Tag Archives: “About the Basque Country”

Recap: Volume IV, 2014

Despite the growing number of Basques residing outside the European homeland, the existing emotional distance and knowledge gap between the Basque Country and its diaspora have unfortunately not narrowed (“#BasquesAbroad,February post). Significantly, the 20th anniversary of the Public Law 8/1994, which is the present legal framework of institutional relationship between Euskadi and the diaspora, passed unnoticed (“Decide,” May post).

If it is possible to argue that the Basque diaspora is for the most an invisible community to the eyes of the majority of the Basque society, what can be said about those others less fortunate people who arrive at our coasts? Within the context of the 10th anniversary of Al-Qaeda attacks in Madrid, we remembered the horrendous death of 15 young sub-Saharan people who perished attempting to swim to the Spanish autonomous city of Melilla (“¿Verdad?”—“Truth?” March post). Migrants are indeed an invisible but worldwide transnational community of over 232 million people. In an increasing interconnected world, at some point in our lives all of us will become a stranger in a foreign land.

For the past years, the blog has reflected on our historical and social memory. On this occasion, I explored the meaning of “forgiveness” as rooted in the memory of those who suffered prosecution and exile (“Perdonar”—“Forgiving,” December post).

The year 2014 marked the 5th anniversary of Basque Identity 2.0. I would like to acknowledge EiTB.eus and our friends from A Basque in Boise, About the Basque Country, Euskonews, Hella Basque, and Un libro al día for their continuous support and encouragement (“#NotInMyName,” September post; “Le petit mort,” June post).

Thank you all for being there. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that, as of January 2015, I will write the blog “Diaspora Bizia” at EuskalKultura.com—the only specialized media on the Basque diaspora and culture.

I would love to hear from you. Happy New Year!

Eskerrik asko eta urte berri on!

(NOTE: Remember: If you cannot understand English, you may use Google Translate).

Creative_Commons


 

 

 

Recap: Volume III, 2013

Similar to the imminent art of improvising verses in the Basque language, or bertsolaritza, our life, especially in the digital world, is ephemeral. This oral tradition reaffirms and expresses an identity rooted in a specific area but with a global projection thanks to the emergent technologies of information and communication. Since its inception Basque Identity 2.0 has assumed the challenge of its own fugacity by exploring different expressions of Basque identity, understood in transnational terms, through a global medium. Perhaps, this comes down to accepting that our ephemeral condition is what really helps to shape our collective memory and identity, and which are constantly revisited and reconstructed.

Bertsolaritza-2013Maialen Lujanbio, bertsolari or Basque verse improviser, sings about the Basque diaspora. Basque Country Championship, Barakaldo (Bizkaia), December 15, 2013. Source: Bertsoa.

In June, we celebrated the 4th anniversary of Basque Identity 2.0. I would like to acknowledge our colleagues and friends from A Basque in Boise, About the Basque Country, EITB.com and Hella Basque for their continuous support and encouragement (“Sucede que a veces”—“It happens sometimes,” May post).

We began the year reflecting on our historical memory, which has increasingly become a recurrent topic in the blog for the past two years. Through the stories of Pedro Junkera Zarate—a Basque child refugee in Belgium from the Spanish Civil war—Jules Caillaux—his foster dad while in Belgium, and one of the “Righteous among the Nations”—and Facundo Sáez Izaguirre—a Basque militiaman who fought against Franco and flew into exile—I attempted to bring some light into a dark period of our history. Their life stories are similar to some extent to many others whose testimonies are critical to understand our most recent history of self-destruction and trauma (“Algunas personas buenas”—“Some good people,” February post). Some of these stories are part of an ongoing oral history project on Basque migration and return. As part of the research I was able go back to the United States to conduct further interviews and to initiate a new community-based project called “Memoria Bizia” (“#EuskalWest2013,” November post).

In addition, May 22 marked the 75th anniversary of the massive escape from Fort Alfonso XII, also known as Fort San Cristóbal, in Navarre, which became one of the largest and most tragic prison breaks, during wartime, in contemporary Europe. This was the most visited post in 2013 (“The fourth man of California,” March post).

On the politics of memory, I also explored the meaning of “not-forgetting” in relation to the different commemorations regarding the siege of Barcelona 299 years ago, the coup d’état against the government of Salvador Allende 40 years ago, and the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States. Coincidentally, September 11th was the date of these three historical tragic events (“El no-olvido”—“Not-to-forget,” September post).

