I had made a decision not to post anything further than what I wrote regarding the incident between Aitzol Azurtza, president of the NY Basque Center, and the Basque government during the Gala to celebrate the Center’s 100th Anniversary. I gave my opinion about PNV and supported Aitzol’s position. Then, I caught wind that he’d resigned from his duties as president of the NY Basque Center for personal reasons, updated my blog post, and left it at that.
Since then, additional information has come to light related to Aitzol’s private life. Whether I agree with it or not had nothing to do with the events that took place during the Anniversary celebration, so I chose not to publish the news on my blog. You can get acquainted with the controversy here (in Spanish), and here (in English).
But today, the NY Basque Center board asked me to share a note defending Aitzol from the invasion of privacy campaign he’s been subjected to by the press, and in order to do so, I had to at least give this brief of a background note for those of you who were not aware of the situation.
Open letter from the Euzko-Etxea of New York in solidarity with Aitzol Azurtza
New York, October 20th 2013
Dear members and friends,
This Sunday October 20th the Euzko-Etxea of New York held a monthly meeting, in which the events to commemorate our centennial, and the latest news reported by some media outlets have been analyzed. Further to this meeting, the EENY assembly would like to express the following:
First of all, we would like to sincerely thank all of those who took part in the centennial celebrations turning it into a huge success. We would specially like to thank the many Basques and Basque-Americans who came from several North-American Basque Clubs to honor us with their presence and their affection.
We would also like to state that the Euzko-Etxea of New York is a cultural and non-political organization. Our Basque Club is formed by a wide variety of members of many different origins, which include the Basque Autonomous Community, Upper Navarre, Iparralde, and the USA, for whom the common denominator is their commitment to Basque culture. In this context of diversity Euzko-Etxea has the duty to preserve its independence.
Euzko-Etxea of New York operates through volunteers and an assembly that practices direct democracy rules it. The assembly also elects a board of directors to manage and represent the Basque Club on behalf of the assembly. The EENY assembly would like to firmly denounce the attempt to make the former EENY president Aitzol Azurtza the sole responsible figure of the decision taken by the board of directors regarding the congratulatory message from the mayor of Donostia-San Sebastian. The assembly takes full responsibility for all decisions taken by the board of directors, and thanks the determination shown by the directors in defending Euzko-Etxea’s independence.
Moreover, the assembly would like to express in the strongest possible terms its condemnation against the invasion of privacy promoted by part of the press in an effort to discredit our member Aitzol Azurtza. Aitzol is a highly respected figure among Euzko-Etxea members due to his commitment to Basque culture, leadership, and highly effective organizational skills, as well as for the invaluable work he has done for our club since he became a member in 2007. Proof of his commitment are his work as Basque language teacher, and his work at the board of directors, first as Second Secretary, and later as President, under whose leadership the Centennial events came to fruition. It is absolutely disgusting and deeply saddening for us to see how Aitzol’s private life has been exposed and manipulated by some media. The assembly would like to express is solidarity with Aitzol, to whom we acknowledge the huge personal sacrifice incurred in order to defend the independence of Euzko-Etxea, and we would like to encourage him to continue participating actively in our club.
Finally, Euzko-Etxea of New York would like to underline its continuous commitment promote Basque culture from an inclusive, plural, and modern perspective.
Euzko-Etxea of New York Assembly
- Being beautiful is not easy
- Basque singing at the Basque Market on Friday, October 25