Miguel-Anxo Murado is a writer and journalist. Of more his than twenty books in Galician and Spanish, three have been translated into English: A Bestiary of Discontent, Soundcheck and Ash Wednesday.


The End of ETA’s Era

The funeral of three Guardia Civil police officers killed by the Basque separatist group ETA, Spain (date unknown, likely mid to late 1970s)

Shortly before its final dissolution, the Basque armed separatist movement ETA issued an apology pledging “to put out definitively the flames of Guernica.” In truth, the flames of Guernica were put out long ago. Picasso’s famous painting denouncing that tragedy has been hanging in a Madrid museum for decades. Even the flames of ETA were extinguished years ago. As for the group’s vision of an independent Basque Country, the paradox is that ETA has made that goal less, not more, feasible.

Catalonia on the Brink

An independence supporter outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain, October 10, 2017

When thinking about Catalonia seeking independence, we circle back to metaphors. Romantic breakup or severed-limb mutilation, the language of feelings or the language of the body. What they all have in common is that in most cases breakups are irreparable and painful. In that, the other Catalans and Spaniards are right, too. At his point, nobody knows whether Catalonia will finally secede from Spain, but, if it comes to that, it will feel like the loss of a limb. And for many, the hurt will be unbearable.