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Delphine Paris, A Basque in New York

Today’s entry is an adaptation from Basque of the article I publish every week in Herria of Bayonne:

Today I would like to share with you something that happened to me in New York a few days ago.  I would like to introduce you to the person that I met on October 13 on a street in the city of skyscrapers, on my way back to the hotel after participating in the Columbus Day Parade.  I was wearing a berret (txapela/boneta) with a typical neckerchief and a polo shirt with Basque colors with the Eusko Etxea of New York’s emblem on it.  I was carrying on my back the accordion I had played during the parade that is filled every year with music, rhythm and color along 5th Avenue.  I got out of the bus and a woman approached me in Basque.  

We started to talk and I found out that she was originally from Arnegi in Lower Navarre and had been living in the city for nearly 50 years.  Her name is Delphine Paris and is from the house of Borderria in the neighborhood of Ondarrola in Arnegi, and is 81 years old.  She is in good heath and I soon realized that her mind works very well and her spirit even better.  She lives in New York, retired, alone, surrounded by the American lifestyle, with Irish and German friends but no Basques nearby.  She tells me, “You are the first Basque that I have met in the city in the 47 years that I’ve been here.”  She says in faultless Basque that “my father was from Luzaide and my mother from Ondarrola.  Some say that Basque isn’t worth much once you have left the Basque Country, but that’s not true.  It is my language and I am very happy that it is always with me,” she says, happy to have stumbled upon someone from home that she can visit with talking from the Basque soul that she goes into the world with.

2013 NY mendeurrena delphine paris

Delphine left the Basque Country when she was twenty.  She had a sister in London and so spent 10 years with her.  Her sister was going to be married, so she decided to move to the US, where she had a brother in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Her father had also been in the states for six years as a sheepherder, and Delphine clearly remembers his stories, that she heard as a child.  Two uncles, her father’s brothers, had been in California but both had returned to the Basque Country.  As in many other Basque families, America was something always present in her family.  And Delphine wanted to know America.  “Even as a child, I wasn’t interested in the lifestyle on the family farm (baserria), I had always wanted to leave, to get to know new places and after ten years in London, I decided to visit my brother in Salt Lake.  I already spoke English so I had no trouble getting a job.  After three months, I moved to San Francisco and after two years there, working in a large hotel, I decided to come to New York.”

Delphine worked in hotels and hospitals, helping older women, and she still does so today but as a volunteer, helping immigrants as an interpreter, since she is fluent in the four languages of the Basques: Basque, Spanish, French and English.  She has always enjoyed dancing and she used to dance in San Francisco, but she always shied away from marriage proposals: She always enjoyed her independence.  “I am happy, and I have had a good life, I can’t complain. I help others as I can, I have some social security and I am good.  My sister has asked me more than once to come live with her in London, but for the moment, I am fine here,” she explains.

We enjoyed our talk together.  Delphine has enjoyed an interesting and very rich life, not perhaps economically, but in the sense of personal experience.  She is a woman who knows very well who she is, and what she wants, and her priorities are set.  The fact that we ran into each other two weeks ago in New York, is practically a miracle in one of the largest cities in the world, where millions of people crowd and swarm without ever meeting each other.  I will stay in touch with Delphine.  I promised her that I would send her a book on Arnegi and its families recently published by Joseph Camino.  I will also send her this article; I’m sure that she will enjoy it.  Mila esker, thank you, Delphine.


In Defense of Aitzol Azurtza, in defense of the Diaspora

In recent years I have worked side by side and have interacted with many people in the Diaspora.  One of the humanly enriching things that makes my work in this area worthwhile is the people that you get to know, people who work relentlessly, giving generously of one’s free time and many times losing money --often times one’s own--, because it is what is necessary for that particular association, euskal etxea or center; people inspired by their ideas, feelings and for altruistic reasons, for coherence to their values, that sometimes affect the most cherished in each one of us: oftentimes the connection with family, with something so precious that you want to pass it on to the next generation; and sometimes questions that are difficult to explain, but not to feel or share, questions having to do with the affection and selfless work for the community and for the culture from which we hail, or have made our own that we want to share. The Diaspora is like that, and is comprised of many people like that.

