Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I'm going to Idaho.
I heard those two questions and its very variations for the last couple of weeks.
What the heck is there in Boise?
Are you going there for the potatoes?
Well, the answer is simple, I'm going to Boise to take part of the Jaialdi.
What in the Lord's world is a Jaialdi?
Well, the answer is here:
Euzkaldunak, Boise's Basque Organization, invites everyone to celebrate the Basque culture's festival spirit. Jaialdi (meaning "Big Festival") takes place only every five years. Share in the fun customs characteristic of the Basque people. Lively music, quick-footed dancing, spirited handball exhibitions and strength lifting, flavorful foods, along with presentation on Basque history.But why Boise, what does that have to do with the Jaialdi?
Don't panic, the website provides the answer:
The Basque Community of Boise, Idaho USA
The vast majority of the Basques living in the Boise area came from the province of Bizkaia. Basque names first started appearing here in the late 1800's. Although it was not something they had done in their homeland, many began working as sheepherders as the English and Scots had a lot of sheep and needed workers. Some Basques also worked in mining and logging. They were known to be honest, hard working people, and more and more came to this area as work was available.So, there you have it, nothing to do with potatoes.
Our biggest celebration is based around the religious feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, patron saint of the Basques and founder of the Jesuit religious order. It is held on the last weekend of July annually and includes exhibitions of music, dance, and sports; a Mass, picnic, and both indoor and outdoor dances.
International festivals, called "JAIALDI", have been held in Boise in 1987, 1990, 1995, & 2000...so we'll see you here in the year 2005! These are wonderful events with performers and athletes from the Basque Country as well as throughout the United States.
And remember, for this week, everybody is Basque.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Lance Armstrong who just won his seventh consecutive title announced his retirement, which in part will be of benefit for the competition since the last three editions have been a competition for second place.
Kudos to second place, Italian Ivan Basso, and third place German Jan Ullrich.
The Frankenrider mad scientist creators and their cyborg can go ahead and delude themselves into believing that they won the event, hopefully they are not engineering a replacement, hopefully that piece of shit that heads the Tour will not allow something like that to happen again.
Now, the real bad news is that this is the second disastrous Tour in a row for the Basque riders, but well, at least Beloki did not suffer an "accident" and Mayo did not have to endure any bullying after a fall because well, he did not fall this time around.
Here is the official standings for the Basque riders at the end of the Tour, including this year's lanterne rouge Iker Flores.
15. Haimar Zubeldia
27. Mikel Astarloza
48. Egoi Martinez
60. Iban Mayo
66. Juan Manuel Garate
75. Joseba Beloki
100. Iñigo Landaluze
122. Iñaki Isasi
150. Unai Etxebarria
155. Iker Flores
And Lapurdi's Colombian son:
55. Santiago Botero
Mark my words, every single one of these guys will do much better next year.
Now, last week there was a couple of articles in the US media in regards of both the above mentioned Jaialdi which is the biggest festival for the Basque community and which takes place every five years, and the NABO meeting in Rock Springs last weekend.
Here you have them:
Basques celebrate cultural heritage, via Green River Star Online.
The North American Basque Organizations had its fifth cultural festival on July 15-17, in Rock Springs.
The opening ceremonies began with a parade featuring the Zaharrer Segi, Buffalo, the Zazpiak Bat Klika, San Francisco, and students from the San Fermin Ikastola, Pamplona, Spain.
Basque people from all over the world attended this festival. There were delegates from each city with a Basque organization.
"The Basque people had nothing they could call there own," commented Jonathon Argoitia from Salt Lake City. "My Dad's family lived in the upper floor of the house and they kept the animals on the lower floor.
"The Basque Festival is the opportunity for people with a unique ethnic background to get together for a taste of home.Sharing the old stories of experiences in the wilderness of a strange land and keeping the culture alive. That's what its all about.
Dunak Euskaldunak-we're all Basque today.
Basques in Boise ready to celebrate, via The Olympian.
Starting next week, Aldape and around 35,000 other people, some Basque by birth, some "Basque" for only a few hours, will celebrate the traditions of the ethnic minority at Jaialdi, or "Big Festival." The five-day party, which occurs once every five years, begins July 27 and includes traditional sports and cultural events including folk dancing, historical presentations and religious services for the largely Catholic Basque community.
Much of the world familiar with Basques knows of the group known by its acronym ETA, whose members have killed more than 850 persons and injured hundreds of others since it began attacks aimed at the Spanish government in the early 1960s. The Jaialdi festival doubles as an outreach effort to show that Basque culture runs deeper than just three letters.
