Egunkaria libre

egunkaria-libreAbout 6 years ago, Egunkaria, then the only daily newspaper published fully in Basque, was shut down on suspicions of ties to terrorists.  Between then and now, no trials had occurred and it was thought that essentially the matter had been dropped.  However, now, 6 years later, those who worked at Egunkaria are indeed being tried, including Martxelo Otamendi, the editor of the newspaper.

EgunkariaLibre is a site that has two purposes: to support those being put on trial as well as disseminate news about the happenings surrounding Egunkaria, it’s shut down, and the people who worked there.

These events have reached even those Basques living in the United States.  This article in the Idaho Statesman describes how Otamendi previously visited the US to report on, other things, the Idaho legislature’s non-binding memorial supporting the Basque Country’s right for self-determination.  He stayed with Dave Bieter, now the mayor of Boise.

This was the second such newspaper shut down by Spain.  Before, Egin was also shut down.  As was said by Paddy Woodworth in that article, author of The Basque Country: A Cultural History:

“I believe that if there are serious charges against a medium of communication, sufficient to justify the precautionary measure of closing it down, they should be heard within weeks, not years,” he said. “Otherwise the state is very open to charges of suppressing press freedom.”

New Book: ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest by Delphine Pontvieux

pontvieux-etaDelphine Pontvieux, a member of the forum, has just released her novel ETA: Estimated Time of Arrest


After participating in a pro-separatist march that turned violent in January of 1992, 21-year-old Lorenzo Lartaun Izcoa is wrongly charged with the fatal bombing of a police station in his home town. Irun is a small city located in the heart of the Basque country, trapped between France and Spain, and struggling for independence. Lartaun finds himself on the Spanish Secret Service’s “most wanted” list, branded an active member of the Basque terrorist group ETA.

He has no choice but to flee his country.

Two years later, Lartaun’s childhood friend bursts back into his life. In exchange for a “small favor,” he offers him a passport and the chance to return to Europe under a new identity. Lartaun seizes the opportunity.


Back in Europe, hiding away in a commune in the French Pyrenees Mountains, Lartaun meets Faustine, a young French environmentalist. As their relationship renews his belief in a future worth fighting for, Lartaun realizes, albeit too late, that the favor he owes his friend is not so “small” after all.


Fermin Muguruza, well-known Basque musician and film maker, writes about Estimated Time of Arrest: “A beloved homeland, mountainous landscapes, devotion, action, love, celebration, friendship, music, commitment, vengeance, dignity, and desire for freedom and independence all turn out to be explosive ingredients when mixed together and left to simmer in the pressure cooker known as the Basque Country. Also called Euskal Herria, it is a place that spans the south of France and the north of Spain. It is the country of the Basque people, those who speak Euskara, the Basque language.

Delphine Pontvieux is a connoisseur of the essential ingredients that comprised the Basque Country in the ‘80s and ‘90s. If we add her to the mix as “etxekoandre,” or Executive Chef, the recipe becomes perfect, stewing over her creative flame. She brings Estimated Time of Arrest to a mouthwatering emotional flavor, serving a complex dish of literary mastery.”

Interior art is by Guillermo Zubiaga, who was interviewed on this site back in 2007.

More information can be found on Delphine’s site

Badok: Basque music online

argazki200Jose Antonio Alcayaga III just posted this link on Facebook and it seemed like a great one to share.  Badok has a relatively large selection of Basque music available for online listening and I understand that songs can be downloaded in mp3 format.

This seems like a great way to explore Basque music.  It looks like there is a large range of styles, from folk like Oskorri to metal bands such as Su Ta Gar.  And the artists seem to span a range of time, including classics from Kortatu.  Not everything is on here, as I don’t see any Negu Gorriak for example, but there is still a large number of groups to explore.

Thanks for sharing Jose!

New Book: Gardeners of Identity by Pedro Oiarzabal

oiarzabal-gardnersPedro Oiarzabal, a newly minted researcher at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, has spent his young career focused on issues of Basque identity around the world.  His newest book is Gardeners of Identity: Basques in the San Francisco Bay Area, published by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.  (Incidentally, the Center’s bookstore is now online.)

This new book brings attention to the Basque community in northern California.  As described in the cover excerpt:

For many out-of-town visitors, San Franciscans, and Basques throughout the American West the book will bring back fond memories of many of the Basque inns, restaurants, bars and cafés that for the most have vanished from today’s city landscape. However, these fine establishments have not entirely disappeared from their memories and pages of history as illustrated in this book. For others, the book will open a colorful window into the history of some of the most singular and oldest inhabitants of San Francisco. It depicts the Bay Area Basque cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions in a superb manner.

Zorionak Pedro!

The full press release follows: Continue reading

Commemoration of the bombing of Gernika amongst the Basque diaspora

I received this request for assistance from Daniel Clarke, who needs help researching how the diaspora commemorated the bombing of Gernika.  Feel free to write Daniel directly or to post your comments here.

Dear all,

I am a student at the University of Cambridge, England, working as part of a project looking at memory, heritage and identity in post-conflict situations, with five case studies around Europe (

Specifically, I am working in Gernika – based at the ‘Gernika Gogoratuz’ peace research centre – examining the way in which memory of its destruction in the Civil War has persisted through the years.

Particularly given the difficulty of open commemoration in the Basque Country itself during the dictatorship, I am interested in what kinds of transmission of memory were taking place amongst the Basque diaspora.

I would love to hear about any such practices within the community, either public commemorative events, programmes, monuments etc., or simply reflections on the ways in which the memory of the event has been transmitted unofficially through family customs etc.

I am particularly interested in the situation pre-1976 (when the public commemorations appear to begin in Gernika), but information on such activities in any period would be much appreciated – if possible including when they were started, by whom etc.

Eskerrik asko!

Daniel Clarke (

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