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SPAIN: ETA--Franco and the Basques



Stephen Schwartz answers my question about "La Raza", written by Franco:

"RAZA, with its screenplay by Franco, was first screened in 1942, at 120 minutes. It was seen as an attempt to explain the origins of the civil war. It is not about Hispanidad in the Americas. It was reissued in the 1950s under the titled EL ESPIRITU DE LA RAZA with about 20 minutes removed, including all the scenes in which the fascist salute was shown. I would be surprised were there not a print of it in the Hoover archives. `[ My question to Archivist Elena Danielson: Is there? My comment: Hispanidad was originally the attempt to understand the essence of Spain, just as Peruanidad is that of Peru].

And two more comments about the Basques: Basque separatism is a 19th century invention. The Basques, notwithstanding their customs and language, had been constitutionally a part of the kingdom of Castile, and therefore of the imperial "Spanish" nation, for centuries. By contrast, based on the traditions of the kingdom of Aragon and the vitality of Catalan culture, the Catalans had a separate constitutional identity lacking in the Basque country.

The Basques were always divided between the urban sector of their people, who spoke Spanish and French going back centuries, and the mountain folk who were illiterate and spoke Basque. Basque is not normatized as a written language today.

The Catalans had and have great cities in which their idiom is spoken by the majority: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona, Palma. The Basques cannot make such a claim about a single city. The broader, longterm claims of Basque nationalism are mythical and spurious. And the grievances they had against the Franco regime and its successors are the basis of mere fraudulent rhetoric today. They are trying to makeup by force for what they lack as a nation: a modern bourgeoisie, the basis of prosperity."

My comment: Basque cities do have a modern bourgeoisie, but it does not speak Basque. The volume of messages I have received on the ETA problem, and the vehemence of some of the language are proof of the emotions the whole issue arouses. I would add Valencia to the cities which speak Catalan, Valencian being a spurious invention.

Ronald Hilton - 11/27/00


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