Friday, March 31, 2006


Once again, I'm in Pamplona for a few days. I come up here to the north of Spain fairly regularly so am now getting to be an old hand on this fine city of Iruña (as the Basques call it) or Pamplona as everyone else in the world prefers.
The Basque dream is to make Iruña their capital when Zapatero hands out another chunk of Spain to the nationalists. There is a small problem for the Txistorra eaters, Navarra is not part of the Basque provinces of Spain (or, rather obviously France) which will become, one day, the glorious country of Euzkal Herria. Navarra is a one-off autonomy (like Murcia or Madrid) which used to be something else a thousand years ago, but is now resolutely Spanish. The province is bi-lingual, but I have actually heard just one family talking euzkera on a hospital visit. Everyone I ask here looks gloomy and says that they only speak Spanish and that Basque is a language from the high mountains.
I just asked the bloke at the next table about the foregoing in the cyber-cafe where I write this. Hooting with indignation. He says 'Euzkera isn't a language! It's a dialect!'
He doesn't speak a word of it. Won't on principle. I mean, it's not like you having a few words of French or German or something. The upper limit of Basque spoken here is 'agur' for good-bye.

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