Un text interessant publicat al 1909
By Bart Kennedy.
THE trouble in Spain is racial.
The Catalonians are utterly different from any other
Spanish people. The Andalusian and the Catalan are
at opposite poles. And the Castilians-the men of the
centre of Spain-and the Basques are also very different
from the turbulent, energetic Catalonians.
The language of the Catalonian is also different from
the true Spanish-the Castilian. As I tramped through
the mountains to the north-east, on my way to Saragossa,
this was borne in upon me. I had to revise
my stock of Spanish words. Viente (twenty) transformed
itself into ?bin.? Cinco (five) was ?sin.?
Ochenta (eighty) was ? weetantey.? And there were
other differences of a radical and puzzling nature. And
the accent of the people was distinctly Gaelic. Imagine
Gaelic spoken in a rough and guttural way and you
will have some idea of the way Catalan sounds.
I found them to be a rough, sudden, hurry-up people.
And while I was amongst them I often longed to be
back South amongst the calm and easy, come-day goday
Andalusians. There was an electric energy about
the Catalonians that was calculated to upset a person
of easy thought such as myself. They were workers
of a swift, abrupt character.
And that is another trouble springing out of the
difference of race. The Catalonian works, and he
knows he works. And he knows that the rest of the
people of Spain won?t work. And therefore is it that
he would like to be separated from the toil-shy
Spaniards. He wants all the fruits of his labour for
I may say that in Andalusia no one works. Or if
they do, they do it in such a secret, unobtrusive manner
that it escapes the observer. I was nine weeks in
Granada, and during all that time I never saw anybody
doing anything. When next I am born again I sincerely
trust that it will be in dear old Granada, where
people neither toil nor spin-but somehow manage to
reap. The Andalusian is a lovable, easy character with
a supreme gift for polite lying.
And his spirit rules Spain.
And there you are. The Catalonian doesn?t Iike it
-and he won?t have it.
The merry mine-owner, who dearly loves other people
to go out and do a bit of fighting for his mines, is
only the ostensible cause of the trouble. For once this
sturdy and lofty patriot is not in the wrong. I mean
the root of the trouble is not really in him. He is
but the feather showing the way that the wind blows.
And the wind is blowing in the direction of Catalonia
for the Catalonians.
This talk of the wish to form a republic because a
republic is such an angelic form of government-and
t?hi?s talk of the evils of clericalism-and this talk of the
double-dyed and double-barrelled ruffianism of the
merry mine-owner is-well, it is merely talk. The real
question is one of difference of race. And there is the
beginning and the end of it.
A race who dearly loves work is disagreeing with a
race who dearly loves rest-and plenty of it. And in
the opinion of a plain and humble thinker such as
myself it would be well were they separated. Oil and
water can?t mix.
History isn?t quite clear as to the stock from which
the Catalonians sprung. They are certainly not a
Gothic race. They possess neither the fairness of look,
nor the stature of the old barbarians. They are dark,,
middle-sized, alert, and tempestuous. A quick, hard
race of fighters.
They have neighbours, though, who are certainly
Goths. I mean the, people of Andorra-the Andorranos.
The men of Andorra are the finest looking men
in the world-tall and broad and powerful, with blue
eyes and fair complexions. They don?t care much for
the Catalonians. They are distrustful of their energy.
When I was in Andorra I heard a long argument between
a Catalan -and some Andorranos. The Catalan
was trying to explain how advantageous it would be
to Andorra if it were under the wing of Catalonia. But
the Andorranos could not see it. And they expressed
their blindness, so to speak, with much energy.
To put the case simply, it is this : An ancient, easy,
conservative race has the misfortune to be living, if I
may .so put it, in the same house with a restless, turbulent,
rushful, pushful, hurry-up race. True, there are
some advantages accruing to the ancient, easy race
from this mismated marriage. For the restless, turbulents
work. In fact, they positively adore toil. And
the present way the world is run a little toil is necessary
to make the wheels go round. The calm and easy
people don?t like the turbulents. But they put up with
them, because they love whathey don?t love-toil.
Speak to an Andalusian of a Catalonian, and you will
see a gentle, pitying smile come into the Andalusian?s
face. He looks upon the Catalonian as one would look
upon the dark and benighted. He feels as the tramp
feels towards the honest worker who likes to work hard
for thirty shillings or a pound a week.
Speak to the Catalonian of the Andalusian and there
will come into his hard, energetic face a look of fierce
cantempt. And he will tell you many rude things concerning
the Andalusians with volcanic abruptness. He
will go on about his lack of energy and push.
As I meandered up through Catalonia I heard a good
deal of this. By that time I had been long enough in
Spain to acquire a stock of what you might call green,
or living, Spanish, and by the aid of that and gestures
I was able to converse with these rugged and serious
Serious? Yes, they are serious. There is nothing of
a gay. and light and airy nature about them. They
never seem to have time to make a joke. I remember
trying to make a joke with a Catalonian in Saragossa,
and for a moment I thought there was going to be war.
I had made ,a joking remark about some soldiers who
were passing, and he gave me a snap-your-head-off
glare. It was with difficulty that I soothed him and
made him understand that though I was a foreigner I
was one .of the best.
The truth of the matter is that the Catalonians do
not consider themselves Spaniards at all. And as a
matter of fact they are not. Any observer who goes
through the length of Spain would be forced to this
Through the centuries there has been friction-if not
about one thing, about another-between them and the
rest of the people of Spain. There is a story to the
effect that when Columbus landed in Barcelona with
presents for Spain the municipal authorities were so
vexed that they would allow no record to be made o f
How the trouble is to be really composed it is difficult
to see. For it springs inherently from a racial difference.
The political differences and the war in Morocco
–arising out of the dispute about them ines–only mean
that any stick is good enough to beat a dog. If it was
not this, it would be something else.
In the end Catalonia must become a separate State.