Monday, January 10, 2011

I Wish I Were Basque

From what I have learned in a series of lectures about the Vascos (in Spanish) or Basques (in French) no one can really say where the Basque people come from, only where they have been for centuries, their language, customs and cuisine unchanged for all that time.

According to the lectures, by Mark Kurlansky and his Basque History of the World, the Basques may have been direct descendants of Cro-Magnon man and their language is not at all Indo-European, which makes it different from all Latin or Germanic-based languages.

They eat a lot of fish, specifically cod, and sweet peppers and reportedly are tall, long-nosed and heavily browed.

That could have been my dad.

I just admire the Basque spirit of independence, though I abhor the years of terrorist activities and was pleased today to read that the militant arm of the separatist movement, ETA, has declared a permanent ceasefire and now plans to seek independence through political means and the courts.

Since the middle ages, Basque-land, which comprised what was then called Navarre, has belonged in part of France and to Spain, but in the Basque mind, they belong to no one and I totally agree.

In this day and age, people who consider themselves completely different from all those around them, (and judging by language, cuisine, culture and clothing, they are), should be free to determine their own destiny.

However, the socialist part of it, the jury's out on that one. If they can make the ideal work, hurrah for them, because no other society has managed to do practice socialism in its purest form, where all share in the fruits of everyone's labor.

Just a dream, I fear.

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