It was recently his birthday, so we wanted to write an entry on Mikel Ezkerro, an important figure in Basque culture in Argentina and indeed all of South America.
He’s one of those key links that makes up the chain that is the history of a nation. Ever since Sabino Arana planted the seed of the idea that “Euzkadi is the land of the Basques,” a long chain of people have work hard to maintain, spread, and strengthen it.
He has a direct connection to all those generations. He knew great Basque patriots in both Argentina, where so many of them took refuge after Franco’s victory, as well as in the Basque Country, during the years he spent here studying and living.
Vídeo with photos of Mikel Ezkerro – Emilia Bastida
For example, he was quite close with the three Irujo brothers, and was a very close childhood friend of Pello Mari Irujo. We wrote a detailed entry about them here on the blog. Just via that relationship, Mikel Ezkerro connected with so many of the Basques who fought for the Cause of the Basque People in the war against fascism and the dictatorship, just like previous generations had done, including Arana himself. Daniel Irujo Urra, the father of Manuel, Pello, and Andrés María, wsa the lawyer who represented Sabino Arana during his trial for sedition.
Mikel Ezkerro took that legacy all those who came before had left him and dedicated his life to studying the history of the Basque Country, of the Basques in Argentina, and of the Basques around the world. And he did so to share it and thus plant more seeds of patriotism and give the youth the knowledge of their roots.
We always say that the contribution and work of the Basques of the Diaspora, of those who still feel Basque while living outside their homeland, is fundamental. It always has been, and it still is, but most importantly, it will be in the future. All we have to do is look at the articles we’ve collected about Basques in the World to understand how important these compatriots and their contributions are to our history and our survival as a nation.
We need so many Mike Ezkerros. We need them in every country in the world, and we need them here at home. We are a “stateless nation”, divided into three administrative identities across two states. If we are to have a future, it will be thanks to the work of each of us, and our commitment, beyond political options.
Mikel Ezkerro is a compendium of all those qualities, a role model and for decades a key piece to the preservation and sharing of who we are and of what we want to be in Argentina and in South America.
He is one of the strongest links between what we are today and the chain that links us back through the history of our People.
We’ve been wanting to dedicate an entry to him for a while, as a symbol of respect, admiration, and gratitude. What finally got us to do it was an entry we say on the Facebook page of the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea / Limako Arantzazu Euskal Etxea, honoring his birthday. It was a beautiful congratulations, complete with a text and video of photos compiled by Emilia Bastida, director of the documentary “Mi abuela y yo“, in which she reflects on our identity, which is based on our family.
We’re sharing the congratulations we found on Facebook, but if you don’t have access to Facebook, we’re also including the video (below) and the happy birthday text (further below).
We’d also like to share with you an article/interview by Gonzalo Javier Auza published in Euskonews in 2003. We’re sharing it because it helps us remember the importance of the work this Basque-Argentine did for so many decades, how this Basque oak was planted in Argentina, and grew up to be an ombu tree without ceasing to be an oak. That’s the miracle of the Basques of the Diaspora: Being, among all citizens, the best, in the adopted homelands, without ceasing to be Basque. Just like Lehendakari Aguirre said.
Euskonews – 2003 – Euskadi
Mikel Ezkerro, un peregrino de la cultura. “La mies es mucha pero los obreros son pocos”
Con sus casi dos metros de altura, su físico delgado y sus rasgos vascos detrás de unos anteojos prominentes resalta de modo inmediato en cualquier grupo humano. Así, es imposible no reconocer físicamente a este directivo de la colectividad vascoargentina. Hasta quienes nunca han hablado con él saben quién es Mikel Ezkerro.
Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea / Limako Arantzazu Euskal Etxea to Mikel Ezkerro on the day of his birth (May 8, 2020)
Mikel Ezkerro is a sower. He’s spent his whole life sowing the Homeland and Thirst for Freedom. He manages to meld two great loves into one: that for Argentina and that for Euzkadi. From childhood, he was protected by strong oaks, which had been grown in the Basque Country and transplanted to that land of refuge Argentina became for so many who gave it all for there beloved Freedom, as Lauaxeta said.
Today is his birthday. Time has passed, and that oak-ombú sapling which fed on the knowledge of so many good Basques is now one of the strongest role models of Basque culture in the New World.
His shadow stretches long, covering everything, and offering knowledge and experience to the Basques here and there. When he speaks, we all listen. When he speaks, we all learn.
In his branches, in his roots, he preserves an important part of the spirit of that heroic generation of Basques who, facing the most horrible of situations, showed that our homeland still has its strength, conviction, and dedication.
Today is his birthday. That great oak, that great ombu, has come so far, and has still so far to go. On this day, we’d like to share with him the care, respect, and admiration so many of us have for him.