Further plans and hopes for the project:
Basques. Over traumas into progressive society
Almost 10 years passed since I had visit Basque Country for the first time. I remember falling in love with this places and those people immediately. At some point I had to admit to myself that this fascination had grow into obsession following numerous visits spontanious or organized in any possible way. Living there, having friends is one thing but necessity to understand and learn turned into a decade long in and out field study over this unique culture. I have put a lot of time, money and effort getting to know tradition and folklore of Basques but while doing so I have deliberately put aside one crucial topic I knew I need much more time and experience to follow – basque politics and social reality.
Small territory, accesibility of people and places and specific moment in history gives a prepared observer possibility of witnessing most basic political processes and motivations that shaped european nations yet are impossible to identify now in the era of institutional cynicism and post-truth social reality. In Basque Country politics seem to be closer to common people that any other place I had chance to visit. Political awarness of citizens is incredibly high, no matter the age, sex, social status and ideological divides. It was shaped through traumas, fears and guilts but in the end it seems to produced exemplary way of solidary effort to change and transform own social environment into better.
Complexity of problem includes calculation of: strong cultural identification of part of society and it's national emancipation demands, living memory of civil wars and conflicts back from ninetieth century, trauma of spanish Civil War and Franco regime crimes, massive fall of industrial society and in the end wounds and guilts from the time of ETA terrorist activity. All this is visible on streets of basque towns and cities and can be heard in daily talks between people. On the other hand european public opinion seems to avoid giving basque problems recognition. Spain's economical problems put whole continent in risque, keeping Iberian peninsula out of trouble is crucial in menaging emigration from north african countries so Basques are part and in opinion of some, victims of global politics. Positions of some extremists among them, making territorial demands of French basque provinces do not help as well.
Using my experience as photographer and journalist in addition to few years strong research and study over history and culture of this region I would like to highlight unrecognized aspects of Basque society and appreciate it's effort in taking responibility for difficult past and confronting globalization peacefully. As I mentioned I was planning to start working over this project in the moment that I will feel ready and will have a good feedback from local people. Last Year I witnessed two big demonstrations and had chance to meet and talk to people directly involved or affected by most vibrant, actual aspects of basque political reality. Their reaction to my curiosity was encourageing.
Subject is wide and complex so support from strong institution and experienced professional would be priceless. Basques hold a sort of annual calendar of protests and political activities so it would take at least one year to prepare full story although independent parts of work or relations from unpredicted activities could be sent after first 2-3 months of work.