Thursday, April 7, 2011


Gernika (euskera, Basque)/Guernica (español, Spanish)

The ongoing story of our visit to Basque Country.

Alberto, our host and guide, had so much that he wanted to show us--the must-sees of Basque Country-- so we covered a lot of territory on that Thursday, June 10th. With each outing we traveled a little further. On this day, after the hospital visit, we entered another province, Bizkaia/Viscaya. Our first stop was the famous historic city of Gernika/Guernica.

When I was a Spanish language teacher, I became familiar with the widely-known Picasso mural, the "Guernica". It appeared in nearly all of our textbooks. As we walked around the city that day last June, we came across a mosaic replica.

I have read that the inscription underneath is a form of protest, but I do not understand the meaning of the suffix to explain or translate it. The locals maintain that the original Picasso ought to belong to their city, however, it is currently housed in the national museum of modern art, the Reina Sofía, in Madrid. There is a campaign going on right now toward that end, and as of today they have 9,600 signatures.

Picasso's "Guernica" depicts the atrocities of war--the death and suffering of women, children and animals--and was prompted by the bombing of Gernika, on market day, seventy four years ago this month, 26th April, 1937.

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is a dark period of history that is seared on the consciousness of the Spanish people. What I had not realized before was how harshly it had impacted the Basque people. It is a horribly gruesome story. Alberto related how at one time he had begun to read a book about it and could not finish it nor will he ever understand how and why such could happen.

To be continued...


Kim said...

Have you ever read "Davita's Harp" by Chaim Potok? The story of Guernica figures in it as a turning point in the main character's life.

Visited Aldo and Mirta last evening and had a wonderful time with them. Have the binder of letters to bring with us!

See you in just a few short weeks :)

Lhoyt said...

Such is war! As one General put it "war is hell". Sadly enough, the only war worth fighting is the war against spiritual darkness, against which "the gates of he'll will not prevail", and that is the one war we avoid most!

Lhoyt said...

I do believe the computer decided it did not like the word hell. I had to correct it in the quote by the General, and then did not catch it in the quote from the Bible. Anyway, I meant to say "the gates of hell shall not prevail"
I see now that the program is set up to choose a possible alternative, and I needed to override it, which I did not.