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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Antifascist memorial acts forbidden

The dynamics of re-fascistation in this little Basque Country are reaching unimagined levels: yesterday the Spanish political tribunal (Audiencia Nacional) declared illegal all acts by the perfectly legal association
Ahaztuak ("the forgotten ones") that is dedicated to restore the memory of those fallen fighting against fascism or impunely murdered by it. Gudari Eguna (the day of the fighter) was estabilished for this reason in September 26th, to remember the Basque anti-fascist fighters, known as gudariak (fighters or warriors).

This date is also used by ETA supporters to commemorate those militants fallen or imprisoned but the two activities are unrelated.

Yesterday though some of the many demonstrations held by Ahaztuak throughout the country found themselves with police harassment because the Neoinquisitor Eloy Velasco has arbitrarily decided they were illegal. Ahaztuak has wowed to appeal the resolution but this year's acts have found themselves banned anyhow. They have also demanded from the authorities to forbid the fascist demonstration scheduled for the upcoming November 11th in Pamplona.

There is a traditional hymn usually sang in this occasion:

Eusko Gudariak gara
Euskadi askatzeko,
gerturik daukagu odola
bere aldez emateko.

Irrintzi bat entzun da
mendi tontorrean
goazen gudari danok
Ikurriñan atzean.

Faxistak datoz eta
Euskadi da altxatzen.
goazen gudari danok
gure aberria askatzen.


We are the Basque fighters,
for the freedom of the Basque Country,
the blood we have ready
to be given for it.

A war cry is heard
on top of the mountain,
let's go all the fighters
after our flag.

Because the fascists are coming
the Basque Country rises up,
let's go all fighters
to liberate our fatherland.

The song was proposed in 1983 to become that of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (Western Basque Country) but a different one was chosen instead.

Translation notes:
Irrintzi (from irri=laughter) is the traditional high pitched cry of Basques, somewhat similar to that of Berber women but expressed with the throat only, not using the tongue, it is more often associated with joy and celebration but can also have that connotation of war cry and I think it has that meaning here.
Ikurriña (from ikur=sign, ensign) is a proper name (a neologism by Sabino Arana) for the Basque flag, other flags are not called that way (bandera instead, from Spanish), so "our flag" is a logical translation.
Aberri is another neologism by Sabino Arana that means fatherland, even if the etymology is maybe more based on Sumerian (aba=father, cow) than on real Basque. The root aba- does appear in a couple of Basque words, namely apaiz (priest, surely from the same root as abbot and surely of West Asian origins itself but a recent loanword from Romance in any case) and abere (cattle, domestic animal), from which aberatz (wealth). This one is, in my opinion, a truly old West Asian loanword that surely comes from Neolithic times.
Gudari is arguably also a neologism, from guda, war but only in the sense of legitimate war or popular upsrising, in particular for the Basque struggle for freedom. For regular wars, the Romance loanword gerra is the correct one. The professional suffix -ari is similar to that one found in other languages (like English -er, Spanish -ero/-era, etc.) but in Basque ari is also an auxiliar verb meaning activity. The etymology of guda is not known but to me it reminds of bagauda, which is said to be a Celtic word (??) but in Basque could well mean emphatically (ba-) "we have" [rights or whatever]. It also reminds me of that typical cry of "gora gu ta gutarrak!": up with us and ours [our people]!

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