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<nettime> Basque Ball
Martin Hardie on Wed, 15 Oct 2003 11:24:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Basque Ball

Aupa Nettimers

I have had this kicking around my inbox for a few weeks but
since I have 
been fighting with mozilla's recent user profile glitch and away on my 
surreal trip to South Africa with a Mozambican cycling team I haven't 
sent it on.

But here in this place often issues relating to the so called "war on 
terror" are often picked up and discussed ... but as with many things 
the focus is on that war being waged by the US, so in the wake of the 
Dia de Espana/Columbus Day/Dia de Raz (depending where you are) I 
thought it might be useful to share the appended review with my fellow 

(I suppose these questions of identity etc are relevant to Florian S's 
recent thoughtful post here).

Unknown to many who don't have the luck each day of being able to watch
another "leader" who appears to suffer from what some might call a short blokes 
syndrome  (I mean Txe Mari Aznar) and his daily dose of waging war 
through the creation of fear the post sept 12 world has seen a real 
heightening in tension in the Basque country. This tension is not driven 
as TV Espana might let us believe by ETA or the mild mannered 
Lehendekari Ibaretxe ( Ibaretxe is the President (Lehendekari) of the 
Basque Government)  but by the continual attacks on Basque institutions, 
culture, media sport and language by the Spanish government and its 

Has anyone managed to catch either of the two films (The Basque Ball/La 
Pelota Vasca or The Galindez Mystery) referred to below? I am happy to 
receive pirated copies of either for viewing here in windy Maputo.

Eskerek Asko eta Agur



Basque Ball sparks bitter debate

Fiachra Gibbons, arts correspondent in San Sebastian
Monday September 22, 2003
The Guardian

The most controversial Spanish film in decades had its premiere last 
night despite a government campaign to ban it.
The Basque Ball, an emotional documentary by the acclaimed director 
Julio Medem, urges the government to reopen talks with Basque 
extremists. It received a five-minute standing ovation at the San 
Sebastian Film Festival after convulsing Spain in an ugly debate over 
whether it should be outlawed.
The ruling rightwing Popular party refused to cooperate with the film, 
and has kept up a ferocious assault on what it termed Basque-born 
Medem's "suspicious enterprise".
But many anti-secessionist Basques have rallied to the director's 
defence, with the socialist mayor of San Sebastian, Odon Elorza, 
claiming the clock was being turned back to the "time when the man with 
the little moustache [General Franco] covered women's breasts, had the 
bottoms of nudes in museums draped and eliminated all 'red' films".
He added: "It is one thing to criticise a film, but it's another to do 
all you can to make sure it is never shown."
Medem, the director of Sex and Lucia, and Cows, claimed he was not a 
nationalist, but despaired at the division that the lack of talks was 
causing in the Basque country, where half of the inhabitants were 
"immigrants" from the rest of Spain.
Advocating talks with the separatist group Eta or its supporters, 
however, has been a heresy since the prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's 
government banned its political wing Batasuna last year and closed down 
a string of cultural groups, which it claimed were fronts for its 
terrorist activities.
The ban has revived support for the party, whose vote had plummeted to 
10% after Eta broke a 14-month ceasefire in 1999, alleging that Mr Aznar 
had sabotaged peace talks.
The culture minister, Pilar del Castillo, led the attacks on festival 
organisers, and refused an invitation to see the film. She condemned 
Medem for blaming Mr Aznar's "Spanish ultra-nationalism" as much as the 
"When you start from the position that a legally constituted government 
voted for by 10 million people is one pole, and the other is a terrorist 
group, that puts you in a delicate position," she said.
But far from taking a pro-nationalist line, the film, for which more 
than 70 of the autonomous region's politicians, intellectuals and 
victims of violence were interviewed, makes extremely uncomfortable 
viewing for Basque nationalists, never mind Eta.
The author and academic Maria Delgado said: "There is no comfort in the 
film for Basque nationalists, but neither is there for the government."
Meanwhile, a film about another murky chapter in Madrid's ties with the 
Basques, is also making headlines.
The Galindez Mystery, starring Harvey Keitel and Saffron Burrows, 
recounts how the CIA allegedly colluded in General Franco's kidnap, 
torture and murder of the former Basque prime minister Jesus Galindez, 
who was living in exile in the US after the Spanish civil war.

"the riddle which man must solve, he can only solve in being, in 
being what he is and not something else...."

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