Paddy Woodworth, Dublin, presented his new book, “The Basque Country – a
The Basque region is a small but very diverse place – a universe where many
of our questions here today are of pressing urgency, he said. Some Basques
identify their country and culture as entirely separate from Spain and France,
others – who are equally Basque – say that the Basque Country is “the heart of
Spain”. Still others think of the Pays Basque as a region of France.
No phrase is politically neutral in the Basque Country, but bridges can be
built through a pluralist and inclusive reading of Basque history and culture.
For example, it may be helpful to think of the Basque region as being enriched
by multiple identities, each worthy of respect, rather than insist that it must
assume one identity or another. “We should not say that Euskera [the Basque’s
ancient language, of mysterious origin] is THE Basque language,” says the Basque
novelist Bernardo Atxaga. “We should say that it is A Basque language. We
Basques are lucky to have three languages, Euskera, Spanish and French and,
increasingly, a fourth one, English.”