Let me copy and modify a line from my Irish friends. Ready?
Kiss me, I'm Basque.
.... ... .
He was in the Basque Country just recently and posted three entries detailing his experience with Basque cuisine.
Here you have the links, and a little excerpt of each one of them:
San Sebastián: Introduction
I am currently in San Sebastián, known in the local Basque language as Donostia. San Sebastián is renowned as a gastronomic wonderland, with more Michelin stars per capita in the immediate vicinity than any other city. Arzak and Martín Berasategui lead the pack with the maximum three stars, Akelarre and Zuberoa with two each and Mugaritz, Fagollada and Miramón Arbelaitz with one a piece.
However, as I've mentioned before, my personal interests lie more in becoming acquainted with the traditional, regional cooking of Spain. San Sebastián has much to offer in this category of dining, too. First, it is the capital of pintxos (roughly pronounced peen-chos), the Basque version of tapas that are reputed to be the best in Spain (although some in Andalucía would no doubt dispute that claim). Second, being a port city on the Atlantic, San Sebastián and, more famously, the nearby town of Getaria are renowned for their restaurants that specialize in freshly caught fish grilled over an open fire. Third, the local men take their traditional cooking so seriously that they have organized gastronomic brotherhoods and compete annually to decide who is the best.
San Sebastián: "Hay Sardinas" en Getaria
San Sebastián - tiny, tasty pintxos
I had been agonizing over which of the two well-known seafood restaurants I would have my lunch at in the small port town of Getaria, a half-hour bus ride from San Sebastian. Both share nearly identical menus, specializing in fish grilled outside a la parilla (also known as a la brasa), over an open fire. Kaia Kaipe offers a great portside location and the opportunity to eat on their terrace -- but what if that meant it was touristy? Elkano, up the street away from the port, is reputed by some to be slightly better.
Then I spied the sign. "HAY SARDINAS." That alone was enticement enough for a sardine-lover like myself. Then when I learned I could have the table with a clear view of the grill, the last available table on the terrace, I knew Kaia Kaipe was the right choice. I think the waitress was amused when I opted to dine facing the outdoor grill rather than the supposedly more desirable view of the port.
Despite the presence of a veritable constellation of Michelin stars in San Sebastián, I mainly came here to eat pintxos, the local form of tapas. The Basques, and in particular the Donostiarrans, have elevated these small dishes to an art form. Pintxos at the finest bars are haute-cuisine in miniature, tiny culinary jewels akin to the amuse-bouche that begins a meal at the finest restaurants. In fact, their intent is to serve a similar purpose, to whet the appetite before you move onto a sit-down meal at another restaurant. To accompany your pintxos, you generally order a glass of the local txakoli wine or a zurrito, a 6-oz. pour of draft beer.
So, there you go, mouth watering posting at Blogotitlán.
And don't forget to check his series of photographs related to the posts that he is hosting at Flickr.
Eskerrik asko Brett!
Monday, July 18, 2005
John Rosenthal who likes to talk about gaps and how he is going to bridge them doesn't seem to see the huge gap in his own credibility.
While he devotes post after post to the right of Israel to exist and how evil are all of those who oppose that, he has no qualms when it comes to demonizing the Basque push for self determination.
He loves calling anyone a bit critical of Israel by the name of Anti-Semitic. If you dare to express an opinion that he might construe as a direct attack on Israel's god given right to exist he calls you a racist pig, a bigoted monster.
But then he entertains himself by labeling the Basque right to self determination as racist, because the Basques want a nation out of ethnic nationalism, and all nationalisms are bad but ethnic nationalisms are even worst.
Well, I am here to tell him that anyone that opposes the Basque god given right (whatever that means) to exist is a racist pig, a bigoted monster and an Anti-Basque.
And being Anti-Basque is just as bad being Anti-Semitic.
Now, what he did back in May on his post titled "M 11 Revisited" was to parrot the Barcepundit's pet conspiracy theory that Al Quaeda did not act alone during the March 2004 attacks in Madrid:
Islamist responsibility and sole Islamist responsibility – i.e. without the complicity of ETA – for the March 11 attacks in Madrid has become an article of faith for Spain’s ruling Socialist Party and its allies in the media, both national and international. When I say an “article of faith”, I mean this quite literally. Spain’s crusading “anti-terror” judge Baltasar Garzón famously declared that any collaboration between ETA and the Islamists was “metaphysically impossible”. That being the case, facts apparently do not matter. It might not be very reassuring for Spaniards that the country’s leading investigative judge would adopt such an attitude.
Where are these facts?