One of these people is Aitzol, Aitzol Azurtza, who I met when he was teaching Basque at the Basque club in Miami, who then went to New York to help develop his work in favor of Euskara and the Basque culture, along with his Basque heritage that pervades his life, in the city of skyscrapers, holding different positions, the last of which was president of the New York Basque club, in a crucial moment for the entity, its Centennial. It was a position of great responsibility that required a great deal of work and dedication, knowing that accepting this position meant a great deal of commitment and vocation to service.  Yes, it was an honor and a privilege but in no way a gift.

Led by his commitment, Aitzol accepted the job, which included, besides the inherent tasks, he also had to clean, sweep, set up tables and chairs, and serve as a volunteer many times as well; because that is what usually happens in a volunteer organization where the norm is too much work for the hands available. And he did it, without pay, and with the best intentions, and without any desire for any recognition.  Taking on and representing the community, non-partisan nature of the institution. Adding to, and bringing of himself, just like the other members of the Eusko Etxea of New York.

Sure there were mistakes, of course there were, but not for lack of will or ill will, or of good intentions or spurious interests, nor in an attempt to cash in or exploit anything.  He was asked to commit and he did, because it was needed.  It's the spirit of Euskadik behar zaitu (Euskadi needs you).  And from here, in the name of the people at Eusko Etxea and the Diaspora in which I’ve inserted myself and this Basque universe that we share with Basques wherever they may be, it is truly appreciated, for whatever my opinion is worth.

From these lines goes my support for Aitzol before this infamous campaign that some media and interested opinions have leveled against him, airing questions about his personal life that has nothing to do with his work for the Eusko Etxea in New York, besides tossing out a cluster of lies in a deliberate attempt to ruin what was only done with the purest of intentions for a celebration of joy in the Diaspora.

In respect to the origin of the controversy, I 'm not going to go into the motives of the disagreement at the Gala and the famous video.  In the Diaspora people work hard, and not Eusko Etxea of New York with its Centennial, nor the Basque communities in the world, or Euskal Herria itself, the Basque family of which we are all a part, deserve what happened.  The Lehendakari was exchanging conversation with delegates that attended the NABO meeting on Saturday.  Bravo, he was able to introduce himself to many who didn’t know him until then.  So how did it end up as an ultimatum on Sunday? 

Dialogue in general is the key to life, and also in our relationship with the Diaspora that, let’s not forget, is composed of volunteers that leave their skin in the Basque clubs.  I refuse to believe that the Basques are called to never agree with each other.  The Diaspora has its own coordinates that coincide in part, with those of Euskadi, and should be approached with respect and dialogue, especially if there is mutual good will.  We have to intensify our efforts and put our common good before other interests.   What kind of Euskadi and Basque Country trade mark do we want to sell otherwise?

We only have a future if we are able to put our general interests before any other.  It has to start from love, because love is all this is about, about building country, working for our people and paying our best contribution to the world.  At least that’s how I see it.


A little here and there, answers to some questions and wishing you a good August

It is August, a unique month for many in the northern hemisphere where it is summer and Basque town's festivals time in the Basque Country. And Basque picnics season in the US.  One of those is  the one organized by the Mendiko Euskaldun Cluba in Gardnerville, Nevada that this year will be organized together with NABO Euskal Kantari eguna – the festival of bertsos and Basque song in the US.  Once again Mattin Etchamendy will emcee the event, with music by Jean Flesher and Panpi and Manuela Etchechury.

Some readers have asked about the periodic gaps in this section From my Corner.  It is for sure becoming more and more difficult to continue not just with these entries but with the whole project in general.  While we are able, we will be here, but economically things are not working out. Every year is a leap into the void where the expense column is fixed and the income column is always a big question mark.  At the current juncture, cut threaten to give us the coup de grace.  We are planning on meeting with the new team at Eusko Jaurlaritza in September.  We also need to see the response of other institutions and people  that have promised us things before, but have failed to follow through, and we are already more than half through 2013.

July ended with the Great Basque-Argentine Festival organized by the Corpus Christi Basque club in the Misiones province in Argentina.  They dedicated a day of the program to recording a short film on the situation facing the indigenous people there.  The result can be seen here.  The making of the film can be seen here.  Basque festivities also took place in Trois-Pistoles in Quebec thanks to the Parc de l'Aventure basque en Amerique. In August there will also be festivities in St Pierre et Miquelon, the French islands in Newfoundland that has incorporated the Ikurriña into the local flag.

