• Documentary 'Do not call me Ternera', the whitening on Netflix of the number 1 of ETA: "They talk about me as if I were with horns and tail"
  • Criticism whitewashing Jordi Évole
  • Terrorism Josu Ternera criticizes Évole's documentary: "It's not what I expected. They have done what they have believed."

Never has a film lasted so long at the San Sebastian Festival. We will forget the golden shells, but not the deafening noise of an interview in which, beyond the bulky concepts or the excessiveness of the barbarities heard, no one, neither interviewer nor interviewee, raises his voice at any time. After the presentation to the media on Friday, on Saturday it was the turn for society, let's say, civil. And there appeared the directors, Jordi Évole and Màrius Sánchez willing to give the appropriate explanations.

We speak, to situate ourselves, of Do not call me Veal. We are talking about the interview in documentary format (or vice versa) in which the former leader of the terrorist group ETA gives, for the first time, his version of himself and his. We are talking about the film that as soon as its inclusion in the Festival's programming was known, led to a letter signed by fifty citizens against it. "We would have liked to make much less noise in an edition of the festival with names like Trueba, Bayonne or Coixet," said Évole as a prologue and, incidentally, as an apology to his colleagues and fellow program mates. Of course, he pointed out that the fault had not been entirely his: "Those who marked the agenda were the gentlemen of the statement. We would have preferred things to have been said after at least seeing the film."

And after the presentation and shortly after the first question on the subject, Evole himself placed what was undoubtedly the message of the appearance before the press and that was underlined and repeated up to three times: "Josu Ternera disappointed us. We hoped and would have liked a more conciliatory language, expressed in kinder words. He always spoke to the inside rather than the outside. He addressed his people at all times: the prisoners and the militancy." And he added: "The Abertzale left has always been distinguished by its cowardice of never saying what you think so as not to be singled out as a dissident."

On the criticism of whitewashing, the other strong argument of the appearance, both Sánchez and Évole clung to their "duty as journalists." "Our idea," he began, "was always to shed light where there has never been. It is the first time that an ETA leader does an interview with a national media that, in addition, has ended up being global with the entry of Netflix [premieres on December 25]," he said. He added, challenging critics: "The newsworthiness of an interview with a terrorist leader is indisputable. There is no journalism school that says otherwise... We certainly did not expect preventive censorship. It took us two years to make the documentary and one in editing. We are aware that it is a luxury for the moment that the profession is going through... The easy thing would have been to stay at home and do nothing. For us it was a journalistic duty and the only thing I feel is absolute pride in having conducted the interview. I wouldn't want one day looking back on him to tell me that I didn't do what I had to do out of fear."

Sánchez said that the project began to take shape in 2020 and that the recording of the three sessions of three hours each with Josu Ternera took place in May 2022. A year later, the statements that open and close the documentary of the ETA victim Francisco Ruiz Sánchez were introduced. "It was very complicated and everything was conceived based on chopping a lot of stone. We met on several occasions and from the initial refusal we went to yes. It was a year and a half process. Very complicated," Sanchez recalled.

Évole, who refused to describe either the criticisms or the interviewee himself, only defined the interviewee as a militant. " He is a person for whom the ETA organization goes ahead of everything," he said and insisted on the idea of disappointment. "For a moment I thought that in the chapter of the murder of Yoyes by ETA there would be a moment of certain regret. She was his friend, spent time with his family... But no. For Josu Urrutikoetxea it was a decision of the organization that wanted to issue a warning to those who wanted to reintegrate... After this answer it was clear to me that there was not going to be any movement."

Both Evole and Sanchez revolted against the term "whitewashing." Interviewing is not whitewashing. Asking is not whitewashing. We are known very little by those who accuse us of laundering anyone. If anyone believes that we have done what we have done to be close to the ideas of the Abertzale left, it is that they do not know us at all." And having said that, Évole himself tried a new justification for all this: "Twelve years ago ETA laid down its arms and we still see young girls and boys who do not know who Miguel Ángel Blanco was. It is an anomaly. Miguel Angel Blanco's death hurts, but it has to hurt. You have to choose which side you are on: if with those who sing 'Que te vote Txapote' without knowing who Txapote was or with those who know that Txapote murdered Miguel Ángel Blanco. I want to be with seconds."

And having said that, not a day in San Sebastian without the documentary of marras.

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