November 27, 2010

Some new events in relation with Iruña-Veleia and Basque linguistic "popes"

De Lacalle fired

L. Lpz. de Lacalle
First and foremost, for its huge potential, is the cessation of the Deputy of Culture of Araba, Lorena López de Lacalle (EA), one of the ringleaders and the most visible political actor of the inquisitorial process brought against the extraordinary findings at this site (2006-07). 

It is a hopeful development that allows to place some serious manager on top of the archaeology of this Basque region. However it is an event that has not been caused by exposure to the Iruña-Veleia scandal: but by partisan politics on matters unrelated and of purely political nature. At least apparently, this case of cultural nepotism and shameless manipulation has not been denounced by any politician but the former third coalition partner Aralar, and that only because some of its members seem just too honest to do otherwise.

Now the Deputy General (provincial "prime minister"), Xabier Agirre (EAJ-PNV) has the chance of appointing someone who is not motivated by the, sadly too usual, corrupt second motives but by genuine interest in clarifying the matter with truth as the only parameter. After all, Agirre, as the direct boss of de Lacalle, shares some responsibility and now has the occasion to clear his name in this murky matter. 

I have many doubts on what direction will take the Culture department after the remodeling that will happen next week. But let us hope that Agirre has learned something from all this scandal and takes the opportunity to clear his own name by appointing a serious and honest new Deputy.

In the worst case, he can appoint a "clone" of de Lacalle. But, if he does, so, I and many others will hold him and his party directly responsible. So I believe it would not be a smart move because throwing one's political fortune along with the dishonest bunch that have organized this inquisitorial scandal for no reason at all sounds totally stupid. 

I have seen many stupid things done in Basque politics but this would be one of the most idiotic ones, I believe. So I do keep some hope, the same that I stubbornly keep some hope on Humankind. 

(Ref. Gara[es])


Lakarra's bad linguistics fierily denounced in anonymous linguistic paper-pamphlet

J. Lakarra
The other development, that I do welcome, is the denunciation made by some Basque-language philologist against the ignorant lingistics of Basque Language Academy member Joseba Lakarra, the main ringleader against the

While in general academic publications are signed and peer-reviewed, in this case there are many reasons to remain anonymous: Lakarra's power in the Basque linguistic establishment is immense and of mafioso style, and that has been confirmed to me often in private communications, and counts with the interested support of the most reactionary schools of Spanish pseudo-historic and pseudo-linguistic scholarship, not less affected by cronyism and lack of scientific method in many cases. 

So any linguist, or in general scholar, throwing these truths around better does from the vintage point of anonymity, at risk of losing income and job. Additionally, anonymity allows the author to be more blunt, direct and even often sarcastic. In this particular case at least, I believe it is totally justified. 

The paper/pamphlet (in Spanish language) is titled: La Filología Vasca pese a Joseba Lakarra Andrinua (Basque Philology in spite of Joseba Lakarra Andrinua) and can be found HERE (downloadable PDF manuscript).

I think it is a must-read for anyone interested in Basque philology. It should be also a must-read for anyone with a honest interest in clarifying what has happened in relation to the Iruña-Veleia graffiti, because this Joseba Lakarra academic guy is the boss of all ringleaders in the cultural genocide and pseudo-scientific inquisition exerted in the case of the Western Vasco-Roman city.

However it has the handicap for international readers that it is only available in Spanish (this should not be a problem for most linguists anyhow). So I am advancing here some translated excerpts:

One can be a horrible philologist in two ways: one à la Gorrochategui, namely: being a professor of Indoeuropean, not to be any epigrapher, and get into trying to interpret an inscription in a non-Indoeuropean language. This way of being a philologist carries the risks usual of all imprudences: to read DESCARTES in an inscription of the 3rd century.

It is a way of doing philology that is laughable and entertaining, specially for those among us who are indeed philologists. It is also a way of exerting the discipline that is luckily harmless, for as much as the clumsiness committed are so obvious that all possible damage to philology is effectively aborted by putting an end to the credibility of whoever this day exerts our discipline. 

The other way of being a horrible philologist is à La Lakarra, that is: to know two or three things, but not knowing when to close your mouth. This is in itself the more harmful way, specially when our big-mouthed philologist manages to become editor of some pseudo-academic publication, moment when every attempt to make him shut up becomes hopeless. And this is the way in which our character, Joseba Koldobika Lakarra Andrinua, wants to exert the philological discipline. 