Only Franco Alemán and a few PP loonies who jack off to pictures of Francisco Franco saluting Adolph Hitler are saying that.
It there was any evidence, the Spanish government would be all over it.
Something that Johnny does not seem to understand is that when it comes to repressing the Basques, the PSOE is not different from the PP.
Otherwise Morantinos would not have spent time in Mexico demanding the extradition of the six Basques imprisoned in that country waiting for a Supreme Court resolution on their case. Nor would Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Baltasar Garzón's replacement, continue to prosecute four members of EHAK even if that means going against a report by Public Prosecutor Jesús Santos who stated that there was no verification of any crimes.
But to show you just how ignorant John is of what it is going on in Spain, here you have this paragraph:
BTW, on the political front, there is a further development in Spain that bears very close watching: namely, the Spanish Socialist Party’s effective rupture of its “anti-terrorism pact” with the other major national party, the PP [Popular Party], and its making common cause with the smaller “nationalist” – i.e. regional “nationalist” (or, in other words, ethnic-nationalist) – parties in offering to open negotiations with ETA. A precedent is being set and the significance of it - recall Zapatero's plea before the UN General Assembly for a "Dialogue of Cultures" - extends well beyond Spain. I hope and expect we will be hearing much more about it on Barcepundit in the days and weeks ahead.
If not, why would French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy go to Spain to tell Rodriguez Zapatero we are here for you on your fight against ETA?
Finally, within the comments to this post, he answers someone that left a comment with this pearl:
Virtually every politically organized and officially recognized ethnic-nationalist movement in Europe denies it is ethnic-nationalist. This is also so for the most virulent ones: the Corsican and the Basque nationalist movements, for instance. Their leaders know that it is not exactly politically correct to say that one is a racist. Both Ibarretxe in the Basque Country and Talamoni in Corsica insist nowadays that they are defending a “civic” conception of nationality.
Now even Ibarretxe is a virulent ethnic nationalist. Virulent as in the violence by ETA, meaning, for John Rosenthal, Basques that decry and condemn violence are just the same as the members of ETA.
Here goes one more sampler of his twisted logic:
If it is merely “civic” nationalism that inspires them, why not be satisfied with their status as citizens of Spain and France, which are, after all, precisely civic nations?
Why do the Jews need Israel?
Couldn't they be satisfied by keeping their status as citizens of Spain, France, Germany, the USA, Canada or Russia?
You see, unlike John who hates the Basques and simple refuses the idea of a Basque homeland, I in fact recognize the right of Israel to be. I understand how and why it came to be.
I also recognize the right of Palestine to exist, as a matter of fact, the right of Palestine and Israel to exist go hand in hand.
I do not approve of many of the actions by the Israelis in Palestine, and I condemn every single act of violence in which innocent Israelis and Palestinians die.
Because unlike John Rosenthal who acts in accordance to dogmas and paradigmas, I understand that history is a flowing process and that no people in this world should live under the booth of any occupying or colonialist power.
Why does he hate the Basques so rabidly?
Only he knows.
Funny thing is, for as much as he hates Hitler and the Nazis, one has to wonder if he knows what they did to the Basques.
A bit of info about the event comes our way via Crash.Net:
Although deprived of a win at Le Mans by Kamui Kobayashi and Yann Clairay, Michael Ammermüller remains the clear leader of the Formula Renault Eurocup as the series heads for a rare street race outing on the new circuit built around Bilbao's Guggenheim museum.Here you have a couple of pictures from the event that I found at Yahoo:
Robert Kubica: “This win was very important for the Epsilon Euskadi team, who, as you all know, are based here in the Basque country. I am also pleased to be the first driver to win a second race this season. It’s also a great result for the Championship, but let’s not forget that I am on the third row for the second race.”Oh yes, and I almost forgot, there is one Bilbaina via London who is excited about it, and that is all that counts.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Hopefully things will start to look better when EPO Boy finally retires and stops pissing all over the event.
There is a couple of articles that talk about the current situation in which the riders from Euskal Herria find themselves.
No too cheerful, but well, if you can not handle the truth.
The first one is called "Basque team is no match to Armstrong as Tour enters Pyrenees". The article paints a grimm picture of what the riders from Euskaltel Euskadi are facing during the present edition of the Tour:
The Tour de France heads into the Pyrenees tomorrow, where Basque pride may not be enough to carry the local cycling team past six-time winner Lance Armstrong.
The leading rider on the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, composed entirely of Basques and sponsored by regional telecommunications company Euskaltel SA, was 10 minutes behind Armstrong in 22nd place before today's stage from Miramas to Montpellier in southwestern France. The team's best bet before the race, fifth- favorite Iban Mayo, was almost 50 minutes off the pace.