From Buenos Aires, Norma Rios reported from the Iparraldeko Euskal Etxea that its short stories competition, “Once upon a Basque,” has marked October 15 as the deadline to turn in works.  We also heard from Henar Chico’s Blog that Bilbao’s Aste Nagusia festival has created a special website for people who would like to celebrate worldwide the festivities lead by Mari Jaia.

We also heard from our friends in Boise’s Biotzetik Basque Choir about their trip on August 31 to the San Diego Festival of Sail in California where they will sing Basque maritime songs accompanying Christine Echeverria Bender’s latest book presentation, Aboard Cabrillo's Galeon. We would like to remind you that this third generation Basque-American has specialized in the historic novel and that this is her fourth successful publication.  She will autographs in San Diego, a city like many in California, with a notable Basque history, and more specifically maritime, given the origins and early history of the city are linked to Basques.

And there are still festivals, like the one  in San Francisco, with Basque musicians, sportmen and singers from the Basque Country and a theater compamy from Armendaritze (Lower Navarre) that will perform, first in San Francisco and then in Chino, at both local Basque festivals, the last weekend in August (San Francisco) and the first in September-Labor Day (Chino, CA).

Our daily bulletin will return the first week of September.  Happy summer or winter depending on where you live. Gero arte,


Starting a new year with hope, among barnetegis and the sound of drums is starting the New Year with hope and a thousand plans in mind to advance and take new steps in the communication and cultural dissemination of the Basque reality wherever it may be found. We started January, as every year, working and concocting proposals.  Yes, we are optimistic, what can we do? We´ll persevere, and “Gero gerokoak,” that is something like saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” all the while continuing down our path.

As every year, January starts in the South American Cone with --home of more than half of the Basque clubs in the world-- on summer vacation.  But not all the clubs take a break, in Chascomus, for example, who just held Udaleku (Basque summer camp) 2013 that concluded last Tuesday in this city situated 124 kilometers south of Buenos Aires; last weekend, the Basques in Necochea celebrated their traditional Danborrada, San Sebastian’s festivities, this year a week earlier so as not to conflict with the city’s Festival of Communities, where the Basque community will also be represented. We will let you know about that tomorrow, in an article about Danborrada celebrations around the world.

Coinciding precisely with the Danborrada (or Tamborrada) celebration in Donostia and in different places in the Diaspora, another group of Basques, in this case Basques dedicated to the Basque language and its instruction in Latin America, will meet next weekend in San Nicolas de los Arroyos, on the boarder of the Argentinean provinces of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe, to hold their first barnetegi (boarding school) of the new four-year cycle of the Euskara Munduan program. I would like to emphasize that, besides the work done by Kinku Zinkunegi as coordinator of the program --he will travel from the Basque Country to attend the event-- the other three professors that will instruct in the barnetegi are all Basque speakers natives of the Diaspora, sons and daughters of Euskara Munduan and its predecessor program, Argentinan Euskaraz.


A Final Farewell to Jaime (Heguy) Brown and about the new government

In the last installment of “From my Corner” we mentioned the death of Jaime (Heguy) Brown, a Basque-American girl from California who passed away at the age of 19 after a two year battle with Ewing Sarcoma, bone cancer. Her funeral was last week's Monday in her home town of Los Banos, California just south of San Francisco, and was attended by a world of people and emotions.  Many people, and youth came, and many from long distances, to say their final farewell to Jaime.  The family had requested that her friends from the various Basque clubs come dressed in their dance costumes which many did.

Aita Mike Lastiri officiated at the service.  Among the participants were many friends, neighbors and friends from high school, people from Los Banos, and more non-Basques than Basque.  Many of her Basque friends traveled hundreds of miles to be there.  The mass was complete with dance, music, and Basque songs.  Her friends in the Klika played for her, and the txistu was played as well, there was dancing and singing in Basque, the songs chosen by Aita Lastiri and the family. 

Christian Jaureguy, a friend from NABO’s Udaleku, came from Chino (500 kms. South) to dance Agurra in her honor in front of her coffin that had passed through an archway of hoops held by her dancer friends, to the sound of the txistu and klika that she loved so.  At the reception, held at the fairgrounds, youth and adults alike danced a jota-fandango to say goodbye to their departed friend. 

