Friday, April 8, 2011

Korrika 2011 (running for Basque language)

This is a tradition of decades in the Basque Country: the bi-yearly Korrika (lit. "running"), which is both a demonstration in favor of Basque language (and a zillion accessory initiatives) and a fund-rising effort for the Coordination of Basque language Alphabetization (AEK) the largest and best established nation-wide association of adult teaching Basque language academies. 

Korrika runs through the country in zig-zag fashion and each kilometer (or several) may be purchased by non-profit associations or individuals who sponsor that stretch of the non-competitive race and may then use it to air their own grievances. Naturally urban kilometers are expensive and open road ones extremely cheap (demand dictates). Regardless people can join the Korrika at any point at leave at any other. Nobody wins: it's just about jogging together for a good cause. 

Parallel activities such as lottery and stuff sales, concerts and others also serve to raise funding for AEK while Korrika is going on. However the most important thing is probably how nearly everybody likes to converge even if for a few minutes around this so important national and cultural event. Hardly any other event is so universally appealing.

This year's start at Trebiñu (Treviño, originally Uda) wants to make an important point. This locality was punished for resisting until the end to the Castilian conquest in 1200 and given as feudal land to an earl (hence the term Condado de Treviño) instead of being granted ample self-rule, as happened to the rest Western Navarre (today's Basque Autonomous Community). Trebiñu is still today part of Castile-León against the will of their inhabitants who have repeatedly demanded to become part of Araba and the autonomous region of the Basque Country.

It is almost incredible how wounds opened 811 years ago are still open... but they are.

You can watch a video of the first journey of this year's Korrika at Gara, for example.

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