Mendoza, Argentina. “Goodbyes are sad and the absence is painful, but we can’t give up because that’s not what Alicia would have wanted.” That is why Denak Bat is regrouping after the loss of their president and will do so with two activities that are open to the entire community. In this way with Javier Salvarredi as new president, the club will continue down the path set by Alicia Aguirre, who worked tirelessly for the Basque cause in Mendoza.
Activities will begin on May 26th at 8pm with the screening of the film The Forbidden Ikurriña of Atotxa,” by Jabi Elortegi. After the film, pintxos and drinks will be served at the clubhouse bar. Admission is free and open to the public.
On Sunday, the event will begin at 1pm to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the inauguration of Euskal etxea, Aberri Eguna and the Revolución de Mayo. The Basque-Argentine celebration will include an appropriate menu: empanadas criollas, beans, dessert and beverages. In the afternoon there will be dancing by the txikis, music and a video to commemorate the 15 years of the clubhouse. This emotional moment will be the perfect time to remember Alicia Aguirre among members and friends.
Alicia Aguirre Markuleta was born in the province of Mendoza on November 9, 1946. Her mother, Fermina Markuleta, was from Arruitz, Navarre, and came to Argentina to work along with her brother in a dairy. Her father, Atanasio Aguirre, also Navarrese, from Olazagutia, fled to Argentina “to avoid having to fight for Spain in the war in Melilla in Africa.”
Loving and admiring the Basque culture from the cradle, Alicia, not only worked hard to learn about the culture and language of her parents, but also to spread them in her hometown. In this way, she became involved with the Denak Bat Basque Club in Mendoza early on, in 1998, since the re-founding of the institution. “Moreover,” according to her family, “it was her that dedicated herself to finding locales that the club could rent, and it was she that found the building that is now the club’s headquarters that is now celebrating its 15th anniversary.”
Alicia was a director of the club. She held various positions until she was elected its president in 2014, a position she held until the time of her death. But she will be remembered for much more. Alicia was a promotor and organizer of activities. In the words of the Basque students at Denak Bat, “she was a wonderful host and a teacher heart and soul. She was very interested in the students, and shared much information with us including geography, history, mythology; dances….She helped us discover our Basque roots through landscapes and customs. Preaching by example and with tenacious Basque will she would ask young people to do things conscientiously, to commit themselves to work hard and always to keep their word. They were her favorite and they elected her president. We will also miss her ‘ongi etorri.’”
Not only her students, but her Basque colleagues, her “ikaskideak” in the Euskara Munduan program where she was trained as a teacher, all will miss her company, her humor, and they also emphasize, “above all this ‘ongi etorri’ with that tone that betrayed the Basque mix of Mendoza,” professors in the HABE program told EuskalKultura.com.
Alicia worked hard to include Basque instruction at the club and even made it one of its main activities. “She achieved everything she proposed,” they said from Denak Bat. “But her unexpected death won’t put out the flame, that was lit and will undoubtedly illuminate every Basque club that needs her breath and her iron will to optimize it,” students at Denak Bat expressed emotionally.