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Basque? What is that?!

by cat Wednesday, Jul. 30, 2003 at 6:59 PM

Who are the Basques and why does Spain call their culture terrorist? What is the truth?

Basque?  What is tha...
protest.jpguvei3s.jpg, image/jpeg, 250x171

This is a copy of a brochure being handed out in Donostia (San Sebastian), Basque Country, Spain:


This is neither France nor Spain

As you can see it in the map of Europe we have inserted in this leaflet for

you, the country of the Basques – “Euskal Herria “ in Basque language- is that

small Pyrenean territory of 20,000 square kilometres composed (3.000.000 inhabitants) sof seven


“Lapurdi”, “Behe-Nafarroa” and “Zuberoa” under French administration, and


“Bizkaia”, “Gipuzkoa” and “Nafarroa” under Spanish administration.

We have also a language of our own, “euskara”, on both sides of the


border, which separates us. As you can see in this leaflet, it is completely

different from the languages we live with in our territory, French and Spanish.

Our language, of unknown origin and kinship, is according to all the researches

done the most ancient language in Europe, since it is pre-indoeuropean. With

it, we have been developing , for thousands of years and on this territory

which we claim, our own culture, our own history, our own institutions.

A people whose existence is denied

However, and despite everything, “Euskal Herria” is still today a country

that does not exist officially, a People in danger of extinction. In opposition

to what the majority of the Basque population wants, neither the Spanish state

nor the French state recognise us as a People, that is why they refuse us

the Right to Self-determination. As a consequence, and against our will, our

territory is nowadays divided between two states (France and Spain) and in

three different administrative regions ( Aquitaine, Navarre and the Autonomous

Community). Our language is not official in all the Basque territory. We do

not have national Basque institutions of official character. We do not have

a legislation of our own. We do not have the same rights in all the Basque


An endless fight in favour of our recognition

Fruit of this historical and violent denial of the existence of our Nation by

both states, the Basque People has been struggling for centuries for its


for its survival. Unfortunately, it has never had the political ways to do

it and this is the reason why no generation of Basque people has ever known

peace in , at least , the last three centuries.

As a consequence of this historical conflict not solved by the political way,

there are nowadays in “Euskal Herria” 670 Basque political prisoners. Almost

150 of them are in French prisons and more than 500 are in Spanish prisons.

There are also Basque political prisoners in Germany, England, Switzerland,

Argentina, Canada... And there are more than 2,000 Basque political exiles in

different countries all over the world - in Europe, Africa, South America and

the Caribbean. In addition to this, hundreds of Basque citizens are arrested

every year by all sorts of police in our country and lots of them denounce

the ill treatment and tortures they have suffered during the five days of


detention, actions collected every year by international institutions on

human rights.

But the violation of the civil and political rights of the Basques extends

to other fields. Since President José Maria Aznar - Bush and Blair’s partner

in the invasion of Iraq - got to power (1996), the Spanish Government has

closed two newspapers, “Egin” and “Euskaldunon Egunkaria”, which was the only

newspaper edited in Basque, it has closed a radio and the investigation


“Ardi Beltza”; it has banned the youth organisations “Jarrai”, “Haika” and

“Segi”; it has banned the organisations which worked for the Basque political

prisoners “Gestoras Pro-Amnistia” and “Askatasuna”; and finally it has banned

the political parties “Herri Batasuna”, “Euskal Herritarrok” and “Batasuna”,

the latter being the second political force in the last town council elections

which they could run for in 1999, obtaining almost 900 elected members (more than 250.000 voters). In

the elections of 25 May 2003, the pro-independence, socialist option “Batasuna” could not take part , and the vote for the 250


platforms was considered null by Madrid.

Political solution to the Basque conflict

If, within the European frame, it has been possible to start the process of

political and democratic resolution in Ireland, if dialogue has begun in

the same sense in Corse, the solution must necessarily follow the same way

in “Euskal Herria”. Repression, civil and political bannings, violations of

human rights, exclusion are never the solution. Franco tried during 40 years

under dictatorship. Felipe Gonzalez tried during the 14 years term of office,

even with state terrorism, called GAL. Jose Maria Aznar has been trying for

7 years, and he will leave without achieving it, next year after the General

Elections. The Basque people will not give up now. The solution is necessarily

political and it requires recognition of the Basque territoriality and


of the right to free determination, with participation of all the parts affected

in the conflict. The international institutions must favour such a way out as


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