In the early morning of June 5th, 2009, when he arrived back home from the police station where he was stationed, X found an explosive device on the door of his home that did not explode due to a failure in the triggering mechanism. His wife and two daughters, aged 11 and 13, were inside the house.


Name: He does not want to be named.

Age: 46.

Family status: Married, two young daughters.

Profession: Ertzaina.

Territory: Bizkaia.

RISK GROUP: Ertzaintza (Regional Police Force).


– In the early morning of June 5th, 2009, when he arrived back home from the police station where he was stationed, X found an explosive device on the door of his home that did not explode due to a failure in the triggering mechanism.

– His wife and two daughters, aged 11 and 13, were inside the house.

– He had never been the victim of any aggression or threat before.


“If the bomb had exploded, everything would have gone up in smoke. Fortunately, the mechanism failed. When I found it, my wife and daughters were still in bed. If it had exploded a little later, it would have caught them as they were leaving for school. This has awakened a feeling of guilt in me. Before becoming a police officer, I used to work in a factory and I think I should have stayed there because they could have been killed because of me.”

“When this happened, there was mainly a feeling of indifference in the neighbourhood. I had never had any problems in the ten years I had been living there. Then, some people began to be frightened of me and to reject me. However, curiously, there were some people who had never spoken to me before who came up to me to offer their support”.

– Since then, he has been off work due to mental stress and he is on medication.

– His wife is also off work due to this event.

“The group of friends I used to go out with for drink to the bar, with whom I used to watch football matches, don’t want to see me after what happened. They look the other way so as not to have to greet me or they simply cross to the other side of the street. That indifference displayed by the people hurts. We are considered to be at the same level as rats. The people around us are terrible; they hurt me more than those who planted the bomb.”

– On advice from the Department of the Interior, he has had to sell his flat and move to another home.

“At first, you don’t want to believe it. I had no intention of leaving. Before, I felt privileged; I was living in a nice area, I had a good house, my children went to an excellent school nearby…. We had it all. I didn’t want that to disappear. But then the fear set in, the nightmares. My relationship with my wife changed. Whether you like it or not, everything changes. And, although we resisted having to leave, when the Department of the Interior told us to, we decided we had no option. We have moved outside the Basque Country. That hurts.”

“Another element that helped us decide to leave was that, a short time later, they murdered a police officer, Eduardo Puelles. Then, I thought: “if they have done this at my house, they may also come and shoot me. They already know me, they know where I live”. You can’t live like that, and with two young daughters, even less so.”

“There were some people I thought were friends who stopped talking to me. However, other people I had never spoken to before offered me their support. This was something I would never have expected. I have seen how my life changed radically; I would go to the park with my girls and everyone would look at me, but no-one showed any sympathy. In the end, the only option was to leave. The people treat me well where I am living now.”

“Things change with your wife; she doesn’t want to talk about it, but I feel very angry. When they told me I had to leave, everything changed”

“We have had to leave the Basque Country and that hurts. I am not Basque and now I wouldn’t want to go there. Here (he refers to his new place of residence) you only see normal people.

“They have interrupted my family’s life”.

–His daughters have had to adapt to a new environment and school expenses have doubled because, in spite of the rejection he feels, he wants his daughters to continue going to school in the Basque Country so that they may learn the Basque language. He has had to buy another car so that his wife can travel to work in the Basque Autonomous Region. Given the urgency caused by the situation, they had to sell their house below the market price in order to be able to buy a new house as soon as possible. He has not received any aid to help him face these added financial problems.

“This has caused me phobia in relation to anything connected with the Basque Country.  Due to my job, I have to live with all kinds of people but now I profoundly hate everything Basque. The truth in the Basque Country is that there is a small group who attack everybody else. We don’t want to see it, until they come for us. We have the Athletic, the Guggenheim, and we don’t want to see any further.  That is why I now hate everything that is Basque. I used to feel Basque, I defended my country and other things that I now hate. I also used to be like that, but being like that damages the lives of a lot of people. You don’t realise that one day it may be you and when it happens, you only encounter indifference.”

“Now I am afraid because here I am all right but I don’t know what will happen when I have to go back to work. I want to earn a living by working, with dignity. But, to be honest, if, as I feel right now, I had to go back to work and go out on the streets and if I came across those that support them, I don’t think I would be able to control myself. I think that that pain they have made me go through would make me behave with hatred.”

“I don’t think it will happen, but I wish the day would arrive when I would be able to forgive because this is eating away at me, it’s stopping me from enjoying life. They are hurting me more now than with the bomb. After so long, I find I can’t enjoy life because of this”.

– Today the problem still exists. The events that led to this situation have not been solved, those guilty have not been identified. The risk still exists and the moral damage also. This interview was conducted in an area bordering the Basque Country due to the stress the interviewee felt when faced with the possibility of entering the said region. This same stress is what has caused him to ask us not to include his name or present place of residence. During the entire interview he was either in tears or expressing anger, constantly stating the deep pain caused by a feeling of guilt, as he feels he is responsible for having placed his family at risk by joining the police force.

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