This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Few things about this small country of ours call more attention than its amazing ability to get noticed. This constant throughout its history has allowed it, a small and settled community on poor land (except for the few years of iron ore extraction), has been able to have an influence and a presence far beyond what the logic of numbers and its population would expect.
In this view that the world has of us, there’s a mixture of curiosity, contempt, sympathy, antipathy, bewilderment, fear, admiration, stereotypes, ignorance, and preconceptions. I imagine that this is what any society would feel about comments from “others” about “us”.
But in the case of the Basques, there is also a series of matters that make us a “special case”: the existence of a national identity supported by a language and a people whose history is lost in the mists of time; the presence of a “conflict” with violent edges that has lasted for over 150 years, and in the last 20 has become even more dramatic; the division into two States that, in different but very resolute ways, deny the existence of a society with a right to decide; the will of a significant part of the Basques to want to decide about its future; a developed society that is able to turn a land without resources, with training and initiative, into an international economic and industrial role model; an influence on history in so many more corners of the world than the small population would lead one to expect…
All these elements allow us to have an important influence in the media. In every corner of the world, they talk about this small people that lives at the western edge of the Pyrenees. Not that it isn’t true that on many occasions, what is written about us is so far from reality that it seems they’re not talking about us, but another reality entirely.
This blog is not going to talk about itself much, because its objective is to show how the world sees the Basques, or better yet, it’s going to collect how international media describe the realities of our country. It’s born of the author’s conviction that we Basques (society, institutions, and companies) ourselves are not aware of what the world is saying, and how much they’re saying, about “us”. What’s more, what they say about us often has nothing to do with reality, as a lot of it is nuanced, as seen through the lens of the great media agencies of France and Spain.
That’s why Spanish and French media when discussing the territories under their administration will have little presence here — for the simple reason that they do not interest me. But I do have to admit that comments and “information” from many media in the Kingdom of Spain or the French Republic really ought to be the cause of a profound psychological analysis of their authors.