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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yet another international linguist takes a stand in favor of Gil in the Iruña-Veleia affaire


In this case it is
Roslyn M. Frank, professor emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa and a scholar who has dedicated some good time to deal with Basque language, visiting this little corner of Europe very often since 1974 and authoring several books on Basque theme, mostly on linguistics.

Roslyn M. Frank (linguist)

In her latest visit, these days, Frank offered two interviews with Noticias de Alava (local newspaper in Spanish language):

In one of them she states her astonishment and that of the European scientific community because of the lack of analytics on the controversial pot shards with inscriptions (mostly in Basque and Vulgar Latin).

Two weeks ago I was at a congress in Germany in which there were a lot of scientists from everywhere in Europe, among them several archaeologists. When I told them about Iruña-Veleia, the first thing they asked was: 'Which were the results of analytics?' And I had to reply that they were never made. They could not understand. And asked once and again: 'But why were they not made?' And I did not know what to answer.

She compares the Kafkian circumstances surrounding Iruña-Veleia with a paternity demand in which the alleged father is the one demanding a paternity test after being declared guilty without any evidence.

It is impossible to talk of scientific consensus in this case. The data provided by the [official] report are very weak because of 359 pages most do not even have bibliographic references.

She is outraged by the procedure executed by the new director, Julio Núñez, which she considers an attack against the patrimony. A position held by this blog and SOS Iruña-Veleia, among others.

For linguists, she argues that the philological reconstruction of proto-Basque (the main argument held against the Lurmen archaeological team led by Eliseo Gil) cannot ever disprove any archaeological finding:

... the word 'proto' always means a reconstruction, which is hypothetical, because the appearance of new data often changes the nature of the reconstruction.
In other words, the academic inquisition of the Philology department of the Basque Country University has, consciously and mischievously, put the cart before the horses in this case.

In the other interview, she says that she hopes the best but expects little for Iruña-Veleia, at least while Núñez is in charge. Her denounce of his destructive methods contrasts with the support for the period in which the site was under the direction of Eliseo Gil and Idoia Filloy, when the site attracted as many as 35,000 visitors (2008).

In both interviews she lists a number of other important supporters of the original methods and findings, some of whom have already been mentioned here: Juan Mari Elexpuru (linguist), Hector Iglesias (linguist), Emilio Illarregi (archaeologist), Luis Silgo Gauche (archaeologist) and Edward Cecil Harris (archaeologist).

Found at Iruña-Veleia, Gezurra Ala Egia?[eu], where a paper by Roslyn Frank on the graphological analysis used to smear Eliseo Gil is also linked (click on 'descargar', PDF in Spanish). This document, which concludes with a request for the provincial government be stripped from its role as custodian of the original graffiti in benefit of the right of defense, is part of the procedures of the trial against Eliseo Gil. In this procedure it has also been ordered an official analytic by police as the provincial government has refused to do so.

For background and further information on this most sad scandal, see the category Iruña-Veleia in this blog.


4 comments:

ambiorix said...

Hi Maju,

Coming back to the news that Guardia Civil will investigate the presumed false ostraca. That may sound strange and I can imagine that genuine abertzaile will feel strong reluctance and distrust to this institution. On the other side it appears that the Guardia Civil has quite a reputation in archaeological falsification and has very well equipped chemical laboratories.

As I wrote in other blogs, the locale authorities of Alava (Diputación Foral de Alava)didn't have until now (a few month later)transferred the requested artefacts to the Guardia Civil. They also didn't respond earlier to a petition of the judge to make over a list with artefacts that they want to see investigated.

The Diputada declared in more than one occasion that scientific investigation on the inscriptions makes no sense (following the position of Alicia Canto, a professor in epigraphy).

In fact, we become very worried about the state of the ostraca at the moment. A lot of people had access to them (except the legal defence of Eliseo Gil) and possible collateral damage in case that their their authenticity would be demonstrated is considerable.

I honestly hope that they arrive soon to the laboratories otherwise we will have to organise protest actions, and with the local elections of May 2011 that would be quite a blow for EA and PNV, that consider themselves as the safeguards for Basque heritage.

Will we see after an archeology professor a diputada abertzaile de cultura who violates Basque herritage?

Koen

Maju said...

