Patxi Saez Beloki
In this article the Basque sociolinguist Patxi Saez Beloki describes two beautiful metaphors referring to the Basque People and their language: The Father’s House and The Mother’s Fire.
The Father’s House (Aitaren Etxea, in Basque) was a poem by the famous writer Gabriel Aresti (1964). It is a poem that achieved great success, due to its strong symbolic content, and which was translated into many languages. The Father’s House is Euskal Herria, the Basque Country, the nation threatened and trampled at that time by the Franco dictatorship, which the writer undertakes to defend until his last breath.
The Mother’s Fire (Amaren Sua, in Basque) is a symbolic creation of the writer Bittor Kapanaga. The Mother’s Fire is the essence of the Basque People, their language. It is what gives warmth to the Father’s House. It is the heart and soul of Euskal Herria. Without the Mother’s Fire, the Father’s House is a dark and cold corner, it is not a real home. The Basque language is what makes us a People and a Nation, it is the Mother’s Fire, the central and fundamental element of our being Basque. Without it, the Father’s House will never be a welcoming place.