The Spanish right-wing newspaper ABC led the destruction of the persona of the late Basque-American Pete Cenarrusa, former Secretary of the State of Idaho (United States), by publishing an unspeakable obituary. Nine blogs from both sides of the Atlantic (A Basque in Boise, About Basque CountryBasque Identity 2.0Bieter Blog, 8 Probintziak, Nafar Herria, EuskoSare, Blog do Tsavkko – The Angry Brazilian, and Buber’s Basque Page) signed a common post, written in four different languages, to defend Cenarrusa (“Pete Cenarrusaren defentsan. In Memorian (1917-2013)”—“In defense of Pete Cenarrusa. In Memorian (1917-2013),” October post). It was a good example of digital networking and collaboration for a common cause. However, this was not an isolated event regarding the Basque diaspora. Sadly, nearly at the same time, ABC’s sister tabloid El Correo published a series of defamatory reports against the former president of the Basque Club of New York. Once again, ignorance and hatred laid beneath the personal attacks against public figures, for the only reason of being of Basque origin.

Basque literature, in the Spanish and English languages, was quite present in the blog throughout the year. Mikel Varas, Santi Pérez Isasi, and Iván Repila are among the most prolific and original Basque artists of Bilbao, conforming a true generation in the Basque literature landscape of the 21st century (“Nosotros, Bilbao”—“We, Bilbao,” April post). The year 2013 also marked the 10th anniversary of “Flammis Acribus Addictis,” one of most acclaimed poetry books of the late Sergio Oiarzabal, who left us three years ago (“Flammis Acribus Addictis,” June post). The blog also featured the late Basque-American author Mary Jean Etcheberry-Morton’s book, “Oui Oui Oui of the Pyrenees”, which is a welcoming breath of fresh air for the younger readers (“Yes!July post).

This has been a year filled with opportunities and challenges. Personally, I have been inspired by the greatness of those who keep moving forward in spite of tragedy and unforeseen setbacks, and by those who are at the frontline of volunteering (“Aurrera”—“Forward,” December post).

Thank you all for being there. Now, you can also find us on Facebook. I would love to hear from you. Happy New Year!

Eskerrik asko eta Urte berri on!

(NOTE: Remember to use Google Translate. No more excuses about not fully understanding the language of the post).

Creative_Commons


 

Pete Cenarrusaren defentsan. In Memorian (1917-2013)

Pete-Cenarrusa-Fish-Creek-homesteadPete Cenarrusa, 2009. Argazkia: Glenn Oakley©.

Pete Cenarrusa duela astebete hil zen, 95 urte zituela. Arraroa da, hasteko, Pete ezerengandik “defendatzeaz” mintzatzea. Bere gurasoak inguruko euskal herrietan hazitako etorkinak izan ziren, baina milaka miliatara ezagutu ziren, Idaho erdian. Pete-en lehen hizkuntza euskara izan zen, eta bizitza osoan zehar jarraitu zuen euskaraz hitzegiten, batzuetan ingelesezko hitzak sartuz erdian.

Pete Idahoko Unibertsitatera joan zen, boxeo taldean aritu zen eta nekazaritza eta abeltzantza graduak gainditu zituen (92 urte zituela, ikastaro gogokoenak elikadura, kimika organikoa eta bakteriologia zituela idatzi zuen blogean, “mundu guztiari gomendatuko nizkioke ikastaro hauek unibertsitatean”. Marineetan sartu zen 1942an eta abiazio begirale bilakatu zen haiekin. 59 urtez egin zuen hegan, 15.000 hegaldi-ordu baino gehiagorekin, istripu bakarra ere izan gabe.

Errepublikar bezala hautatua izan zen Pete Idahoko Ordezkarien Etxean 1950ean, eta bederatzi legegintzaldi bete zituen, hirutan Bozeramaile bezala. 1967an, Idahoko estatu idazkaria hiltzean, gobernadoreak postua betetzeko izendatu zuen, eta han zerbitzatu zuen 2003ra arte. Ez zen ohiko moldeko politikaria izan. Bere lagun eta oinordekoak hiletan jaso bezala, Pete ez zen hizlari ona; baina politikari gehienek ez bezala, Pete-ek bazekien hori. Hala ere, gaitza da haren arrakasta ezbaian jartzea: Pete-ek ez zuen sekula hauteskunde bat galdu, eta 52 urtez egon zen administrazioan, Idahoko historiako hautetsi batek inoiz egin duen denbora luzeena.

