of a few, of the daily life of the universities.

The University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the University of Deusto, the University of Navarra and the Public University of Navarra were a goal of ETA that, through various forms of violence, tried to recreate unsuccessfully its project of "Basque Popular University". The UPV, two of whose rectors (Pello Salaburu and Manuel Montero) prologues the book, was the space where this attempt was most complexly raised, which enveloped in a disturbing atmosphere aggressors, victims and teachers and students who chose silence. Many teachers were threatened and even had to go into exile with their families in the following years. In 1980 Juan de Dios Doval, Associate Professor of Procedural Law in the School of Law of San Sebastian and leader of UCD, was assassinated.

Another very affected center was the University of Navarra, whose links with Opus Dei made it a favorite goal of the terrorist group. The Navarre center was attacked six times, from October 4, 1979 (at the headquarters of its publishing house, in Barañain) until October 30, 2008, when a car bomb exploded next to its Central Building. In the seminar held by the GIHRE, the case gave rise to a lively discussion. On the one hand, it was confirmed, thanks to Escauriaza's investigations, that, in its violent eagerness to present the University of Navarra as a foreign body, ETA aroused the condemnation of society. However, it is also true that, independently of the terrorist group and despite the fact that the creation of the university in 1952 had been widely celebrated, the story that ETA tried to exploit had been spreading, with certain popular roots.

On the other hand, despite the fear and silence sown by the terrorist group, Escauriaza has been able to affirm that "the university was a pioneer of civic resistance to ETA". ETA did not limit itself to determining the life of centers, professors and students in the area where the "Basque Popular University" was to be extended, but attacked university students who, throughout Spain, had chosen to resist. In 1992, the Full Professor of Commercial Law Manuel Broseta, a prominent member of the UCD in the Transition, had been assassinated when he went to teach his class at the University of Valencia. Four years later, the assassination of Francisco Tomás y Valiente, Full Professor of History of Law and former president of the Constitutional Court (1986-1992), in his office at the Autonomous University of Madrid (1996), aroused an unprecedented reaction. Following his assassination and, the following year, that of Miguel Angel Blanco, university professors encouraged the creation of the Ermua Forum and Basta Ya with a "political action" dimension.

In addition, the universities, especially Deusto, encouraged the creation of Chairs and the launching of various research projects to explain and combat ETA violence. Demonstrations of repulse were also a frequent phenomenon in the university resistance. Escauriaza studies this phenomenon in his book, the result of his doctoral thesis , which has led him to interview 34 protagonists (8 of them anonymous) and to the enquiry of numerous collections of file and periodicals collection. The result, a valuable contribution to the recent history of Spain, may also help to undo the silence that survives from those years.