When we walk in our Basque country, that of the seven provinces (I will not be confined to only the three northern provinces), we realize that there is not one language, but many languages, Euskalkis , that there is not a culture, but Basque cultures and well in the diaspora, it’s the same!
The notion of basqueness for us implies many things, the side of belonging, the militant side too, a strong notion of respect also, in the Basque diaspora we must see this differently.
The notion of basqueness is often equated with the memory, the despair of not having had the chance to know the land of his ancestors.
All these things that are for us, become everyday, to which we no longer pay attention, so we do them mechanically, are for them a mine of wealth.
That’s what we realize when we have the chance to go there. How they are interested in things that no longer affect us, the explanation is very simple: they have nothing more than what to hang on.
Nostalgy is also an omnipresent element of the basqueness experienced by these Basque people on the other side of the world.
Many works published by some Euskal Etxe are called oroitzapena (souvenir). Moreover, thanks to these books we learn many things ourselves. I remember having read in this book published in 2000 by the Basque club of San Francisco this nice anecdote: in 1960, when he came to visit his son emigrated to the Americas, the bertsolari Xalbador, and his friends Martin and Michel Labeguerie joined a group of Basques to animate a bersto party at the hotel France, then meeting point of the Basques of San Francisco.
While Xalbador began his bertso, the boss of the place cut off the sound of the microphone on the pretext that he understood nothing about this “barbaric” language . It is this event that decided the present Basques to create their own Euskal etxea. “If we can not speak our language here, we will create our own place! So the hotel France lost many customers, and impulse, in spite of himself, the creation of the Basque club of San Francisco.
Xalbador, Michel Labeguerie & Mattin
The importance of remembrance is also visible in the city of Boise, and its neighborhood the Basque block, where, as you can see in one of the photos next, the Basque names of people living or having lived in this city are engraved in floor. (see below the photos I myself took on one of my trips)
Basqueness is also seen in Argentina, but this time in a different way. It also agrees in their language with the expression “palabra de vasco” for example. After living the bank route of the year 2000, many Argentineans have reclaimed their past. Indeed, following the last wave of important migration in this country in the nineteenth century, the following generations have mostly lived on the Argentinan model, without keeping anything of their roots and an important break was established between the Basque of Argentina and those of the Basque Country.
Attention all the same, I do not speak about Basco Argentinans who frequent the Euskal Etxe’s network here. It should not be forgotten that the population of Basque origin in Argentina represents about 10% of the national population, that is 4 million persons, whereas the people who frequent the Euskal Etxeak in Argentina represent “only” 25 thousand people.
These Argentinian Basques, have recaptured their past so that in the context of this crisis that they lived, somewhere, so that they can have a social revalorization, so that through their approaches, learning of the language of Aitor, learning dance, or culture in a more general way, they can tell their elders ” have you seen, I at least, I speak the language of our ancestors, while you, you have forgotten your roots, you never spoke Basque and you lost your money like us. “.
This feeling of basqueness is something extraordinary, that we live well here, but also and especially everywhere else in the world and in a complementary way.