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Judith Rodriguez

                 PENeko jardunari esker ezagutzeko parada izan dudan pertsona miresgarrietako bat joan zaigu. Duela urte bi bisitatu gintuen Judith Rodriguezek, kongresuan Galizian zela probestuta Bilborainoko bidea egin zuten Judithek eta Zoe eta Rebeca alabek. Artxandara igo ginen, eta Zazpikaletan afaldu genuen. Hiriaz, Euskal Herriaz, euskaraz, debekuez, frankismoaz, Gernikaz hitz egin genuen, bisitatu ohi gaituztenoi gure kontuak kontatzen dizkiegun eran. Baina gutxirengan sumatu dut Judithek erakutsitako interesa eta pasioa, arratsalde pasa arrunt batetik, bere etxetik milaka kilometrora dagoen herri txiki baten eta bere kulturaren eta zapalkuntzaren eta faxismoaren aurkako borrokaz. Hurrengo urtean, iaz, Lviv-en egin genuen berriz topo, bere arbasoen Europa erdialde hartan, eta Judithen poesiaren indarrak bete-betean harrapatu ninduen. Australiara zinderamatzan, baina bere ahotik justizia soziala, internazionalismoa mintzo zen, aborigenen aldarria eta politikari xenofoboen salaketa eta uharte urrunetara egotzitako asilo-eskatzaileen oihua zekartzan. Zeinen harro esan genezakeen Euskal PENek, gure xumean, emakume apart hura proposatu genuela PENeko presidenteorde izateko.

                Aurten Europako uda Australiako negua bisitatzeko baliatu dugu, baina ezin kontinente erraldoi horretako txoko guztietara heldu. Eta Sydneyn Zoerekin egotekoak ginela-eta, Judithek ere, osasun-arazoei eta makalaldiei aurre eginik, lekurik bikainenean jarri zigun hitzordua, Opera Housen. Aborigen artea bideo-sormen bihurtuta. Afari gogoangarri hartan, bi urte lehenago Euskal Herriaz bezala jakinarazi zizkigun bere bizitza zirraragarriaren ñabardurak, Europatik Palestinan barna iritsitako arbasoak, Australiatik Zeelanda Berrira, Ingalaterrara eta Jamaikara egindako gaztetako bidea, eta oraindik zer nolako indarra eta konpromisoa erakusten zuen hitzaren alde, hizkuntzen alde, baztertuen alde. Afalostean agur esan genion elkarri eta aste batzuk barru Indian kongresuan elkar ikustekotan gelditu ginen. Ezin izan zuen etorri hain maite zuen herrialde hartara. Zoek eta Rebecak bikain bete zuten amak luzaroan egindako paper ordezkaezin hori, eta hara Bilaketa Batzordean amaitu genuen azkenean Judithek eta biok. Orain amaitu da guztia, eta dena gelditzen zaigu. Judith ezagutu izanaren poza, haren poesia, haren konpromisoa, eta haren alaben indarra. Eskerrik asko, Judith, emandako guztiagatik. Zoe, Rebeca eta senide guztiei muxu handi bana, hartu atseden eta jaso mundu osotik hainbeste maite eta estimatzen zaituztegunon besarkada.

                     

 

 

 

One of the most impressive persons I had the luck to meet thanks to PEN has just left us. Judith Rodriguez visited us two years ago in Bilbao, after the Congress in Galicia, together with Judith and Zoe. We took the cable car to the Artxanda Hill, we told the stories about the Civil War, how Basques soldiers defended it from the advance of the Fascists, and after that we had dinner in the Old Town. We spoke about PEN, about the Basque country, the Basque language, about prohibition, Francoism, Guernica, about the topics we usually explain to our guests. Many show an interest on our history, but few the passion Judith expressed about a small nation thousands of kilometres away from her home, and its culture and its struggle against the denial. Next year -last year- we met again in Lviv, and the strength of her poetry captivated me in the Art Palace. She brought you to Australia and her voice expressed the social justice, the strength of her internationalism, the cry of the Aboriginal people and the denounce of the xenophobia and the cry of the asylum seekers dumped in remote islands. How proud we were, as small as our Basque PEN Center is, to have proposed that extraordinary woman as Vice President for PEN.

                   This year we took the European summer to visit the Australian winter, but even with a whole month we could not reach most of the places of that vast country. And since we would not go to Melbourne but were visiting Zoe in Sydney, confronting the health issues we met at the best possible place, the Opera House, with a fantastic display of Aboriginal video-art. Then a superb dinner, where, just like two years earlier we explained her our own stories in the Basque country, we learnt some of the details of her fascinating details, from the ancestors in Europe to Australia to New Zealand, England and Jamaica, and the commitment and the strength she still showed for the free speech, for the word, for the languages and for all oppressed. After dinner we said goodbye and “see you in a few weeks in India”. She could not make it, but once again Zoe fulfilled in a fantastic way the role her mother took long ago, and what a coincidence, we both ended in the Search Committee. We just have started our task these recent weeks, and she already wrote her own notes for it. Now everything is over, but everything is with us at the same time. The joy for having known her, her poetry, her commitment, and the strength of her daughters. Eskerrik asko (thank you) Judith, for everything you have given us, for being there. Hugs and kisses to Zoe, Rebecca and all the relatives, she has been surrounded by the best. Now take a rest, and receive all the love and the support from all around the world, from all of us who love and admire you.

 

 

Urtzi URRUTIKOETXEA