let the revolution begin

Let the Revolution Begin

He’s not Basque, he’s Bavarian, but he lives in Basque country, in the Pyrenees, in a mountain village accessible only by mule, and when he first contacted me about setting up a Shard web site, I had my doubts.

He goes by the name François, and he’s figured out how to keep himself off Google; anyone who can do that is my kind of people, and so I gave him a tentative green light while I had my sources check him out.

They didn’t get far–we’re talking about a man who can elude Google. What they did find out was piecemeal. They couldn’t trace his origins or locate family, not even friends or acquaintances. He served in the French Foreign Legion, was taken prisoner in Algeria during the 1954 uprising, and got released in a prisoner exchange. Then he vanished, surfacing again shortly after 9-11, 47 years unaccounted for. He surfaced not in the flesh but on-line, tied into a network of hackers. He disengaged from the network just before it was brought down by Interpol, and in 2006 he began setting up elaborate web sites, free of charge, for individuals around the world that he hand picked.

That’s all my sources were able to turn up on François, and all attempts to make physical contact proved futile, except to generate an email to me that stated: “Call off the amateurs and make your decision.”

I responded, agreeing to let him set up the site, but when I sent a second email, requesting a meeting, it bounced back with an auto-generated tech-head rambling that boiled down to: No such server. After that, all attempts on my part to contact François were rejected, even as the site became a reality.

I had given him carte blanche control in our initial negotiations, with the stipulation that there would be nothing on the site but Shards and graphics. I checked the site daily as it progressed, and it was professional and attractive. His choice of which Shards to include, and how he arranged them, showed a keen understanding of their underlying meaning and how they interfaced. And then the number of hits on the site crested 100,000, and François broke the long silence with an email: ”Are you ready to join the revolution?”

I knew better than to try to send a response, I knew I had to make the decision in my mind, and somehow François would know what that decision was, knew from the start what it would be.

I suspect that when each of the other sites François has set up crests 100,000 hits, that the individuals in whose names the sites were established will also receive an email asking if they are ready, and in their minds, like me, they will answer yes, and the revolution will begin.


Filed under shards

7 Responses to let the revolution begin

  1. Bernat Etxepare

    jalgi hadi kanpora!

    Garaziko herria
    benedika dadila,
    euskarari eman dio
    behar duien tornuia.

    jalgi hadi plazara!

    Bertze jendek uste zuten
    ezin eskriba zaiteien;
    orai dute forogatu
    enganatu zirela.

    jalgi hadi mundura!

    Lengoajetan ohi hintzan
    estimatze gutitan;
    orai aldiz hik behar duk
    ohorea orotan.

    habil mundu guzira!

    Bertzeak oro izan dira
    bere goien gradora;
    orai hura iganen da
    bertze ororen gainera.


    Baskoak orok preziatzen,
    euskara ez jakin arren,
    orok ikasiren dute
    orai zer den euskara.


    Oraidano egon bahiz
    inprimitu bagerik,
    hi engoitik ebiliren
    mundu guzietarik.


    Ezein ere lengoajerik
    ez franzesa ez berzerik
    orai ez da erideiten
    euskararen parerik.

    jalgi hadi dantzara!

  2. Bernat Etxepare

    sors au dehors.

    Que le pays de Cize
    soit béni!
    Il a donné à l’euskar
    le rang qu’il doit avoir.

    sors sur la place.

    Les autres peuples croyaient
    qu’on ne pouvait pas l’écrire.
    Maintenant l’expérience leur a prouvé
    Qu’ils s’étaient trompés.

    Sors dans le monde.

    Parmi les langues, tu étais jadis
    Tenu en piètre estime.
    Maintenant, au contraire, tu dois être
    Honoré partout.

    Va-t’en dans le monde entier.

    Toutes les autres sont arrivées
    A leur apogée.
    Maintenant, il montera, lui,
    Au-dessus de toutes les autres.


    Les Basques sont appréciés de tout le monde,
    Bien qu’on ne connaisse pas l’euskara.
    Tout le monde apprendra
    Maintenant ce qu’est l’euskara.


    Si tu es resté jusqu’à présent
    Sans être imprime,
    Désormais tu iras
    Par l’univers.


    On ne trouve aucune langue,
    Ni le français ni d’autres,
    égale à l’euskara.

    Sors pour danser.

  3. Bernat Etxepare

    geh vor die Tür!

    Gesegnet sei
    das Land von Garazi,
    das der baskischen Sprache den Anstoß gab,
    den sie brauchte.

    geh in die Stadt!

    Die andren Leute dachten,
    man könne nicht auf Baskisch schreiben;
    jetzt haben sie erkannt,
    dass sie im Irrtum waren.

    geh in die Welt!

    Wenig Achtung erfuhrst du
    unter den Sprachen;
    jetzt aber gebührt dir
    umfassender Ruhm.

    zieh um die ganze Welt!

    Alle andren Sprachen
    haben ihren Zenit erreicht;
    jetzt wird sich die unsere
    über alle anderen erheben.


    Alle schätzen die Basken,
    obwohl sie deren Sprache nicht kennen,
    jetzt werden alle des Gehalts
    der baskischen Sprache gewahr werden.


    Bis heute bliebst du
    von nun ziehst du
    um die ganze Welt.


    Keine Sprache gibt es,
    nicht die Französische und auch keine andere,
    die sich heute
    mit der Baskischen vergleichen könnte.

    geh aus und tanze!

  4. Bernat Etxepare

    go forth into the world!

    Blessed be the land of Garazi;
    For it has given Basque
    the rank it deserves.

    go forth into the street!

    Other people thought
    it could not be written;
    now they have seen
    that they were wrong.

    go forth into the world!

    Among tongues you were
    held in low esteem;
    but now you shall be
    the noblest of them all.

    come forth into the whole world!

    All the others
    are at their zenith.
    Now Basque shall rise
    above all others!


    All hold the Basques in esteem
    despite not knowing Basque.
    Now all will find out
    what Basque itself is like.


    If in the past you have been
    from now on you shall be borne
    throughout the world.


    No language shall be found
    —be it French or any other—
    to be comparable
    to Basque.

    go forth and dance!

  5. Bernat Etxepare

    He was born in Eiheralarre, a village close to Donibane Garazi (Saint Jean de Pied de Port), capital of the part of Navarre that today forms part of France. This priest was the author of the first book printed in the Basque language in 1545. We know little about his life, but we do know he spent some time in prison, probably accused of political involvement at a time when the kingdoms of France and Castile were jostling to take over the old Kingdom of Navarre. In his book, he gathered autobiographical, religious, amatory and patriotic poems, some of which praise the Basque language.


    interesting, the poem rendered in four different lanaguages; and interesting to see the Basque language written; would be even more interesting to hear it spoken… thanks for posting.

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