ABC Espainiar egunkari nazionalak “hil-mezu” bat argitaratu zuen, Javier Rupérez Estatu Batuetako espainiar enbaxadore ohiak idatzita. Rupérezek Pete “euskal separatista” deitzen du, Espainiaren aurkako “itsukeriaz” betetakoa, “bere heriotze egunera arte”. Duela hamarkada bat baino gertatutako gertakari batetatik gordetako pozoiz idatzitako artikulua da, Pete hil eta egun gutxira idatzitakoa. Pete-ek ez du bere burua defendatzerik orain. Horregatik sentitzen dugu hori bere ordez egiteko betebeharra.

ABC-Pete-Cenarrusa

Testuingurua marraztearren, Rupérez, egilea, ETAk bahitu zuen 1979an. Hilabetez egon zen bahituta. Askatu ostean, 26 euskal preso askatu zituzten espetxetik, eta espainiar legebiltzarrak euskal presoen tortura kasuak aztertzeko batzorde berezi bat sortzea adostu zuen. Ezin dugu jakin zer bizi izan zuen Rupérezek, eta nahiago genuke hala gertatu izan ez balitz. Zalantzarik gabe norberaren mundu ikuskera formatzen du halako gertaera batek. Baina Pete-ek ez zuen zerikusirik izan gertaera lazgarri harekin, eta jakin badakigu hark gaitzetsi egingo zukeela. Eta hor sartzen du hanka Rupérezek, Pete-ekin eta euskaldunekin orokorrean.

Bere Karreraren amaiera aldera, Pete-ek Idahoko legegintzaldian Euskal Herrian eta Espainiako gertakari kritiko batzuei zuzendutako adierazpen baten sarrera iragarri zuen. Ofizialki “memorial” bezala ezagutu zenak AEBetako eta Espainiako liderrak bake prozesuari heltzeko dei egin zien . 2002an, Rupérezek memorialaren berri izan eta berehala Idahora hegaz egin eta Espainiar presidentea, Estatu Saila eta Etxe Zuria erne jarri zituen. Bat-batean, Mendebaldeko estatu txiki baten legegilearen adierazpena lehertu eta nazioarteko albiste bilakatu zen.

Memorialaren inguruko bozketa hurbiltzen zihoan heinean, tartean azaldu ziren alderdi ezberdinen arteko joan-etorriak ugaritzen joan ziren. Baina Pete-en erantzuna biribila izan zen – bera parafraseauz: noiztik hasi dira Amerikako Estatu Batuak kanpo-politika atzerriko gobernuen bidez egiten? Amaieran, Idahoko legebiltzarrak aho batez onartu zuen memoriala. Bertan, Idahoko euskaldunen historia eta Idahoko legebiltzarraren aurretiazko jarduerak deskribatu zien hala nola Frankoren diktaduraren errepresioa gaitzezpena, euskaldunek haien kultura mantentzeko ahalegina eta “bazterreko frakzio batzuk ezik” euskaldunen agertzen zuten bortxaren gaitzezpena jasoz.

Perfektua izan ala ez, demokratikoki hautatutako estatu legebiltzar autonomo batek aho-batez egindako adierazpena izan zen. Baina dirudienez atzetik ibili zaio Rupérezi urte guzti hauetan. Pete hil eta apenas 72 ordu igaro zirela, Rupérezek bortxaren aurrean begiak itxi dituen ahalegin baten “inspiratzaile eta buru ikusgarri” bezala salatu zuen Pete. Ahalegina, Idahoko senatuko buruak esan omen zuenaren arabera Espainiako aferei buruzko “tokiko ordezkarien muturreko ezjakintasunaren” eta “erretiratu aurretik hartutako azken ekimenarekin Cenarrusari atsegin emateko nahi orokorraren” ondorio izan zen, haren ustez. Rupérezen aburuz Pete ez zen Idahoko euskal komunitatearen adierazgarri tipikoa, eta baziren beste batzuk merezimendu handiagokoak.

Ez dugu Rupérez ezagutzen. Baina hark ere ez ditu euskaldunak ezagutzen, eta ziur dakigu ez zuela Pete ezagutu.  Pertsona txikia behar du oso, hil berri denaren bizkarrean labana sartzen duenak. Gutako batzuk euskaldun amerikar hau pertsonalki ezagutzeko ohorea izan genuen. Edozelan ere, euskal nortasuna Euskal Herrian eta Euskal Herritik kanpo babesteko Pete-ek egindako ekarpen izugarria islatu nahi izan dugu (ikus hausnarketa pertsonalak About the Basque Country eta The Bieter Blog helbideetan). Mezu hau sinatzen duten lau blogek ezinezkoa dute geldi egotea Pete Cenarrusaren izenaren belzte publiko honen aurrean. Post hau libreki zabaldu eta zure egitera gonbidatzen zaitugu, zure blog, webgune edo sare sozialetan.

