Today’s extract from The Notebook.
I met the playwright Alfonso Sastre more than thirty years ago. It was our one and only meeting. I never wrote to him and I never received a letter from him. I was left with the impression of a dour and harsh character, with nothing kindly about it, which did nothing to make our conversation easier, although neither was it exactly difficult. I never heard more of him, other than through occasional and inexpressive press reviews, which always referred to his political militancy in the ranks of the Basque nationalists. In recent weeks the name of Alfonso Sastre reappeared at the head of the list of candidates for the European elections, as part of a recently formed International Initiative. The group failed to obtain representation in the Strasbourg parliament. A few days ago, the ETA assassinated a policeman by the name of Eduardo Pelles, using that nearly foolproof device, a bomb placed under the chassis of his car. His death was hideous; the fire horribly burnt the body of the unfortunate man, whom no one was able to help. The crime provoked general indignation, right across Spain. Or rather, not so general. Alfonso Sastre has just published a threatening article in the Basque daily Gara, where he speaks of “times of great pain rather than peace” while seeking to justify the attacks as integral to the “political conflict,” adding that there would be further attacks should political negotiations not be reopened with ETA. I can hardly credit what I am reading. It was not Sastre who attached the bomb to the chassis of Eduardo Puelles’s car. All the same, I never expected to see him justifying murderers like these.