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Beste hitzak

2017-12-01 11:45 —

Back to school with Colm Ó Ceallacháin

We met a group of Baccalaureate students at Ekintza Ikastola. Very keen pupils, it must be said. They listened intently to the explanations we gave, and put lots of questions to Colm, who gladly answered them. It was obvious that he felt at home among them.

Artistic Director Idoia Noble introduced Ó Ceallacháin and explained the main aspects of the Other Words initiative. Imanol Galdos, the Project Coordinator, then addressed the students to highlight the importance of all languages and countries, not just the bigger ones. He gave an account of his personal experience as somebody who comes from a small Basque town, Oñati, and yet has traveled the world exploring the issues he feels passionately about: people with different languages and nationalities, the way they organize themselves into communities and move around to find their place.

Colm described his country and his town, Cork, as well as the situation of the Irish language in different parts of Ireland. He also gave details of his dedication to young people, both at work and as a volunteer in youth clubs. But students wanted to find out more about him: details of his writing career and sports adventures, his view on issues such us the role of minority languages or the reason why young people are not considered keen readers, etc. So a really interesting dialogue took place at the schools' function room.

Ana Molina, as the president of Mestiza –an NGO based in Donostia that promotes artistic and sociocultural activities and tries to make visible the diversity present in the city–, highlighted the importance of projects such as Other Words in an effort to broaden our young people's horizons. The Basque is not the only community who fights for the survival of a minority language surrounded by hegemonic ones, and it is good to know some other examples first hand: Ireland, Frisia, Macedonia, Slovenia.

The icing on the cake of this enjoyable event was provided by David Yunta, a young violinist who played an Irish and a Basque tune. Needless to say, we all ended up singing along to the latter …