Orange has become the official colour in the mountains of the Tour de France in recent years whether it be Dutch spectators sporting their national colours at l'Alpe d'Huez or Basque fans clad in the Euskaltel team jersey in the Pyrenees.
Describing the difference between the two mountain chains, Lance Armstrong said: "The crowds are different. In the Alps, I guess they're more German or Dutch.
"In the Pyrenees, they're Basque though I suspect we'll see fewer of them this year."
The six-times Tour champion was right.
And hey, we still have Miguel Indurain's achievements to brag about.
*You can read the two articles at Artxiboak, here and here.
Friday, July 15, 2005
This is what took place while talking to CNN:
In response to the interviewer's question "When you go to Spain, do you visit the Basque region?," Erdogan replied "I go to Barcelona, but how can I enter relations with illegal forces? I cannot go and say "good for you" to another country's separationists."Wow, what a nice gesture from Ankara towards Madrid.
What Mr. Erdogan wanted to say is simple, Madrid, I got your back, I will dismiss your separatists if you dismiss mine.
Too bad Barcelona is in Catalonia, not in the Basque Country.
* The article was published by Turks.US, but you can read it at Artxiboak also.
Obsessed with clinching migratory pacts that according to him will rescue his mediocre presidency, Vicente Fox has decided to give up Mexico's sovereignty and the country's long and honored practice of being a safe haven to those who are persecuted in other countries due to their beliefs.
Over a year ago, six Basques (one of them a Mexican citizen) were arrested in Mexico on charges of belonging to the armed group ETA, they were subject to an extradition request by Spain. The whole process has been plagued with irregularities in big part because of Fox's "special interest" in the case and in part due to the high level of corruption that dominates the political life of the country.
Spanish police officers participated in the arrests, they also conducted questionings, two things strongly forbidden by Mexican law. The request for the extradition came one day after the arrests which indicates that Mexico did not start the legal process until after the arrests were made. Three Mexicans that were also arrested that day were set free because there was never burden of proof to keep them in jail, but somehow the Basques remained incarcerated.
That was just the begining, many other violations to Mexican law were to follow.
Finally the Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Mexico's top justice's body, attracted the case, and at least they are willing to study the evidence presented by both the prosecution (one barely legible copy of a document that says nothing) and by the defence (hundreds of documents, including documents issued by the Mexican government).
So, it all depends on the SCJN and its possible refusal to give up to Fox's demands.
If one ever believed in the separation of powers.
Miguel Angel Morantinos claimed that this repression of the six Basques had somehow something to do with the war on terror.
The same war on terror that kicked the PP out of La Moncloa.
One would think that Rodriguez Zapatero would stay away from the less than legal actions initiated by the PP and in this case Aznar and Garzón. But oh no, this is about the Basques, and despite all his "willingness" to negotiate, he will not let this one go.
So this is what the note about Morantinos' visit says:
Both countries pledged to share information, as well as increase cooperation between their security forces and legal systems as part of the war on terror. But they also promised that increased security measures would not diminish human rights guarantees.
In July 2003, Mexico arrested five men and a woman accused in Spain of involvement in the radical Basque separatist group ETA. The defendants, most of whom have been living in Mexico for years, say they are not ETA members and have challenged a Spanish extradition request on terrorism charges in Mexico's Supreme Court.
The high court ruled last week that the accused ETA members are not eligible for bail while they appeal. When it will rule on the extradition process was unclear, however.
Moratinos said he was confident the suspects would be extradited to Spain once their appeal process had been exhausted. He said that for terrorists worldwide "the message is clear: They will be defeated."
"They will be defeated by the defense of precisely what they want to destroy, that is, a community of principles, values, and the rule of law that makes western civilization great," he said. "I believe the best way to do this is by reinforcing international cooperation."
Ahem, "would not diminish human rights guarantees", this comming from a country that both the UN's Human Rights Comissioner and Amnesty International have accused of practicing torture against Basque political prisoners and immigrants.
And what about this line: "Moratinos said he was confident the suspects would be extradited to Spain once their appeal process had been exhausted. He said that for terrorists worldwide "the message is clear: They will be defeated."
Excuse me Mr. Morantinos, I do not know how is it in Spain, but in the rest of the civilized world there is something called presumption of innocence, so, stop calling them terrorists, non of your judges has come up with a veredict yet, or at least that is what we want to think. And so far all what you're government has produced as evidence is a crummy copy of a document that means nothing, meaning, no burden of proof.
