JOXE ARAKAMA LOPEZ DE GEREÑU.
The author describes in the article the way colonization processes unfold. Conquest paves the grounds for colonization, i.e. a conquest provides the platform initiating the process to alienate a people from their language, culture, values and world view. A people subjected to colonization is not just stripped of its own language, culture and values, it undergoes a substitution of these aspects for the metropolis’ language, culture and values, with the subdued people seeing its culture replaced. For an instance, following French revolution, school was the single most important institutional device for the imposition of colonisers’ values: “May each school be a colony of French language for the conquered people” (P. Lorraine, in Urmeneta, Asisko. Eusklabo alaiak, page 5, Donostia, 2017).
Spain and France do not obviously accept the present-day situation of the Basque Country and Catalonia represents a colonial situation. However, they have not asked us the Basques or the Catalans whether we share that feeling or if we agree with the present-day status. They have not given us the opportunity to voice our opinion on the present-day state of things, or alternatively, we wish to live on our own.
They go on to provide false arguments in their attempt to justify the colonial situation, dwelling on the concept of “a shared history, language and common culture”. They hide the fact that the alleged shared language is nothing more than the outcome of decades-long imposition to marginalize and ban our language, Basque.
Another claim emphasizes that we all live in a situation of equality, both the colonized and the colonisers. By contrast, they do have their flag, language, national teams, identity card and so on internationally acknowledged and practicable anywhere. Not us the Basques.
Further like claims note that for a territory to be a colony, it must lie far from the metropolis. However, the contradiction is apparent, since even when it comes to ‘remote’ colonies, like Martinique, Canary Islands (3,000 km away), or Melilla, they do not accept they are colonial areas. This idea of remoteness is therefore another opportunistic colonial argument.
Another argument raised by the Spanish is that the Basques have at this point been absorbed into Spanish culture. Now that is a half-lie, but partially true. If they are so positive that our situation is not colonial, what justifies so intense a presence of police, Civil Guard and military in the Iberian Basque Country? 7,063 Civil Guard and state police operatives, along with 8,000 Basque police members in the Basque Autonomous Community, plus a staff of 1,230 officers in Iberian Navarre, they all make up for the highest police rate in Europe, rising to 6,8 officers per 1,000 inhabitants, and the military are not in the count.
The coronavirus pandemic has evinced more than ever our colonial status. The “state of alarm” has been declared for the whole territory of Spain, with the Spanish Government adopting measures to re-centralize the state, single-handedly and with no consultations to the autonomous governments. It has actually suspended the autonomous governments, including Iberian Navarre, Basque Autonomous Community and Catalonia.