Friday, November 14, 2008

The Importance of a Name

The government of the Basque Autonomous Community has decided to give a step backwards in the struggle by the Basque sports' teams to compete for the Basque Country. But the Basque football players are not buying it, this note published by the International Herald Tribune addresses the issue:

Basque players may boycott Iran friendly over name

The Associated Press
Published: November 13, 2008

BILBAO, Spain: Basque Country players may boycott a football friendly against Iran next month because of a dispute over the team's name.

One hundred and sixty-five current and former Basque players said in a statement on Thursday that they will not be available for the Dec. 23 match if the Basque football federation returns to calling the team Euskadi instead of Euskadi Herria.

The federation changed the name to Euskadi Herria last July at the urging of the players, who felt it was a better overall reference to the players' origins.

Basque County had been referred to as Euskadi since 1990.

Twenty-seven players from Basque club Athletic Bilbao and others from a variety of clubs ranging from Real Sociedad to Panathinaikos signed the letter.

Like other Spanish regions, players native to the Basque Country occasionally gather to compete in friendlies against international teams but aren't permitted to play in official competitions.

Actually, the name that the players want is Euskal Herria, not Euskadi Herria. The thing is, the name Euskadi has been increasingly associated with only the three provinces that conform the Basque Autonomous Community, a political entity that is ruled by the Basque Nationalist Party, a political party that has been veering off the path to independence for the Basque Country to comply by the goal of its leadership to obtain financial profits from the current political status with Spain. Euskal Herria on the other hand is a term that encompasses the seven historic Basque provinces, this is why the players prefer it over the other one, because their will is to participate in the broader project of conforming a Basque nation, recognized by the international community.

As its obvious, the Basque football players have much more integrity and dignity that the Basque politicians that rule the destiny of the Basque Nationalist Party.

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