Rupérezek Mark Twaini hartu omen dion aipu batekin ixten du bere artikulua “Heriotza guztiak ez dira berdin hartzen”. Again egia da. Edonola ere, Rupérez jaunari ziurtatzeko moduan gaude Pete-en heriotza bizitzan zehar gauza handiak egin dituenak merezi dituen tristezia eta errespetu osoz hartua izan dela. Javier Rupérez bezalako pertsonentzat bereziki egokia den Mark Twainen beste aipu batekin amaitu nahi genuke: “Hobe da ahoa itxi eta ergela iruditzea, ahoa zabaldu eta zalantza oro uxatzea baino”.

Agur eta ohore, Pete

Sinatuta:

A Basque in Boise (ingelesez)

About the Basque Country (gastelaniaz)

Basque Identity 2.0 (euskaraz)

The Bieter Blog (ingelesez)

The Angry Brazilian (portuguesez)

8 Probintziak (frantsesez)

EuskoSare (ingelesez)

Buber’s Basque Page (ingelesez)

———————————————————–

PETE CENARRUSA (1917-2013)
Idahoko abeltzaina, euskal separatista.

96 urterekin zendua, Cenarrusak, hala laburtu baitzuen aitaren Zenarruzabeitia abizena, Idahoko estatuaren bizitza politiko eta sozialaren protagonismoa izan zuen ia hiru hamarkadatan zehar, behin baino gehiagotan hautatua izan zen tokiko legegintzaldian eta urteetan zehar bete zuen Estatu idazkari papera laborarien lurraldean. Haren gurasoek XX. mende hasieran egin zuten alde Euskal Herritik Estatu Batuetara, aberrikide askok legez, Amerikar Mendebaldeko abeltzaintzaren artzain eskaerari erantzunez.

Laster, euskal jatorriaz jakitun, lurraldekideen oroitzapen indibidual eta kolektiboak suspertzen saiatu zen eta hirurogeita hamargarren hamarkadan jarduera honek joera nazionalista indartsuak hartu zituen. Ez zuen alferrik nabarmendu EAJ-k “euskaldun unibertsalaren” “Sabino Arana” sariarekin.

2002an joera abertzale hauek ETAren jarduera terroristari ezikusia egiten zioten, Espainia eta Frantziaren “gatazkaren amaiera” negoziatzearen aldeko jarrera eskatzen zuen eta Euskal Herriaren autodeterminazioa eskatzen zuen Idahoko ganbera legegileen memorandumaren saiakeraren forma hartu zuten. Cenarrusa saiakeraren inspiratzaile eta buru ikusgarria izan zen, zeinentzako Ibarrecheren Eusko Jaurlaritzaren eta “Gara” eta “Egunkaria” kazetarietan gorpuztutako Batasunaren terminalen laguntza izan zuen. Lurraldean bisitari ohikoak hauek, orduko tokiko legegile eta oraingo Idahoko hiriburu Boiseko alkate David Bieterren abegikotasuna izan zuten.

José María Aznarren gobernuak George W. Bushen Etxe Zuria maniobraz ohartarazi zuen, eta honek Idahoko legegileei Espainia bezalako herrialde lagun eta aliatu batentzat iraingarri izan litezkeen testuak onartzearen desegokitasuna ikusarazi zien. Estatu Saileko bozeramaileak adierazpen irmoa egin zuen, tartean “Espainiar herriak erregularki ETA deituriko erakunde terroristaren biolentzia” jasaten zuela baieztatuz. Justuki Cenarrusa/Bieter/Ibarreche/Gara/Egunkaria memorialak jaso nahi izan ez zuena. Izan ere, babesle hauen ahaleginak ahalegin, testu zuzendua izan zen azkenean Idahoko legebiltzarkideek onartu zutena.

