This article was translated by John R. Bopp

We don’t normally attend official events, but the Day of the Diaspora was, without a doubt, one event we couldn’t miss.  So, as we’d been invited, we went to the office of the Lehendakari.

Moreover, and this is a point of special pride, we went in representation of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Arantzazu in Lima, meaning that through us, this fraternity was able to participate in a new meeting with the Lehendakari, after the one held in 1942 when Lehendakari Aguirre visited Lima.  As we’ve said, it was an honor we couldn’t thank enough.

We normally get the impression, quite often, at these official homage events that the one being paid homage to is the “lesser protagonist”.  Well, in this case, we didn’t get that impression at all.  In the hour or so that the event lasted, in addition to feeling surrounded by Basques who were members of Basque Centers in the Americas, we were also able to attend an event in which the true protagonists were the Basques of the Diaspora. It was also emceed quite well by presenter, and Basque Diaspora member, Julian Iantzi.

It got started just after 10:30 with a wonderful introduction by bertsolaris Xabier Euskitze and Maddalen Arzallus.

Then, two Basques from the New World Diaspora took the stage to present their hemisphere from point to point: Rocío Basterra, from Patagonia, and Martin Goicoechea, a bertsolari from Wyoming (“Wyoming?” you ask – yes, and highly influential, as is shown by the story of the flag of Johnson County, based on an ikurriña).

Martin Goicoechea offered us one of the most emotional moments when he sang some “bertsos”, when the emotion overtook him and he blanked.  He had a bad moment, but we in the audience got to live the emotion felt by a Basque, from Navarre, who lives tied to two lands.

We also got to enjoy several dances by young people visiting the Basque Country as part of the Gaztemundu program organized by the Basque Government and members of the Mulixka group out of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The most institutional part of the event was at the hands of the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Marian Elorza, and the Lehendakari himself, Iñigo Urkullu, who concluded the event,  From his speech, we’ve collected some key ideas, which we’ve summarized live in this entry on our Facebook page.

(Translation: Lehendakari Iñigo Urkulu closes the official event celebrating the Day of the Diaspora. Ideas on the speech / The Basques have their roots on both sides of the Pyrenees / Because of need, they emigrated, mostly to the Americas/ Basques in the world have transmitted the best image of our society: commitment, word of honor, a hardworking nature / The Basques of the Diaspora have maintained their connection to their Homeland / A reminder to the countries which took in our emigrants. Now we must take in / A specific quote on the situation of the Basque Community in Venezuela, highlighting the government’s commitment to helping them in their time of need / There is a feeling of community that has been woven in large part by the Euskaletxeak / That network is fundamental for the future of our country / Thanks to the Euskaletxeak for their hard work, past and present / This day is being celebrated by Basque Centers all over the world / A reminder of those who came before, of the Basques who kept the flame of “Basqueness” alive in the world)

This was definitely an amazing event to commemorate this day dedicated to the Basques around the world.  And now, we’ll leave you with our personal reflections:

A day to remember and honor those who came before, those who “were”; a day to feel joined together to those who, around the world, feel Basque: a day to help spread this feeling of belonging that makes us a nation;…
But also, a day for solidarity, and a day for commitment.
Today, feeling closer than ever to our compatriots, we have to plan our future, to guarantee that those who follow us “will be”.
Just as we have to think about how to create networks of collaboration and mutual aid.  We have the “building blocks”, the Basque Centers, the feeling of belonging of our compatriots around the world.  But it is our responsibility to build something amazing with those (harri-jasotzaile stone) blocks, which will help our homeland, and our people, progress with strength and energy towards the future.
Zorionak eta eskerrik asko to all the Basques around the world for your solidarity and commitment.  You have earned this day, thanks for being an asset to our Society.

We’ll leave you with the videos that we shared directly on Facebook, which are proving to be quite popular, as well as with the video of the whole act that was streamed, and the summary text published on Irekia, which include’s the Lehendakari’s speech.

Irekia – 8/9/2018 – Euskadi

El Lehendakari recuerda el carácter migrante de Euskadi en el Día de la Diáspora Vasca


El Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu ha presidido esta mañana el acto institucional organizado en Lehendakaritza con motivo del Día de la Diáspora Vasca. El Lehendakari ha recordado diferentes momentos en los que el Pueblo Vasco ha salido al exterior. Hoy ha reconocido la labor de la diáspora vasca por “mantener nuestra cultura, las tradiciones y el idioma de generación en generación a miles de kilómetros de Euskadi”. Se trata de un colectivo que, a juicio del Lehendakari, “nos enriquece en el presente y nos ayuda a marcar un camino hacia un futuro cada vez más abierto al mundo”, ha afirmado. Atendiendo al carácter migrante de Euskadi, el Lehendakari ha señalado que “no podemos mirar para otro lado como sociedad” ante la llamada de otros pueblos “en busca de un futuro mejor”.

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