Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Living in Basque, right and challenge, even in prison

For the past six years, teachers and teachers working in Euskaltegis, we have participated in a beautiful adventure. As we said in the last Korrika with thousands of Basque citizens, proud and popular.

The dispersion was in full force, and hundreds of Basques had completely beaten the right to live in Basque: they had been uprooted for being Basque political prisoners.

The disaster causes multiple injuries, all painful. In addition to the victims themselves, the suffering of family and friends stands out. And we must remember all those avoidable deaths resulting from the dispersion, first of all, those caused by long journeys imposed, those caused by lack of adequate medical care, isolation and isolation to the limit...

This policy of alienation and dispersion has also sought to steal language: the word, the Basque language. A terrible wound, to the point! In order to try to heal this wound, six years ago we started working with the prisoners who were in those distant jails, in order to help those who originally wanted to obtain the EGA title. From this first step arises the trajectory that this group of professors of Euskaltegis has developed in recent years.

Prevented. On the basis of this suggestive phrase, we wanted to address the grave denial of rights implied by that exile. The Basque political prisoners, like the other Basques, held the right to live and learn Basque. They exist. And rights must be defended, enforced, always.

We owe all citizens and all prisoners the possibility of living in Basque. Guaranteeing the right to Basque learning. The Penitentiary Center needs Euskera and the contribution of the prison population

The refusal to study in Basque at the university, the imposition to speak in Spanish in postal or telephone communications… It was also impossible to learn to improve the Basque or to be able to live in Basque. In 2019-2020, we had 43 professors trying to open a healing space to this denial of rights. Through postal tutorials, with visits that would be necessary for friends… With so many other prisoners, we developed a nice trajectory in the last years of dispersion, with elegant results. Above all the difficulties, the Basque Country, the non-slip medicine, the licit relationship with the Basque Country.

And after the dispersion was over, fortunately, a new era opened, also in this one. And what we have seen is that, even in the Basque country itself, prison is a system of exile. And to see that there is a long way to go to guarantee the right to learn Basque to all prisoners. We also wanted to do our bit. To enable prisoners to exercise their right to study and live in Basque, on an equal footing, without any discrimination.

From the outset, we ask those in charge of the administration that the learning of the Basque language in the penitentiary centers should be official, offering the same opportunities offered on the street, guaranteeing the methodology and the appropriate means developed through the Euskaltegis.

In the meantime, in the last year and in the last year we have put a great deal of effort into it. A road taken with Basque political prisoners to make it an opportunity for all prisoners. With the effort we made in Zaballan we opened the way: 106 prisoners expressed their willingness to learn Basque and registered. We had to prioritize those levels that could not respond to everything and could give a result faster. We were also given the opportunity in Basauri and Martutene. No, unfortunately, in Pamplona, let alone in Lannemezán.

The results of this journey have been very satisfactory. During the course 2022-2023, 62 students studied Basque in Zaballa, 33 in Martutene and 24 in Basauri. They have made a huge effort and the results have been excellent. This has been acknowledged by those responsible for HABE. The 33 professors who have collaborated in this effort would like to first express our satisfaction and gratitude to the students, as well as to all those who have helped us along this road. Besides channeling the classes, we have been able to share with the prisoners various activities: talks, songs, theatrical activities, special courses...

As soon as we left, Zaballan Bertso Eskola worked in a pioneering way. Their collaboration was essential to facilitate first access. Our thanks go from here. Other cultural players have accompanied us. As always, generous and admirable Basque cultural creators.

This is surely the most important issue: that the Basque country is a very effective means of improving coexistence, even in prison; that the Basque country has demonstrated, even in prison, that it opens the door to the development of all people; that, therefore, the Basque country can be the fundamental driving force for radically changing the prison, which has an enormous liberating capacity. All this has been visible in this fruitful experience developed in Zaballa, Basauri and Martutene.

For this course, we were promised that institutions, prison administration and HABE would officially and completely address the learning process. What had to be in October has now materialised. And the actions of the prisoners who are already studying have all the official protection. Already, the teachers who have worked by pure will, we have testified to the Euskaltegis so that they and they develop what they have put in place. It is a fundamental step in its smallness. Above all, because the next course, in the prisons of Martutene, Basauri and Zaballa, will be able to learn Basque comprehensively, recognizing equal rights and without discrimination.

The new steps, of course, require more steps to make the possibility of living in Basque in prisons real and quality, as prison itself is a system of desire. A great deal of effort will have to be made to ensure that Euskera and Basque culture are protagonists in ensuring that access to prisoners is faster and more robust. In order for us all to renounce the punitive penitentiary model and otherwise address the needs of each and every one of these Basque citizens.

“The Basque Country is our only free territory,” Sarrionandia said. It can be an effective axis for learning to live in freedom and in good coexistence. That's right. We see it every day in the Basque Country. We have also seen this in prisons. We would like to make a special appeal to Basque society in general, and to Euskaltegis in particular and to all the promoters of Basque culture, to be attentive and to take into account, for the next course, the prisons during registration.

And, being on the electoral campaign, of course, a concrete request to all political parties: a reflection and a proposal. The right to live in Basque must be guaranteed for all citizens, without any discrimination. For this to be true, we need effective, courageous language policies. From respect for the decisions of the Basque people and our democratic institutions, of course. And new opportunities must be opened up in all areas. One of these challenges is to organize the Basque classes in prisons in a dignified and appropriate manner. And from there, start thinking and organizing “strangers” that will overcome the current penitentiary model, taking into account the inmates who have been so important in our field.

To make this journey possible, many professors of the Basque Country have made a generous financial contribution. And we've been selling our bags, throwing a banner in the manifestos -- now, at the time we're fired, at deciding what to do with the simple means we've gathered, we're going to move our last remains to the Host Association.

A student from Basauri wrote to us at the Korrika:

Ttipi ttapa, ttipi ttapa...

it couldn't be,

You couldn't.

would not be possible,

You couldn't...

as each


Of course! It's been fantastic. From the satisfaction provided by the commitment we want to state that it has been worthwhile, especially for students, because it is always worth undertaking to expand, expand, consolidate rights. Fortunately, the great desire is over, but we want and need the Basque prisoners at home; in the Basque people, students and teachers, always in the effort to live in Basque.

We owe all citizens and all prisoners the possibility of living in Basque. Guaranteeing the right to Basque learning. The prison needs Euskera and the Basque contribution to the prison population.

Thank you very much to everyone who has contributed to this adventure.


A world without walls dreaming, building cracks, from the Basque and the Basque!

Group of Professors of the Basque Country of Prisoners

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