That our character is person of bad faith was already pondered by Luis Núñez Astrain when, in his work, El euskara arcaico: extensiones y relativos, page 122, wrote of the somewhat Olympian tone of that this professor styles usually. The Olympian tone expression is nothing but an euphemism that means insulting...

The paper-pamphlet is too long and erudite for me to make an extensive criticism but what it unveils is very important to understand how Basque native linguistic science has been kidnapped by a petty academic mafia in which this individual of mediocre knowledge, excessive egomania and power-mongering instinct has played a central role.

It is specially important to understand why he and his pseudo-scientific and academically-entrenched minions have attacked with such might against the extraordinary findings of Iruña-Veleia, with the help of some irresponsible politicians such as the aforementioned former Deputy of Culture, Lorena López de Lacalle.

After quoting a 2006 paragraph from Lakarra, the "masked philologist" writes:

Take note of the expression falsifying reality. And take note of it because it is precisely in the year 2006 when Reality throws its first kick right to the mouth of our bellowing Lakarra: the discovery of the Iruñea-Veleia graffiti, dated in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. (...)

After all, when the unsuspecting archaeologists unearthed thousands of pieces with texts in Basque language, what they were doing in fact was nothing less than burying all the Lakarra project (...)

... what do the Iruña-Veleia graffiti say against the philological rantings of Lakarra, that so much panic and anxiety cause? Why that obsession for burying what archaeologists dug up?

It is enough to read the replies by Juan Martín Elexpuru (2009), Héctor Iglesias (2009) and Luis Silgo (2010), along with the Lakarrian program to get the exact idea of why for Lakarra the graffiti of Iruña-Veleia should have never existed. The story that such graffiti tell could support or deny, or not at all affect the Lakarrian program of copy-paste that Lakarra wants to make out for the Basque language out of the ideas of von der Gabelentz, Skalicka, Lehmann, Donegan, Stampe, Gil  and Plank. But prevention is best, and better to ignore the facts, essential evil of philology, and prevent others from contrasting them. For those who emit theories without the previous step of formulating hypothesis, facts are nothing but a nuisance, as every messiah knows. 

The Lakarrian, so boringly repeated in each and all of his tiresome essays, rests on the following premises:
  1. That glottochronology and comparative genetic reconstruction are a devilish instrument destined for the idlers.
  2. That Ruhlen, Greenberg and Venemman are the Devilish Trinity.
  3. That only the internal reconstruction method of Michelena is valid, not just for Basque but for whatever other language one wishes to study, and this one rests on the criterion of canonical form as typical of the reconstruction at the deepest level.
 (...)

This new reconstructing paradigm is not exempt of some fascist stench and, notice, that everyone who does not embrace the new faith will be excommunicated and hold as lazy and idler or even worse: as etymologist, Nostraticist, glottochronologist, practicer of lexicostatistics or god knows which other abominable appellative.

(...)

What is left of the pompous Lakarrian plan that he has been using to torture us for more than a decade? Only the opportunist Lakarra, the one who learned a couple of things from here and there, the Lakarra that has not been able to learn in these ten years to stop insulting others, to be less demeaning with those he likes to call "my enemies". (...) No excuses! What one has to do is to work more and better, and, if one cannot for whatever reason, at least to work in silence. He had just outside his home's yard excellent material to begin working: the Iruña-Veleia shards. 

(...)


General background resources:

For further extensive information on the Iruña-Veleia scandal you can read (mostly in Spanish) at SOS Iruña-Veleia. They include a large collection of images of the controversial graffiti, kept so far hidden from view and scientific analysis by the provincial government of Araba.

You can also read several articles in English at this blog and at my old blog Leherensuge. I would particularly recommend this extensive post I wrote in October, which deals also with Lakarra and de Lacalle, as well as the demolition archaeology of Julio Núñez, and discusses the whole matter in some depth.


Update (Nov 28): if you are fluent in Spanish, maybe you'd like to go back to the not so distant past, the year 2007, and listen to this interview with Carlos Crespo, the third archaeologist of Lurmen, when the exceptional findings of Iruña-Veleia were still considered real by all... except the rumoring camarilla around Lakarra. Courtesy of Hala Bedi Irratia, found via Ostraka Euskalduna.

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