This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Dr. Carla Buck is an associate professor of Hispanic studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, which is the second oldest university in the US.  She’s just written a long and interesting article in the university’s newspaper to tell about the experiences she and her students had on a school trip to the Basque Country.

The content of this article seems so relevant to us because it gives us a good idea of how stereotypes work and what the “image” created by the advertising and propaganda of Spain of is like.  It also shows how the best way to counter that distorted image is direct contact.

In addition to that idea that we all dance flamenco, go to bullfights, and eat paella, there are other, more subtle, stereotypes that are harder to get rid of.  One of those is that “tunnel vision”, which we see when we find that the only reference to the Basques’ struggle for freedom is the ETA. This struggle is over two centuries old, and that terrorism was but a part.  A dark, painful, terrible part, but only a small part.

Fortunately, as always, the people who visit our nation come to realize very quickly that that image is distorted and unfair, created by a few people, and amplified by a few more who’d like to see our homeland diluted and erased.

Travelling alongside Atxaga for a few hours, from his fictional Obaba to the very real Asteasu, is undoubtedly the best way to destroy those misconceptions about our country that have been broadcast for the last few decades all over the world.

In any case, we thought this was a magnificent story, and we simply must thank Dr. Buck for her thoughtfulness and fondness for our land.  There’s no doubt that this opens up the door to her to join the “Friends of the Basques” club, people for whom we have great respect and admiration.

To finish with, we’d like to make a small contribution to the information Dr. Buck provided her students with.  It’s the letter John Adams, Founding Father and second President, included in his “A Defense of the Constitutions of the United States”.  We’re referring to the l’art he dedicated to the “República Foral de Bizkaia”, which reflects the way of life in a part of our country before we had to try to recover our stolen freedoms.  The letter, and the adventures of two US presidents in the Land of the Basques can be read about here on the blog. Also, of course, we need to mention the profound impact Basque have had on the US!

Flathat News – 9/4/2019 – USA

Carla Buck reflects on student trip to Spain, importance of Basque culture

During spring break, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Carla Buck took a group of eight students to Euskadi, a Basque region in northern Spain. Buck wanted to showcase Spain’s diversityespecially beyond the well-known flamenco dancers and bull fights that are commonly associated with Southern Spain.   

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