Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Basques : Another View

This article tackles one of the issues that fuel this blog, the way the media corporations have been following Spain's lead when it comes to poisoning the view of what the Basque Country is. Madrid has implemented a propaganda campaign in which the term Basque is usually used as a synonym for terrorist, as a result, anything and everything Basques means violence. Paris is all too happy Madrid does the dirty job involved in denying the Basque Country its right to regain its sovereignty.

Well, this article from New Zealand opens a gap in the curtain of lies and deception against Euskal Herria, it comes to us thanks to Stuff:

A Basque solution to growth


The Dominion Post | Monday, 14 July 2008

Think of Basques, think of bombs. Right? But there's more to Basques than bombs. The tiny Basque country is renowned for its science.

The region, on the north coast of Spain, is smaller than Wellington province and is home to 2.1 million people. Their common language is Spanish, but about a quarter of them speak the strange Basque language. If you want to say "Nice to meet you" in Basque you'd say "Potzen nau zu ezaguteak".

In the past 200 years, millions of Basques have emigrated to America. Ten per cent of Argentineans have Basque ancestors. Today's Basques, with a gross domestic product per capita income of NZ$48,000, are among the wealthiest people in Europe and much better off than New Zealanders. In the 1980s, Basques' traditional fishing and shipbuilding industries collapsed but, since then, their government has developed a spectacularly successful growth strategy built on scientific knowledge, technological innovation and entrepreurship.

Basques' biggest company, the Mondragon Cooperative, is hugely successful and has tentacles all through Spain and South America. It even has its own university.

The country's wealth is now built on new technologies – aeronautical and energy technology, and making fine machine tools, wind turbines and rolling stock. They are into nanotechnology and miniaturisation in a big way, developing high-performance hybrid materials for hi-tech industries, making precision miniaturised desktop type machinery for mass hydro-forming, stamping and cold- forging bulk materials, and improving high-resolution electron microscopy and lithography.

They are developing new catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells, designing a hydrogen-driven car (H2CAR), installing 16 sea-wave energy turbines, doing stem-cell research, and have developed new implant materials for healing wounds and for plastic surgery. Among other things they are developing miniaturised throw-away medical laboratories – each the size of a credit card and read with a hand-held gadget.

Basque technologists are on to "microwire technology" enabling huge amounts of data to be stored on microscopic wires. These wires have military uses, but Basques paste them on goods in supermarkets. To reach the checkout, your shopping trolley must pass through an electronic arch which instantly calculates the total cost.

They have research centres devoted to climate change, applied mathematics and health innovation. They also have an ambitious plan to "coordinate information and communication technologies around cognitive systems, pervasive computing, digital security and natural interfaces", and participate in the European space programme.

This tiny Basque country has 12,500 scientists and technologists at its universities, polytechnics or in private companies and puts a lot of money into attracting leading foreign scientists to work there, or join forces with them. This month they are advertising internationally for 30 more scientists.

The Basques' capital city, Bilbao, is about the size of Wellington and has become world- renowned for its new, fabulous, elegant, jaw-dropping, avant-guard, titanium-clad museum, and then, in September, there's their popular mixed-sex annual 5000-metre foot race along the beach at low tide, in the nude. First prize a holiday in the Canary Islands.

We have a lot to learn from the Basques.

Just one thing though, the capital city of the Basque County is Iruñea, not Bilbao.

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