2003ko urtarrilean izan zuen Idahoko Senatuko presidenteak espainiar Gobernuari gertatutakoaren inguruko atsekabea adierazteko aukera, tokiko ordezkariek espainiar aferei buruz zuten ezezagutza sakonari eta Cenarrusari honek Estatu Idazkari izateari utzi aurretik atsegin eman nahiari egotzi ziolarik gertakari osoa. Robert I. Geddes senatariak euskal jatorriko abeltzain eta politikariari erregutu zion “hurrengoan Espainiari gerra deklaratu nahi izanez gero, aurretiaz ohartarazteko, gaizkiulerturik eman ez zedin”. Orduantxe bertan izendatu zuen Idahoko Senatuak Espainiak Washingtonen zuen enbaxadorea Estatuko ohorezko hiritar. Eta Espainiak ofizialki izendatu zuen Adelia Garro Simplot, euskal ondorengoa hau ere, demarkazioko ohorezko kontsul. Garro Garroguerricoechevarriaren laburdura da. Cenarrussak, zeinek ez dion hil arte Espainia konstituzional eta demokratikoaren aurkako itsukeriari utzi, ezin zen izan euskal komunitatearen ordezkari bakarra Idahon. Mark Twainek liokeen bezala, heriotza guztiak ez baitira berdin hartzen.

Javier Rupérez. Espainiako enbaxadorea Ameriketako Estatu Batuetan (2000-2004)

[* Itzultzailearen oharra: Izen eta abizen guztiak jatorrizko testuan bezala jaso dira, aldaketarik gabe.]


 

Recap: Volume II, 2012

The year 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of the evacuation of thousands of Basque children as a result of one of the darkest periods in European contemporary history—i.e., the Spanish Civil War. Its consequences in Basque soil were shattering, particularly for the civil society and its children. In 1937, over thirty small towns and villages in Bizkaia were intentionally bombarded by Generalissimo Francisco Franco´s Nazi allies to demoralize the Basque resistance. This provoked a massive organized departure of its youngest population. Some of the children were exiled to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, having to endure, also, the outbreak of World War II. Many of them even enlisted in the Red Army (“No place for children,” March post).

Some of the children´s testimonies were collected in an oral history video—“Gure Bizitzen Pasarteak—Fragments of our Lives”—as part of an ongoing project that also took me to the land of the Basques in the United Sates (“#EuskalWest2012,” September post). The research attempts to uncover the lives of Basque migrants and exiles who had returned to the Basque Country as a way to make sense of the “injured” collective memory of an entire generation, which, undoubtedly, needs to be healed by acknowledging their sacrifice and suffering (“Mundos invisibles”—“Invisible worlds,” November post).

America was quite present in the blog throughout the year. It is well known the historical significance of this continent for the Basques as it has become a second home for hundreds of years, weaving a tight web of emotional geographies (“Etxea”—“Home,” April post). It is also known, to a certain extent, the relevance of some of the Basque migrants and descendants in the history of their countries of residence as in the cases of Julián Irízar (Argentina) and Jean Esponda (United States). Basque-Argentinian Lieutenant Commander Irízar led a successful rescued expedition in 1903 to the Antarctica, which also became the first official voyage of Argentina to the continent. One of the islands in the Antarctic Argentine Islands was named in his honor (“The Irízar Island,” February post). On the other hand, Johnson County, Wyoming, designed a flag to commemorate the State Fair´s 100th anniversary, which depicts the Ikurriña or Basque flag in order to honor the county´s Basque origins. This goes back to the arrival of Jean Esponda in 1902 from the Old Country. The Johnson County´s flag is the first official Basque flag outside the European homeland (“The Flag,” August post).

Also, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Basque Fellowship Society “Euskal Erria” (Sociedad de Confraternidad Vasca) from Montevideo (Uruguay), the Basque Center Zazpirak-Bat from Rosario (Argentina), and the Basque Home (Euzko Etxea) from Santiago de Chile (Chile). These diaspora associations as many others worldwide are good examples of tenacity and steadiness (“ehun”—“100,”May post; “En nuestro propio mundo”—“In our own world”, June post, respectively).

Similar to last year, the most visited post also happened to refer to politics (“Tiempo de promesas”—“Time for promises,” October post). In the occasion of the elections to the Parliament of the Basque Autonomous Community, I attempted to explain the reasons behind the traditional low participation of diaspora Basques, and the importance, in my opinion, for the diaspora to be involved in homeland politics. It is there where diaspora politics are designed and shaped. It is there where the voices of the Basques abroad need to be heard.

Confronted with one of the most acute crisis that recent generations have witnessed, let´s remember Viktor Frankl´s— a Holocaust survivor—words, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Indeed, new but difficult times are ahead of us (“Tiempos nuevos”—“New times,” December post).

In June, Basque Identity 2.0, celebrated its 3rd anniversary. Special thanks to our colleagues from eitb.com, A Basque in Boise, and About the Basque Country for their continuous support.

Thank you all for being there. I would love to hear from you. Happy New Year!

Eskerrik asko eta Urte berri on!

(NOTE: Please feel free to use Google automatic translation service…it seems to have improved, just a little bit).

Creative_Commons