I couldn’t attend.  I would have like to.  I met Jaime and a number of her friends that were there.  Other friends told me about the day.  John Ysursa wrote about the tribute NABO’s website in English.  You can read his article here.

The second part of today’s installment will be about the new government, responding to the number of questions we have received from people in the Diaspora who are interested, but who don’t follow Basque Politics daily, or they do so roughly. We know that the new lehendakary Iñigo Urkullu was sworn in under the Tree of Gernika last Saturday, and that the his eight members of his cabinet will do the same this morning, Monday, in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The machinery of the new government begins to move.  We would like it to speed up as soon as possible, and that the remaining apointments be made soon, so that work can begin. 

Additionally regarding the counselors themselves, there are some names that we recognize such as the Secretary General of the Lehendakaritza, Txus Peña, who held this position with Ibarretxe, and others who are close to the lehendakari Urkullu, in the Area of Communication, Manu Castilla, who comes from EiTB, and Iñaki Bernardo, the latter who was head of the press at the Bizkai Buru Batzar, and who know Basque clubs well as the person who coordinated the Euskal Etxeak magazine twenty years ago.

We need to remember that the current Directorate for Basque Citizens and Communities Abroad depends, at least according to the current organizational chart, on the Secretary General of Foreign Action, which in turn is dependent on the Presidency of the Government. The apointment of the new Director for Basque Communities Abroad is next.

With respect to this, some people have asked us about the call for Basque club grants for 2013 by the previous government that will be published in the Official Bulletin of the Basque Country this Friday.  This we are told, is standard procedure aimed to buy time and facilitate the management for the Basque clubs and federations, even though it is done with some suppositions that can be changed or adapted.  However, the thought is that it is important that the application period be open, and deadlines set as to not delay the concession, which always plays against Basque club economics.  This is a bit messy, but I hope it makes sense.  Until the next installment.




Jaime (Heguy) Brown dies in California just shy of her 20th birthday

Even though somewhat expected, it didn’t make the news any less shocking or cruel: Jaime died on Tuesday in Los Banos, California, surrounded by her family and friends after battling cancer for two years.  Jaime (some spell it Jamie) was very well-known in Los Banos and San Francisco, as well as in general among NABO youth.  She was a dancer as well as being very active, participatory, committed, and an Udaleku participant, first as a camper and then later as an aide.  She was a very nice girl of affable character, euskaltzale, hard worker and contributor who enjoyed many good friends in many Basque clubs.

The news of her death hits where it hurts the most.  She was only 19 years old; and would have been 20 on January 27.  She had all her life ahead of her.  It has been, and is very difficult for her family and friends.  However, this has led to the flourishing of the best part of Udaleku, the Diaspora and being Basque: friendship, solidarity, sharing moments, smiles and tears, while feeling part of a big family that is the Diaspora, and its Basque communities, friends from Basque dance, Udaleku or picnics.

That is how we met Jaime, as a child coming to Udaleku and who grew up sharing with many of the youth who will attend her funeral on Monday at noon.  The family has asked that her friends come in Basque dress, and that dancers come in their costumes.  And so that is what they will do coming from Utah, Idaho, Nevada and other places in California as well as others who have already confirmed their attendance, some of them traveling thousands of kilometers to say good bye to their friend and dance the last dance with her, as at Udaleku.

For those of us who can’t be there in person, we will join in from Euskadi, and other places in the world, in spirit dressed in the colors of the dantzari, in this “azken agurren garaia” (final farewell) that we share beside the fire, arm in arm, at Udalekus in the US, Uruguay, or Argentina to say good bye to our friends, but only until the next Udaleku in which Jaime’s voice will join in again with other members of the Basque family, “maitasunez besarkatuz, agur, agur, agur” (With a loving hug, agur, agur, agur).

Ez adiorik, Jaime. A heartfelt hug to her family and friends.

-Jaime’s obituary, here



St Martin, Basques affected by Sandy in New York and the new government in Euskadi

Last Sunday, November 11, was Saint Martin, a date that is celebrated throughout Euskal Herria linked to the custom of txerriboda and pig butchering in the rural areas, and key to festivities in towns and neighborhoods, or celebration by people whose name is Martin or Mattin, a traditional Basque name.  There are also many in the Diaspora who celebrate that date.  North American clubs come to my mind such as Zazpiak Bat in Reno, Nevada who gets together for San Martin dinner; or as in Madrid Euskal Etxea’s case who celebrated with a huge “babarrun-jatea” (bean feed) “with all of the accessories,” as doctrine dictates. 

