Interview with Indar Baskonia (Baskonia, Basque Country)

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f– Tell us about your club (history, achievements, current situation, etc…).

– We support Baskonia, an historical european basketball team from Vitoria-Gasteiz (the capital of the Basque Country). Even though the roots of the team are modest, we are competing against top level teams, as a result of the sport successes, which have progressively lead to have a bigger budget. The most remarkable trophies are 3 Spanish Leagues, 6 cups and 4 national super cups.
At European level, we have played the Euroleague Final Four on six different occasions, winning the title on 1996 against PAOK.

– For many ultras the city is something special. What can you tell us about your city?

– In recent years, our city has become a global reference in the framework of the ultra movement. It should be highlighted that in such a little city, with around 250k inhabitants, there are two consolidated ultra groups, one for each sport (football and basketball). The heritage of our city goes far back, and the passion of our people for the defence of our city and our clubs is overwhelming.
Furthermore, Gasteiz has always been considered as a basketball city. Few cities share the wide tradition of basketball which characterises this city.

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f9– Tell us more about Indar Baskonia? How was born the idea for the creation of the group? What kind of people are members of the group? What does mean your name?

– We were still an unknown team when some young Baskonia fanatics decided to create a new group of supporters. The result was the creation of Indar Baskonia in 1986. The group was born with the clear influence of the Italian groups which began to be known, the intention was to imitate that style of support; chants, choreographies, flags, etc.

The name comes from these influences. At that time, and even today, you could see banners in the Italian curvas with phrases like “Forza …” in reference to their team. Indar means “strength” in Basque, so it was decided to name the group “INDAR BASKONIA”.

– Are you the only group which support Baskonia?

– Yes, we are the only organized group that supports Baskonia.

– What can you tell us for the basketball ultras in the Spanish basketball? Is there big confrontation?

Except for important teams or with a long basketball tradition, there are few ultra groups in Spain. The movement is relatively far to resemble to the Balkan or Italian scene. In terms of confrontation, as in any other league, there are strong rivalries derived from sport facts or due to historical rivalries between cities.

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f17– Do you have any friendships? What are your enemies?

– Yes, we are officially twinned (gemellaggio) with Fossa del Leoni of Fortitudo Bologna and with Impresentables of Estudiantes from Madrid. At a personal level, we have good relationship with other ultra groups of basketball and football, but always within the antifascism.

Our main historical rivalry is against Real Madrid rats. They hate us, we hate them. It is something reciprocal and makes us quite horny. A match against Real Madrid is always special, we are not talking about basketball, it is just a matter of honour.

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f7– Do you travel on away games? What are your most memorable visits?

– As a supporters group, one of our main priorities is to follow our team wherever it plays and we try to make as many trips as possible. Nonetheless, it is becoming more difficult due to repression, complicated timetables and long travelling distances. This year with the new Euroleague format we are playing up to 3 games per week and performing well away has become a challenge. You know… consequences of modern basketball.

However, our mentality and the passion for Baskonia made us travel to every single corner of Europe and Spain. There is no Spanish court where the group has not been, and at European level we have been present in many cities such as Roma, Bologna, Milano, Siena, Istambul, Moscow, Kaunas, Bamberg, Berlin, Limoges, Paris, Athens, Prague or Vilnius, among others. 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f1– What kind of performances you prepare for games?

– Choreographies and giving colour to the stand are some of the performances we make. Even in bad times, these performances have had priority in the operation of the group, showing our commitment to this lifestyle.

The most recent and famous performance has been the choreography we made last year for the commemoration of the group’s 30th anniversary. It required a lot of work but we are very proud of it. 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f8– Are you influenced by any other scene or you’ve got your own style?

– To be honest, our style has always been something different from the rest. The “hintxa” movement in the Basque Country has always followed an independent line of action compared to “ultras” or “hooligans”. Obviously, as stated before, we have Italian or even Balkan influence, but always with our own style, which we are deeply proud of.

We are hintxas of Baskonia. That’s it. 

– How does the life in your group looks like in the basketball-free time? Do you have any locations where you meet?

– In most of cases we find it difficult to separate the group from our day-to-day life. I mean, we are a big family and our relationship goes beyond the team. We can be found drinking together any day of the week or even in political-social acts. 

– What are your relations with the board of the club?

– Throughout our history, even though we have had good and bad times with the club, we are current in good terms. 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f11– What are your political views?

– Since its foundation, Indar Baskonia has had a politic-social component in its DNA. We refuse to think that when we enter the court we must forget about the social reality of our people and our class.
We are openly antifascist and we firmly defend the Independence of our nation, the Basque Country, of the oppressor spanish state. This political position has given us more enemies than friends, especially at repression level, but we’re not willing to change it. There is no place for racism, fascism, sexism or homophobia in our stand, neither in our city, nor in our country.

– Do you take part in any social activities? We saw that you’ve got strong position on Israeli-Palestinian conflict judging by your photos.

– Yes, as I said before, it is one of the fundamental parts of the group. Indar Baskonia has worked together with numerous social and political associations in different aspects: food and clothing collection, boycott campaigns to Israel or Turkey, acts in favour of the use and promotion of the Basque language, or even popular and anti-racist basketball tournaments to show people the true values of this sport.

In addition, we also organise acts and campaigns against the modern basketball (Euroleague MAFIA), claiming the true popular character of this beautiful sport.

Campaigns against Maccabi Tel Aviv have had the most mediatic repercussion. We have been denouncing the genocide committed by Zionism over the Palestinian people for 20 years and we demand the expulsion of Maccabi from the European competitions. 

– Have you got your own fanzine? Do you draw graffiti?

– Sure, it is called “Baskoniaren Lurraldean” and has being published for 20 years. Regarding the graffiti, we have just released a new one inside our court. The idea is to continue painting it. 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f13– Do you make fan merchandise?

– Yes, in fact, it is one of our main sources of funding. We give great importance to the merchandise. 

– What is the situation regarding the law and repression? Have you got such problems?

– The situation with respect to the repression in Euskal Herria is quite serious, even more if it is considered the existence of abusive laws. You can be fined between 6k and 30k € for the simple fact of carrying a political banner to the stand. This has affected the group, but we will continue with the mentality that has characterized us for over 30 years. No sanction can stop our passion.
HINTXA IZATEA EZ DA DELITUA. 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f12

– Does your group visit other sports?

– No, just basketball. 

– What are your thoughts about the basketball fan scene in Europe?

– It seems that in the last years, the European scene is growing, which is very positive considering that it is fairly difficult to compete against the media power of football. There are many interesting groups with a great potential. 

– Do you know anything about the Bulgarian and Balkan fans in general?

– Unfortunately, there is not much information about the Bulgarian scene here, and what has arrived does not seem too pretty. That’s why we are especially excited about this interview. We have special respect for those who defend theis ideals even in adverse conditions.
¡Hasta la victoria siempre! 

%d0%b1%d0%b0%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bd%d0%b8%d1%8f16– What are your future plans?

– We plan to continue with the tradition and mentality that has allowed us to be here, 30 years later. We are aware that time changes and needs to be renewed, but always respecting the fundamental values of our group. 

– Last words.

– I would like to acknowledge the opportunity given to make this interview and to congratulate you for the blog. You are doing an interesting and necessary work. Greetings to all the antifas around the world who read these lines!

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One Response to Interview with Indar Baskonia (Baskonia, Basque Country)

  1. Thank you for this entry in your blog. Thank you for your interest about Baskonia.

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