This article was translated by John R. Bopp
We are firm believers in the idea that belonging to the Basque community, at home or abroad, is a conscious decision, the acknowledgment of a feeling of belonging. But, at the same time, we love the idea that pops up rather too often that the Basques are “indigenous” or “aboriginal” Europeans.
The idea that, in the case of the Basques, race and culture were inseparably linked might have been true in the first or even fifteenth century. The reality since then, however, is very different: being Basque is, as we never tire of saying, a feeling, a conscious decision, and not an aspect of biology.
But what still makes Basques today, both in the Basque Country and around the world, part of this indigenous European community are culture and traditions. Those are still a defining element, the true nexus that unites Basques over the centuries. Culture and traditions are a living reality, which change and adapt, but are still closely tie us all together through time.
Why are we bringing all this up? Because it’s one of the ideas that has popped in our heads as we were reading a chronicle by Erica Moser for the newspaper The Day, telling of a fiesta this weekend organized by the New England Basque Club in New London, Connecticut. We’d already announced in on the blog.
We never get tired of reminding our readers of how much we Basques owe our compatriots spread all over the world. It’s a debt we must bear in mind when we see the hardships many Basques are living through, in Venezuela, for example, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
The Basque network that extends around the world was key for our survival as a cultural and political reality in very hard times. Today, it serves other functions, which are no less important. They’re our permanent ambassadors, leading volunteers in spreading a positive image of the Basques in their adopted lands. And they are not least enthusiastic activists for preserving our culture, adapting it to the new surroundings.
This weekend, some Basques in New London and other places in North America have shown their co-citizens what it’s like and what it means to be Basque. This happens all over the world, in every Basque center, day after day, year after year. Without their effort, without their work, without their commitment, there is no doubt that our homeland would be a lot less homeland, and it’s quite likely that, without them, our nation would be a lot closer to being nothing but a memory for the history books.
So, thanks to them, to all the Basques all over the world, the ikurriña, the standard-bearer of the Basque homeland, flies all over the globe.
The Day – 25/6/2018 – USA
New London festival celebrates Basque culture
New London — Under dozens of tiny Basque flags, visitors sipped wine and ate paella as they watched the Gauden Bat Basque dancers perform the Cortez dance, from one of the southernmost Basque towns. After performing a dance that celebrates a plentiful fish harvest and after dancing the Aurresku, a traditional dance done in honor of an authority, they were on their penultimate dance.