We also saw important events taking place in previous weeks, towards the end of October like Semana Vascas (Basque Weeks) in Paraguay, in Asuncion (we will publish a summary soon) and in Argentina, in Rosario.  On the other side of the world one of the most flagship and international Basque writers, Kirmen Uribe, was in several cities in Japan and attended various appointments, meetings and talks with Japanese readers and fans of literature, and presented the Japanese translation of his novel Bilbao-New York-Bilbao.  Yes, the Basque language and literature written in Basque help to get to Japan and visit its universities and literary forums, and talk on equal footing, and share the love and passion with other literature fans, and professors in that culture.

The Week of Basque Cinema concluded in Berlin very successfully (zorionak!) as one event (along with others) like film,  where Basque clubs can serve as effective promoters of Basque artists, and their contemporary works, in this case on the big screen.  In the Big Apple, people are still talking about the film and cultural sessions that took place in September in New York as part of “Basque Cultural Exchange,” a proposal that placed our creators at the level that they deserve on the international cultural map.  Not to mention the EH Sona festival that is taking place in Barcelona until December 1, organized by the local Basque club. All of them are windows that Basque artists and creators open to the world.

It is true that’s Basque worldwide events agenda gets bigger every day despite us only puting together a few of the Basque activities, or those tied to the Basque world that take place every day.  Among those events, I am going to mention a special event that will take place this weekend at New York’s Eusko Etxea, coordinated by Baraxil Bengoa, to raise money and aide for Basques who were affected by Hurricane Sandy.  The hurricane caused extensive damage in the city, including Basque club members and families, who in some cases, have been living for many days in rather precarious conditions, without electricity.  It will be a pintxo dinner whose profits will go to the hurricane victims. (updated Nov, 16th, the event have been postponed, see the worldwide events agenda)

Finally, many readers have been writing asking about the new elected Basque government, who, how, appointments… Even though I am not an expert on the topic; I understand that there is a true expectation and anxiety surrounding this in the Diaspora, above all in the context of the economic crisis so I will begin to describe the timetable for the new parliament and Basque government.  On Tuesday November 20, the new Basque Parliament will be constituted and will elect in its first session its officers and new president (of the Parliament).  After that it will convene within 20 days for a meeting of the new chamber that will analyze the same incompatibility of its members and will call a new meeting in which they will talk about the election of a new Lehendakari who will most likely be Iñigo Urkullu, candidate from the EAJ-PNV (Nationalist Party).  This will probably take place in about a month, just before Christmas.

Once the Lehendakari is appointed by the Parliament, he will swear under the Tree of Gernika and make his new cabinet known.  In any case, from that moment, the respective ministers of the Government will have to form their teams and make appointments in the different levels, which would presumably situate us, in relation to the appointment of the person in charge of the office dealing with the Basque clubs affairs, at least the end of January or February; that is, the first appointment will be that of the Secretary General of Foreign Action (that is currently filled by Guillermo Echenique and prior to him by Iñaki Aguirre), who will appoint the Director for the Basque Citizens and Collectivities Abroad (incumbent being Julian Celaya,  preceded by Josu Legarreta).  Meanwhile, the Government will proceed to the budget extension for a short period because the 2013 budget will become its first priority task.   It is expected that the new budget will be presented in March.  The budget, its amount and distribution will show us which one is the real current situation and the panorama that awaits us in the New Year.


Basque Parliament Elections followed by Basque Weeks in Paraguay and Argentina

To tell you the truth, anyone reading this probably knows more than I do about the Basque Parliament election results held last Sunday.  I was traveling on Election Day, crossing the pond towards Paraguay since Monday the 22 marked the start of Basque Week in Paraguay and Argentina.

I read on the internet, and was told from our newsroom in Donostia-San Sebastian, that the preliminary results were EAJ-PNV 27, EH Bildu 21, PSE-EE-PSOE 16, PP 10 and UPyD 1, according to these it seems clear that the nationalist candidate, Iñigo Urkullu, will be the next Lehendakari one way or the other.

