Eta to end ceasefire with Spain

Well, shit.

If you should ever get the chance, grab a copy of Mike Davis’ Buda’s Wagon: A Brief History of the Car Bomb. Indescribably fascinating. Davis is also the author of Planet of Slums, also very interesting. From Amazon:

From the world’s first car bomb in 1920 (actually a horse-drawn wagon, exploded by anarchist Mario Buda in downtown Manhattan), to those incessantly exploding in Iraq, Davis shows how these “quotidian workhorses of urban terrorism” are responsible for “producing the most significant mutations in city form and urban lifestyle.” Whether the product of fringe militancy or “clandestine state terrorism,” Davis shows, the car bomb has a limitless capacity to create and sustain fear (largely because of low cost and technological accessibility).

Given the weapon’s ubiquity in modern times, a “brief history” scarcely allows room for the numerous theaters of conflict within which the car bomb has evolved, including Northern Ireland, Beirut, Israel, the U.S. and Colombia, let alone much political background on, say, the Tamil Tigers’ bombing campaign in Sri Lanka. At its best, this is a gripping supplementary history, full of surprising, often contrarian facts and voices behind some of the most spectacular acts of violence on record. Despite clearly populist sympathies, Davis steers away from romanticism, keeping tight focus on the indiscriminate violence inflicted upon innocents. Packed with horrific and heartrending details, the book goes beyond the statistics to portray the human and moral costs of this gruesome political lever.

To be fair it is a little left, certainly anti-occupation in the way in which it is anti-war, and people will definitely balk at the news that pre-1948 Zionists (the Stern gang) and the US (CIA director William J. Casey and Reagan) had a very big hand in the establishment and development of this tool of terror. It also won’t come as news at all to other people, so. The context in which the book places the likes of Eta, the Bali Bombing and September 11 within a more-or-less progression of a mere technique is very impressive.

But the news that Eta has had enough of not blowing shit up in Spain is not good news. That they don’t kill as many people as in heady late 70s is small enough comfort.


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