The Spanish papers dedicate about 3 pages everyday to the Basque Country debate, and some days, even more. The Spanish people are obsessed by the situation in the Basque Country, in part because of terrorism. However, just the other day I found out that every year in Spain more people die in car accidents than have died in the entire history of ETA, yet, I don’t see as much ink spilled to cover that story.

Sometimes I wonder if the Basques have realized that their problem is going to disappear over the course of the next 50 years. Why? Because the Basques are going to disappear! It’s as easy as that. The Basques are going to disappear because just like the rest of Spain, people in the Basque Country barely have any children.

And as they constitute their region, community, country, nation, state, or however they want to call themselves-while prosperous-their salvation will come in the form of immigration. Of course, there’s a catch, and that’s the fact that the mainly Latin American immigrants, like myself, or the Arabs, the other big source of immigrants in this country, are not going to put too much thought into the Spanish/Basque debate.

We don’t have a history of being involved in this hate (luckily!). I look at someone from the Basque Country and I see a person…. I look at someone from Madrid and I see a person. And I suppose that the Moroccans, Ecuadorians or Peruvians who are going to populate this country/territory/region/community or whatever, are going to think the same way as I do. And the problem will fade away into the past, as the Basque problem won’t be the problem of these new immigrants, who are probably more worried about how to get ahead in the new Europe.

And paradoxically, the most nationalist/racist/mono-culturist Basques, will miss nostalgically the Spaniards of yesteryear, because those that they used to hate now seem much more familiar than the new inhabitants of their country/region/community/village, that are now building mosques in Bilbao.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter:

No Comments

Maximo J. Gainza on May 26, 2005  · 

What has enabled the Basques to outlive entire civilisations is the very fact that they are a people but not a nation, able to blend into and ultimately lead cultures and countries thousands of miles from their own. Who do you think founded Buenos Aires in 1580? Who liberated Uruguay? Who industrialised Spain? Who began the Radical movement in Argentina? What are the ethnic origins of Colombia’s current President? Who began laying the foundations of capitalism in Latin America long before the likes of Adam Smith got round to perfecting it? Who discovered Cod?

The Basques are no more populous than the Welsh, and fewer than the Irish, but they are truly fearless of the concept of a world without borders. Few speak Basque these days (few ever did), but Basque traits die hard: stubbornness, ruggedness, endurance and endeavour, enterprise, leadership, courage and so on.

I can assure you, the Basques, having outlived and resisted conquest by the Romans, the Celts, the Visigoths, the Franks, the Iberians, the Moors, and so on, are here to outlive us all.

3.0 rating

Marcel on May 30, 2005  · 

And the Basques invented mankind.

Can I become Basque too and have a chance to survive?

I’m sitting right now in a restaurant in Bilbao.
I see two women reading a document together, three women chatting, two man drinking a glass of housewine, two tourist woman drinking a cava and eating shrimps,
grandparents taking care of their grandchildren, bearmugs from all over the world hanging from the ceiling, alcohol bottles in all different kind of shapes, a man gambling on a gaming machine, a tv showing a Roland Garros Tennis game.

A regular day in a restaurant in Bilbao.

What do I have to do to become Basque?
Marry a Basque woman, donate money to Atleti,
follow certain rules or secret codes of conduct?
Is there a lifetime membership or can I get expulsed?

I think the people here live a prosperous live and
toppling any administration in Europe in general would only result in a change of power with virtually no effects for the citizens. Changes would be cosmetic. Mayors in the Basque country would have more names like Iker, Igoin instead of Jesus or Maria.

It’s a shame that so much political energy is wasted on separatism although I’m not against it.
If the Basque voted and more than 50% were for an independent country, so be it.

It will be as significant as the foundation of the Canton Jura in Switzerland (they segregated themselves from another Canton called Bern).

Boundaries within Europe are means of protecting the status quo of our current wealth made possible by our colonies. Changing borders within Europe will just replace one administration by another with the same outcome: protection of wealth.

Expanding the boundaries of Europe are a valuable attempt to distribute wealth more evenly.

I hope that’s not the end of it.

There are continents like China, India and Africa to deal with.

I doubt that our wealth will be protected by those countries.

And I’m not sure if they care about the Basques.

How can I become Chinese?

3.0 rating

Igor Calzada on June 18, 2008  · 

Oh my god.
I have just read this…and two ideas,
I am basque and Visiting Schollar at the Center for Basque Studies in Univeristy of Nevada, Reno, USA.

1. Martin, I agree Basque Country is very small country such as to face the “oportunity” of the inmigration. My reply is 3 years after your post. But believe we are doing a really big efforts and they are concluding succesful to integrate inmigrant in the school and whatever.
But really,
we are not going to disapear.
What a simple idea, sorry.

2. Marcel,
I agree with you we are wasting too much energy that we could invest in something more creative.

Igor Calzada

3.0 rating

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets