This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Sofia Weiss, born in Chile to a Swiss-British father and a mother whose last name was Goitiandia, but a resident in Cambridge, writes for, among other sites, the independent student newspaper Varsity, first published in 1947, at the University of Cambridge, where she studies.
There, she’s written about many topics, and on October 6, she surprised us with a magnificent article about what it means “to be Basque”, and how it’s live by a Basque-descendent like her, who comes from a different cultural reality. She doubts whether she belongs to the Basque reality; we reply, as we always do, that if you feel Basque, you are Basque.
We have to admit that the text was beautiful, and full of that “Basque-ness” that, no one knows how, is transmitted and preserved through time, distance, and cultural merging; that “Basque-ness” that makes her feel like she’s at home when she comes to the Basque Country; that “Basque-ness”, that “Basque spirit” that has helped this pre-Indo-European culture survive with a centuries-old exclusively oral tradition and a small population that’s never had a political structure backing it through kingdoms, empires, conquests, and persecutions.
She tells it very well, even using a metaphor based on jai alai that perfectly shows that ability to withstand, to endure. Sometimes, when we see the history of our nation, we think of the word “resilience”, which ought to be a Basque word (erresilientzia).
It’s true that, unlike her, we don’t care if our people is talked about because of their “love of independence”, although it is true that we also think that really means that we don’t want our people to be associated only with violence, and we completely agree, not least because the vast majority of Basque who dream of the independence of their homeland, and who work for it, have never supported the use of violence.
What we do unequivocally agree with her about is that, for the whole world, the Basque have a lot to offer.
Varsity – 6/10/2017 – Gran Bretaña
Basque in the glory
here is little doubt that Catalonia’s referendum last weekend has reignited unrest in the question of provincial independence. It is perhaps not so well appreciated, however, that this extends beyond the borders of its own autonomy, and into the heart of a further region of Spain: the Basque country. Indeed, such issues are arguably twins of modern history – if non-identical ones – with the recent furore having its deepest roots in a backlash to Franco’s authoritarian regime, which proved determined to crush intra-state differences.
Journal version pag. 24-25 (PDF)