21 AUGUST 1936, Page 21


SIR,—I would like to ask the military gentleman who wrote in your last issue if he has ever worked as an agricultural labourer from sunrise until sunset for the sum of sixpence ; if he has ever read Spanish history or knows the country from north to south and east to west; if he has ever read or heard of the village of Las Hurdes, near Salamanca, which had been unknown and undiscovered until some decades ago, the inhabitants of 'which subsist exclusively on roots and potatoes, are physically degenerate, and know absolutely noth- ing of what exists or goes on beyond the limits of their village. In 1934, I was acting in Madrid as correspondent of Philippine and Argentine newspapers, and in November of the same year I went to Asturias to report on the miners' strike. where with my own eyes 1 saw children under fifteen years who had been hanged by Moorish soldiers who used the suspended bodies as targets for rifle practice whilst their officers—possibly future ColoneLs Blimp of Spain--looked on laughing and making comments. Has Colonel Blimp had to accept the fact (and been powerless to act) that his daughters have been raped by degenerate sons of some aristocrat ? Does Colonel Blimp know what is real poverty ; to live in hovels built of mud or in mountain caves without ever having tasted a piece of fresh bread ? . . . Undoubtedly this well- known military figure • is accustomed to well-cooked meals washed down with sound wine or whisky and has the satis- faction of being in possession of an adequate salary or pension ; he knows the bravery necessary to order soldiers into the firing-line, but I doubt if he could understand or appreciate the greater valour of the Spanish peasant who is born and dies continually fighting against abject poverty, or know the bitter glory of having brought eight or ten children into the world and see them exhaust their strength as slaves of some landowner who spends the harvest of their sweat in Madrid or Paris.

Some centuries ago Spain adopted the war-cry of "Santiago y cierra Espana ! " when she drove out the Moors in order to save Christianity and civilisation. Today with the same object the Moors are being brought back to Spain and the tribal chieftain Abd el Mader has offered 20,000 Moorish war- riors to the Colonels Blimp of Burgos and Seville !

" Is this civilisation, religion, tradition and culture " ? . . . " And what are the grounds for exultation " ?.--Yours

Corresponsal del Ileraldo de Madrid en Londres.