According to what polls had predicted so begins a new cycle in the Basque Government and surely for the country, during an unprecedented political and economic moment that will undoubtedly have its echo, its effect and its impact on the Basque clubs, and Basque communities in the world, who have more and more people wanting to participate and be more present in the Basque reality of an Euskadi that they feel more a part of.

Elections take place in the Basque Country, but meanwhile the Basque world in the Diaspora, with an eye on the results, marches on.  As a prelude to the second Basque Week that starts this Monday in Asuncion, Paraguay, the Basques of San Juan Bautista – the capital of the department of Misiones,  an hour’s drive from the capital -  carried out the ceremony, with the participation of local and regional authorities, of the laying of the corner stone (figuratively) of the Euskal Etxea in this city in which a portion of the population carries Basque surnames and heritage, to which they new want to give content, knowledge, and projection.

Besides the aforementioned attendance of authorities, a bus of representatives also attended from the Euskal Etxea Jasone from Asunción, with president Hector Izaguirre at the head, who was also joined by the delegate of the Basque Government in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Elvira Cortajarena, who came expressly for the event from Buenos Aires.

Today, Monday morning, various meetings and contacts will take place with the Paraguayan Administration at different levels, that will continue through the coming days.  Today, the inauguration of the exhibit commemorating the 75 anniversary of the Bombing of Gernika, talks and other activities that will also involve the Basque and Uruguay administrations continue on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The Basque club will introduce the activities, in particular those concerning tourism and bilingualism.  Paraguay is a country with a very significant presence of Guarani, although the language enjoys official status the hope is to advance and strengthen it in all spheres of daily life, academic, journalistic, educational, and so they find the Basque language case particularly interesting.  The Bizkaian singer, Joseba Gotzon will give a concert and Elvira Cortajarena herself, will give a talk on Euskadi today on Wednesday the 24, the night before the Day of the Statute.

We will continue to talk about all of this.  Thursday I will go to Rosario, to a very different celebration that is the Basque Argentinean National Week 2012 whose motto is “100 Years of Nationalism” and which will be attended, among other invitees, by be former lehendakari Ibarretxe.  This is a few days.  Segi pixkor.


We start a new school year… and on Wednesday a drawing!

 Today is the first business day in September, and a special one since for many in Euskal Herria and Europe it marks a return to normality, to school, or work after the summer months and the “summer atmosphere.”  For those who read us from the Southern Hemisphere, you are still in winter so this doesn’t apply to you until the end of the year.

I am writing from the offices in Donostia.  Yesterday, Sunday, we enjoyed great atmosphere as far as the weather as well as the overall regatta atmosphere, since each first and second Sunday of September the Bay of La Concha becomes incomparable during the traditional trainera races bringing many people, color, much bustle, and a festive atmosphere to the city, especially to the old part.

Today, however, it rained and has cooled off considerably and at 8am the lines of cars and small traffic jams have returned to our daily life, marking the reentry or the beginning of the four moths that remain in this complicated year of 2012.

The month of August didn’t mark any kind of lull in the activities in the Diaspora as it may have for some parts of Euskal Herria.  Last weekend the second edition of “Buenos Aires Celebrates” took place, organized by the city of Buenos Aires, dedicated in this case to the Basque Country, after the successful event it was in August of last year.  It is an initiative to honor as well as acquaint people who live there to aspects of culture and the reality of the various ethnic, cultural and national groups living in their midst, as reflected in the article that appears in our news section.

But Basque festivals, academic, and popular meetings have continued without interruption throughout the month all over the diaspora. And they continue. Today is a holiday in the US, Labor Day, and as a three-day weekend has been chosen by the Basques of the Chino Basque Club  to celebrate its picnic and annual Basque Festival; next weekend, it will be Marin-Sonoma County Basque Club’s turn, North of San Francisco. And following in the US, in the coming weeks and days there will be more, including the celebration in october of Euskal Kantari Eguna (day of Basque song) in Rocklin, California.

The beginning of the Gaztemundu program, tomorrow in Lazkao (Gipuzkoa), organized by the Basque Government in this case for Basque teachers from various countries, marks a point in the Basque agenda that continues without interruption, with events such as the celebration of the Diada at Sydney’s Euskal Etxea, the Heritage Day at the Basque Center of Bordeaux, the Basque Week of Madrid, as well as those, for example, in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina ...

