A Basque in Boise

Open letter from the Euzko-Etxea of NY in solidarity with Aitzol Azurtza

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.

Euzko-Etxea of NY

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




Thanks for passing by: ↓

Anne Marie Aitzol Azurtza Koitz Miren Aitor Bilbao Ania Diana Iratxe de Madariaga Todor Sharon Frank Lostaunau Percy Hemsworth

4 thoughts on “Open letter from the Euzko-Etxea of NY in solidarity with Aitzol Azurtza

  1. Iratxe de Madariaga

    I completely agree, Aitzols private life is as said private and I was also disgusted to see how it came out in orden to harm him!! Also, if he participated as an actor in whatever film he wanted is up to him and I did not understand why anyone had to bring it out. All my support!! Aurrera Aitzol, eta zorionak barriro NY Euskaletxeari antolatu eben gauzengatik. Atsegin neban pilo ikustea ikurrinak NYeko leku berezietan eta pena bat ez nintzela joan baino kanpotik oso polita egon zan dana. It is true that there might have been some protocol mistakes but it seemed to be all very well organized. So congratulations from a Basque of Euskalherria with some Basquechilean roots also!!

  2. Aitor

    Unfortunately, this letter. like other explanations before, miss the point. The lehendakari is not representing a Political Party but the whole community.

    Second, Aitzol was betrayed by the same press which interviewed him to get some declarations against the position of the Basque Government.

    Third, although I think that exposing details about Aitzol is simply yellow press, those pages are in the internet and aren’t private , on the contrary, they are professional pages.

    Fourth, the only name of the members of the NY board of directors made public has been Aitzol’s although he didn’t probably take decisions alone. I wouldn’t discard he has also been “a useful shield” for others’ purposes.

  3. Todor

    Aitor, you are right, Aitzol did not act as a free agent taking decisions alone. He did at all times represent the board of directors (he actually convinced them about not showing the video aware of the importance of the Lehendakari). Even if some small protocol issues happened during the gala (honestly, I was there and no one besides the protocol professionals noticed), there was no intention to harm. Aitzol did not disrespect the Lehendakari, and if some think he did, be assured that he had no intent, and I know that Lehendakari Urkullu is aware of this.
    On the other hand exposing Aitzol’s activities, even if the pages are in the internet, was done with a real intention to harm. This I cannot accept. There was no reason to get into that field because those activities are not related to his former position in the Euskal Etxea.
    Euskal Etxea members, by backing the board of directors, have taken all responsability about what happened. Still, instead of attacking the Euskal Etxea, people and media go for the easy prey and keep on attacking and bashing Aitzol.
    I humbly think that it is about time we stop all this nonsense and leave him alone.

  4. Frank Lostaunau

    I’m not familiar with the details of what happened and it’s my impression that the entire matter has become a bit of a scandal.
    Thank you Aitzol for your role in having organized the GAYALDI You and members of the NY Basque Club created a safe, non-shaming, nurturing social event and welcomed the community. If that’s not a GOOD DEED, I don’t know what is.
    For those of us who are Queer, it hasn’t always been easy to be open and willing to identify ourselves publicly. And, to welcome the “dancing boys” must have made the Gayaldi more fun! I’ve never been especially thrilled by skinny dancers as I prefer somebody a bit more chubby!
    I have a hunch that once this fuss blows over, most folks will moveon.com. Hang in there!

    Quico Antonio Lostaunau
    San Francisco

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