I am not genuinely anything except Basque (by chance) and Communist (in the Anarchist sense of the word, by choice). Don't get me wrong. It's too easy to put labels and create fake ghettos. Beware.

And it's spelled "abertzale", without the -i-, which would make the word sound as "-alle/-alje/-aglie/-alhe". But I guess you know that.

I would prefer this to be done the civilian way, with two (always better than one) independent (in this case that seems to mean foreign) laboratories doing the job. Specially because I don't trust the police (either corps, please don't tell me the ertzaintza is any better because it's false).

But in this case the issue is at the tribunals and you have to play by their rules because you'll get nothing doing otherwise.

"On the other side it appears that the Guardia Civil has quite a reputation in archaeological falsification and has very well equipped chemical laboratories".

And big pockets for the bribes. Beware. The best that can be hoped is a quick analytic because the more time it passes the easier they can use the power networks and money to alter science. They are probably knocking doors as we speak.

In this country there are two mafias: Spanish police and PNV (EA by extension). And let's not forget the Catholic church, specially Jesuits and Opus.

Maju said...

"As I wrote in other blogs, the locale authorities of Alava (Diputación Foral de Alava)didn't have until now (a few month later)transferred the requested artefacts to the Guardia Civil"

You mean "have not", right? "Did not have" is not a correct construction and the addition of "until now" makes it sound like they did not give the stuff but have finally done. This is not what you mean, right?

"In fact, we become very worried about the state of the ostraca at the moment".

Yes. It does sound very worrisome.

"I honestly hope that they arrive soon to the laboratories"...

I agree. The faster the less chance of corruption or manipulation. And we'll know that the important materials are fine.

"otherwise we will have to organise protest actions, and with the local elections of May 2011 that would be quite a blow for EA and PNV, that consider themselves as the safeguards for Basque heritage".

In this country there are not democratic elections nor institutions anymore. We live under state of exception all the time.

While I would not like the Spanish Single Party (PPSOE) to gain ground this is not something we can control in the current circumstances of no right to vote or protest and should be unrelated to the issue of the ostrakas. Anyhow if PNV-EA are the "safeguards for Basque heritage" we are done, as it has been demonstrated in this case.

In fact, IMO we'd be a lot better without PNV altogether because they are just a Catholic mafia (neo-Carlists of the worst kind) of total police control. However the legally available alternatives are not desirable either. I guess you can vote to Aralar since they have been the only ones to speak out in this affair (better late than never). Personally I know where my vote will go if the Spanish Inquisition allows, what I consider most unlikely. I respect Aldekoa but don't have too much of a good opinion of Aralar as a whole (they look like a Euskadiko Ezkerra bis, if you know what I'm talking about).

The PPSOE (no typo) winning in Araba probably would not help. They are not clean either and I'm sure that they also have affiliates in the UPV camarilla that started all this shame.

"Will we see after an archeology professor a diputada abertzaile de cultura who violates Basque herritage?"

Yes, it's no problem for them. They are in politics mostly just for power-mongering and making money. Actually you'd have more chances of success if you managed to raise this issue within the file and rank of EA, because there are some honest people in the grassroots of EA (more than in PNV) and they probably do not like this (or would not like if they become aware).

Awareness, social awareness is the true problem here. The issue has been largely restricted to the academic and institutional realm, where camarillas rule since long ago. The affair should be passed through to the cultural networks, some of which still exist, I believe, and in general to the public.

The weak leg of SOS I-V is, as far as I can see it, the lack of a social, popular, support. It's been so far a too elitist issue for the public to become aware properly and raise their discontent to the authorities (either by public or private protests). If this scandal would be a true scandal (i.e. with social awareness and discontent), then they would have been forced to yield some time ago. But in the elite circles, at least in this little country (and the state of exception does not help at all), it's the power-mongers and manipulators who generally win (and they are as much of PNV-EA as they are of PPSOE or Falange if need be: power is all what matters to them).

ambiorix said...

Waw Maju. You are quite pessimistic.
Maybe I am too, but I don't want to see it. With the years I learned that reality is above all unpredictable and often surprising.
I like the phrase of William the Silent, chief of the Protestant rebellion during the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands, translated it sounds something like: It is not necessary to be hopeful in order to try, nor to be successful in order to persevere.

Thank you for rehearsing English grammar, it's very welcome...