As part of the chapter of sadder news there is the death this last week in Mexico of Iñaki Ruiz Cuesta, who was the Delegate of Euskadi of Mexico during the Ibarretxe administration (see article).  Just a few days before, on August 27, Jorge Gilabert died in Tandil, Argentina, friend, colleague, founder and supporter of the weekly newsletter “Alma Vasca,” to whom we will dedicate a well-deserved obituary tomorrow.

Over the coming days, weeks, and months we will continue to provide information on the new steps we’re taking at  Our commitment to the maintenance of information and informational ties between the Diaspora remain firm and so we will keep going while we can. At the moment we plan to continue to the end of the year, at a good pace.

We’ll see each other tomorrow in the newsletter or on the website

PS: For those who would like a copy of Euskera for Dummies for free, don’t forget that the drawing concludes this Wednesday.  If you are a subscriber all you have to do is subscribe a friend, with their permission, at including the mailing addresses of both of you, so that we know where to send the books.  If you are still not subscribed, you can subscribe at the same time.  In the same email you can indicate which Basque club, library or Basque teacher you would like to gift a third copy of the book to.  We will send it in your name.  Remember that the deadline to enter is at midnight,
Continental European time, on Tuesday.  Results will be published on Wednesday.


Summer themes: Gaztemundu, Basque teacher in London, dummies etc.

Many are anxious to see who has been chosen to attend Gaztemundu 2012, dedicated this year to Euskera teaching at the Basque centers. We’ve received various emails regarding that. Well, we have been told that the results are spected to be announced between today and tomorrow, after being signed by Guillermo Echenique, Secretary General of Foreign Action of the Basque Government. Good luck for this Gaztemundu that will begin September the 3rd. [Add July, 27: the results]

Related also to Euskera, remember that the Basque Society-Euskal Elkartea in London is looking for a Basque teacher for the upcoming school year.  It is not a full-time job, but it can be good experience and also help financially to some Basque person who may already live in London or who has an idea to move there for a period of time.

August is getting closer.  Many Basque clubs around the world that just finished celebrating San Fermin are getting prepared for San Ignacio, a celebration around this Basque saint that was born in Loyola, Gipuzkoa.  San Inazio or Iñaki Deuna, as it is called in some places, is one of the festivities that is marked in red in the Diaspora.  Along with Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Ignatius is the most universal Basque saint, and along with it has given a number of place names of Basque origin to the world: Loyola is a name that is repeated on all five continents as the name of people, places, associations or universities often largely associated with the Jesuits.

We need to remind you, before going any further, that the town of San Ignacio, in Argentina, will celebrate this next weekend its first Big Basque Festival, organized by the Basque club of Corpus Christi, Argentinean province of Misiones.  Anyone in the area is still on time.

Just a reminder about the Euskara for Dummies give-away.  The book is an excellent resource for people who don’t speak Basque, or who only speak a little, and want to get around in the Basque Country or be able to use expressions, words or phrases used in everyday conversation, all gathered in this book that is easy to read and consult. is giving it away and all you have to do is subscribe a friend to our newsletter and send then an email with your name and information, along with that of the person who you are subscribing.  The prize is a copy of this book for each.  Participate!

This summer is in full swing and so I have had the opportunity to bee with various visitors from different places in the Diaspora, and in some cases, by coincidence, by others because they have come to see us.  People from the US like the Corcosteguis from Reno, NV and the Ysursas from Chino, CA, the San Mames from San Francisco… There is also a group of students here now from Bishop Kelly High School lead by Cathy Clarkson in the second half of an exchange that already took a group of students from the Olabide Ikastola in Vitoria-Gasteiz to Idaho; Judge Ron Parraguirre from Nevada and his family are visiting among other places their family’s origins in Etxalar, Navarre… there is a group of Basques from Euzko Etxea of Necochea in Argentina, who have been visiting the country, and Xabier Zubillaga, director, founder and instigator of Necochea’s Ikastola is also here...

It is summer and festivals are numerous in towns and there are a thousand activities of all types that are taking place.  This last weekend they ranged from the Donostia Jazz festival to the presentation of Amaiur by Pier-Pol Berzaitz, a work about the invasion of the Kingdom of Navarre 500 years ago... or the Baztandarren Biltzarra in Elizondo, Navarre. Next there will be a pastoral in the Zuberoan town of Arrokiaga about Jose Mendiague who is directly linked to the Diaspora in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina…