This article was translated by John R. Bopp
As we began writing this entry, we started remembering how when we were kids, we used to go to choral concerts of Basque music. Of all the songs they sang, there was one that especially moved us.
Despite being so young, we were aware that we were part of a People that had had to send a lot of its children to faraway lands, either to find a better life, or to escape the persecution of the enemies of our homeland.
Perhaps it was this awareness of the existence of so many of our compatriots spread across the globe that made it so that every voice in that choir shine every time that magical zortziko rhythm began playing El Roble y el Ombú (The Oak and the Ombú), we felt an intense emotion we were not able to explain.
As the years went by, however, we started to understand the depth of the message of that song. Our Basque brothers traveled to every corner of the world, loyally integrating into their adoptive societies, working hard, committing to the community, and doing so in a way that, in many places, “a Basque man’s word” became synonymous with seriousness and trust.
But even with time, they kept their Homeland in their hearts, even when they were forced to leave. That’s why they tried to make it so that that idealized, perfect Basque Country they kept in their hearts would grow up around them wherever they were. They created small pieces of their Homeland wherever they lived, and transmitted their love for the Basque Country to their children.
It’s been such that, even generations later, their descendants still consider themselves Basque: it’s what they feel in their hearts. They didn’t refuse to become a part of their new home, but they never forgot their roots. Thus, they stayed true to the words the Bard Iparragirre wrote in the poem “Gernikako Arbola”: “Eman ta zabal zazu munduan frutua” (Go forth and spread the fruit around the world).
You may be asking yourselves why we’re blogging about this. Well, it’s because one of our readers sent us a link to a video that brought all this back to our memory, and made us once again feel proud of our brothers abroad, those who take the Basque Country around the world.
We just wonder if we Basques here at home will be able to take care of our Homeland (and theirs) with the same commitment and intensity.
We’ll leave you with a video they sent us that inspired this entry. We’ll also leave you with a video of a group of homeland Basques who sing that song that so moves us.
An homage to all the Basques who are still Basques wherever they are
El Basko del acertijo
El roble y el ombú