So, Mr. Morantinos, stop presenting the carrot of a migratory deal to Mexico in exchange for expanding your repression of the Basques outside Spain's borders.
And since I am at it, stop the criminalization of ideas, stop the torture, stop the incommunicado practice, stop the dispersion, stop the preventive prison without a timely trial.
This is the XXI Century, not Francoist Spain.
* The article was published by San Diego.com, it can also be found at Artxiboak.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Well, I was soundly outdone by the New Albanian who at his blog NA Confidential provided with a detailed recount of what goes on in Iruñea during the week long festival on his post Cerveza in the Afternoon: Pamplona's Festival of San Fermin.
Here are a few excerpts:
Pamplona’s distinctive strain of craziness is a fascinating hybrid. Spectacular public displays of orgiastic, besotted and scatological indecency occur alongside demonstrations of a proud and dignified adherence to traditional values that extend too far back into time to be completely understood. San Fermin is a primitive, almost mythological celebration that is expressed through daily, seemingly disparate, elements. Confrontations between man and bull, gatherings of grandparents and grandchildren to share hot chocolate, outpourings of religious conviction, incessant marching musical mayhem and extraordinary alcoholic lubrication all suffice as snapshots during festival days.And:
The greatest two minutes – well, “few” minutes -- in sports is Pamplona's "Running of the Bulls," which takes place each morning for eight days during San Fermin. The six bulls to be featured in the evening's bullfight, accompanied by six horned heifers for a total of twelve, are released into barricaded streets and driven 900 meters -- a little more than half a mile -- to their pens in the bull ring. In the path of the bulls are hundreds – no, thousands – of thrill-seeking festival-goers, and some are actually sober.
Yep, I say he knows how to enjoy the crazy alcohol-laced activities and at the same time he allows for moments to admire the rich cultural life of the city.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
As some of you may know, Britt (who publishes The Journal of a Starving Artist) got me started on this whole thing.
It was a rocky start, mainly because back then Blogger had a host of glitches that made blogging a less that exciting activity.
One of my pet peeves was the project involved in posting pictures. If I wanted to post a picture like this one:
Yahoo decided not to allow image hosting and hotlinking proved to be a disaster. For a while Angelfire was the only solution but they went Yahoo's way.
Finally other servers like Hello, Flickr and Photobucket made it less of a task to post a picture here and there. But last night during the Blogger Bash II, Bill Dennis from The Peoria Pundit informed me that Blogger was now hosting its own pictures.
Now I can do this:
My niece Gabriela during the Mother's Day Festival last year.
Eskerrik asko Blogger!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Here you have some revellers that hold up red scarves and an Ikurriña (the Basque flag) as they celebrate the San Fermin festival in the town hall square in Iruñea. A pack of six fighting bulls run through the centre of the town to the bull ring every morning during the week long festival made famous by US writer Ernest Hemingway.
Just in case you are confused Iruñea is the Basque name of the city known as Pamplona.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Today they managed to reduce the gap with the leaders of the competition.
Once they get to the mountains its stars will have the chance to shine.
Friday, July 01, 2005
The slick TV presentation of the teams for the Tour de France was at its sentimental best this evening.
High class videos and graphics could not hide the big white band aid plaster covering Jan Ullrichs neck following his collision with his support vehicle , which saw the German star break the rear windscreen of the car and cause the injuries to his neck. His time in the spotlight did not go so well either . A double interview with Ulle and Vino foundered in translation, and Ullrich left the stage more like a victim than a contender.
Iban Mayo, is a figure of much speculation, last time Daily Peloton saw him he was mixing it up before Aitor Gonzalez’s truly magnificent last stage attack in the Tour de Suisse. The Basque team will be hoping to do well in the mountains regardless, and with riders like Inigo Landaluze, Egoï Martinez and Haimar Zubeldia the orange shirts should shine in the Pyrennes.
Daily Peloton Man to Watch – Iban Mayo, worked hard for Aitor Gonzalez on the final day of Tour de Suisse and is still a major force.
- 191. Iban Mayo (ESP)
- 192. Iker Camaño (ESP)
- 193. Unaï Etxebarria (Ven)
- 194. Iker Flores (ESP)
- 195. David Herrero (ESP)
- 196. Iñaki Isasi (ESP)
- 197. Iñigo Landaluze (ESP)
- 198. Egoï Martinez (ESP)
- 199. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP)
Also on the to watch list for Basque riders:
Saunier Duval- Prodir
- 81. Juan-Manuel Garate (ESP)
- 92. Joseba Beloki (ESP)
- 95. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano
- 202. Mikel Astarloza (ESP)