TOUR 2023 From Euskal Herria to the world

In life it is important to savor the good moments lived with joy, as has been the departure and the passage of the TOUR through EH. We have lived a collective moment as a people of which we should feel proud.

A national event where many of our best abilities have converged. Organizational capacity, both logistical and social, as well as institutional and popular, capacity for social mobilization with people in the streets living in their own way the recognition of the sporting effort of the cyclists, emotional and plastic unity in a red, green and white tide of a people called Euskal Herria.

EH shares with two other European nations without State, Flanders and Brittany, the fact of being people who respect, love and live cycling in their own way. From this position, the Tour, which is the most followed annual sporting event worldwide, has served us to present ourselves to the world as a positive people

A communion of country, a joint space in which each one of us can be part and also show our uniqueness as a different people. Organizational solvency, sporting sense, emotional communion, artistic expressiveness, vindictive imagination and popular mobilization, bringing together all these capabilities in collective work spaces can be a good recipe to face the decisive challenges of the future that we will live as a people and that will require us to give the best of us.

EH shares with two other European nations without State, Flanders and Brittany, the fact of being people who respect, love and live cycling in their own way. From this position, the Tour, which is the most followed annual sporting event worldwide, has served us to present ourselves to the world as a positive people, as what we are and how we want to be, working for international recognition through sport, putting the best of our abilities and values to be a nation with full power of decision.

An international projection continues over time, in all kinds of sporting events, during this summer Basque athletes with less media coverage have represented us as a people worldwide … the “pelotaris” in the USA and Mexico, the segalaris in Slovenia, the skateboarders in France, the women’s water polo team in Greece, the skyrace men and women in Madeira or Switzerland, roller field hockey in Macau, or to recognize the imposing “euskal selekzioa” of kayaksurf that last fall won its seventh world championship, we have also had in EH with the classic international of Donostia, with international handball matches with Finland, with Slovenia in basketball under 19, or our Euskarians. …etc.

Sport is a reflection of each society, of the best and worst of its contradictions, of its social tensions and current debates, and therefore a reflection of the Basque community. Outwardly, it serves for all states to project themselves on a global level. Inwardly, both sport and sporting events can contribute to social cohesion, to national structuring and to the strengthening of a collective imaginary as a people

All of them remind us of the importance of the Basque sports teams to compete at international level. Everything that has happened around the pelota federation this summer, cannot cause frustration, the majority social adhesion that the Basque sports teams have in our country, is a challenge to share common work spaces and unity of action to move from the recognition that we already have in the world as a sporting country to the practical officialdom. A step in which athletes, fans and society will surely win.

Sport is a reflection of each society, of the best and worst of its contradictions, of its social tensions and current debates, and therefore a reflection of the Basque community. Outwardly, it serves for all states to project themselves on a global level. Inwardly, both sport and sporting events can contribute to social cohesion, to national structuring and to the strengthening of a collective imaginary as a people; the red, green and white tide of the tour is an example, as is our sporting singularity. Outwards Euskal Herria munduan, inwards Euskal Herria Batera!

The specificity of Basque sports should be another great source of pride, both for the very high level of federated people practicing some kind of sport, as well as for the scope and social work of all kinds of sports.  Some of their own origin, such as Basque pelota and “herri kirolak”; or fixed-bench rowing, which has had its own historical development in EH; or being a country of cycling and mountaineering.  A sign of identity of these people, a challenge for these sports to continue to have the best health and the strongest development, are strategic both for what they contribute to our culture and the unity of the community, as for strengthening relations between peoples and territories of Euskal Herria.

In EH BATERA in each celebration of the Aberri Eguna since the pandemic, we have tried to inspire us by recognizing the institutional work and community building that our social, cultural, institutional and economic fabric perform daily to celebrate a moment of the country together. Proud of our EH, of its people, of its territories… to speak to the whole Basque community, as a whole, plural in tastes and in the way of expressing itself and to gather all the heartbeats that are given by this country, proposing a moment of unitary celebration … always with a horizon that more and more people make it their own, celebrate their feeling of being part of the national community of EH, and support forms of work in common, moments of unity as a people.

A nation who feels in a special way, a nation who also lives sport in a special way, a celebration of the Aberri Eguna that should also be inspired by one of our greatest sporting events that takes place every year at the end of the summer in our country. The regattas of La Concha, the annual Olympics of the Euskal Herria Marítima, where people fight against the open sea to materialize the sporting work of an entire season, a struggle at sea and a joint party on land, with fans sharing space and port, merging into a collective celebration. A moment of country, special, of collective effort, of celebration and unity. Its own and different way of living, understanding, practicing and relating to sport also makes us a people.

Images: cycling-times, Trailrun (jsaragossa)

Carlos Etchepare
Euskal Herria Batera
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