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eitb24 News Channel
A1.15 Oldest Basque Writing / Lehendakari in Washington D.C.  

Originally published on June 15, 2006 by John M. Ysursa. Neither NABO or the Basque Government is responsible for the following content. For more information, &/or to get on our email list, contact us at info@nabasque.org  

Astero strives to bring matters of Basque interest to your attention, and recently two stories from eitb24 (reproduced here in case the links change) touched on the oldest found writing in Basque, and Lehendakari Ibarretxe's trip to Washington D.C.


Basque PM claims right to
decide as solution to Basque conflict

[From eitb24.com June 6, 2006]

Basque Premier Juan José Ibarretxe said Tuesday the "main obstacles" for the Basque peace process are the "violent acts by people unhappy with the process " and the "inflexibility of the application of the prisons policy.

At a conference at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington the Basque Premier called for the "active involvement of prominent international figures and institutions" to support the "Basque peace process and political normalization".

Juan José Ibarretxe, Basque PM

At a conference at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., Lehendakari Ibarretxe (President of the Basque Autonomous Region) said the obstacles for peace will be groups of people unhappy with the situation and prisons policy.

Ibarretxe also claimed the right to self-determination for the Basque Country as the solution to the political conflict and reminded that the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro declared independence three weeks ago ending a partnership with Serbia going back to 1918 and "solving a political problem within the very same heart of Europe".

According to the Basque Premier, this first permanent cease-fire in ETA's history arises from a complex combination of circumstances, including massive popular campaigns against violence, the political impact of a proposal by the Basque Government for a new Statute of Autonomy, and the election of a new Spanish administration disposed to new approaches toward the Basque issue.

The Basque premier said that ETA´s permanent ceasefire "provides a historic chance to solve the Basque conflict, the last political conflict of this kind within the European Union". However, Ibarretxe pointed out the cease-fire may be the end to 40 years of but it is not an end to the Basque problem. Previous attempts to solve the conflict for former Spanish presidents Felipe González in Argel in 1989 and José María Aznar in Switzerland in 1998 failed because they mixed up two different problems, ETA's violence and the solution of the Basque political conflict, Ibarretxe reminded.


Oldest colour names, verbs
and religious references in Basque

From eitb24.com, June 15, 2006

The managers of the archaeological site Iruña-Veleia, ten kilometres away from Vitoria-Gasteiz, have unveiled the details of their discovery today. As they have said, they have found words of two kinds: common, and linked to religious issues.

Among the common words, they found "zuri urdin gori" (colours white, blue and red), "urdin isar" (blue star) -although philologists think that in this case the meaning is separate star and blue-, "edan ian lo" (drink, eat, sleep), "ian ta edan" (eat and drink) and "jaun" (lord).

The details of what could be the first inscriptions in Basque have been unveiled today. Among the words found, "Zuri urdin gori" (white, blue, red), "edan ian lo" (drink, eat, sleep), or "jaun" (lord).  This photo is at the Iruña-Veleia archaeological site.

Iruña-Veleia archaeological site

Other words are linked to religious issues: "Geure ata zutan" (our Father among us), the greeting ancient Christians used, and "Iesus, Ioshe ata ta Mirian ama" (Jesus, Jose and Virgin Mary), that is, the Sacred Family.

According to this discovery, the first common words in Basque would have been found in Alava, bringing the apparition of written Basque records several centuries backwards in time. The first recorded writing was, as in the case of Spanish, San Millán's glosses (La Rioja).

Philological debate

The manager of the site, Eliseo Gil, and the philologists Hendrike Knörr (vice-president of the Academy of Basque Language) and Joaquín Gorrotxategi, have explained for the press that the findings have an "outstanding importance," but they have demanded more time for investigations.

The words were found on the foundations of a house, written on bricks, although some of them were inscribed on glass and bones. Apart from the Basque words, drawings showing scenes of Jesus' life were also found, as well as what could be a representation of the Last Supper.


The managers of the archaeological site have shown their anger at the leaks about the latest findings in the Alavan town.

"These have been totally irresponsible leaks that have annoyed the scientific community raising suspicions of fraud and search of prominence," Knörr affirmed.