7 August 2008 Edition

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Mála Poist

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An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please


Support for Basque prisoners

I recently visited the Basque country and travelled through the seven provinces.  It was an exhilarating experience as the countryside is spectacular and spellbinding.
All through the Pyrenees on both sides of the border, the Basque culture was strongly evident in both the language and sport.  The mass support and attraction of Pilota (similar to Handball but played on a Fronton Court with three walls) was obvious from Bayonne to Tudeli.  Indeed, passing through Pamplona in the middle Sunday of San Fermin was akin to Thurles on Munster Final day.
The newspapers in both Iparralde (French side of border) and Hegoalde were filled with reports of the political conflict and negotiations for its resolution.
The campaign for the release of all prisoners was hugely evident on the Biscaya coastline.  On Friday afternoon at rush hour the main street of Lekeitio was the scene of an impressive demonstration calling for the release of all prisoners jailed because of the conflict.  The street was lined with hundreds of supporters holding aloft two huge banners as native Basque music was broadcast.
The town was extensively covered with posters some of which carried photographs of the local political prisoners.  The slogan called for a general amnesty and there were also posters detailing information of all of the prisoners, the jails in which they were being held and the dates of their convictions as well as small pictures of each of the prisoners.
As we journeyed back towards Biarritz for the return flight, the frontier town of Hondarribia carried posters calling for the release of their native prisoner.
I hope the attached photographs convey some of the atmosphere experienced in the journey through the Basque country.
Ó Concubhair,


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