Miguel de Unamuno

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, the rector of the University of Salamanca in 1936, gave the following speech to an audience of fascists (including Franco's wife):

All of you are hanging on my words. You all know me and are aware that I am unable to remain silent. At times to be silent is to lie. For silence can be interpreted as asquience. I want to comment on the speech, to give it that name, of General Millan Astray, who is here among us. Let us waive the personal affront implied in the sudden outburst pf vituperation against the Basques and Catalans. I was myself, of course, born in Bilbao. The bishop, whether he likes it or not, is a Catalan from Barcelona.

Just now I heard a necrophilous and senseless cry: 'Long live death'. And I, who have spent my life shaping paradoxes must tell you as an expert authority, that this outlandish paradox is repellent to me. Let it be said without any slighting undetone. He is a war invalid. So was Cervantes. Unfortunately there are too many cripples in Spain now. And soon there will be even more of them if God does not come to our aid. It pains me to think that General Millan Astray should dictate the pattern of mass psychology. A cripple who lacks the greatness of Cervantes is wont to seek ominous relief in causing mutilation around him. General Millan Astray would like to create Spain anew, a negative creation in his own image and likeness; for that reason he wishes to see Spain crippled as he unwittingly made clear.

This is the temple of the intellect, and I am its high priest. It is you who profane its sacred precincts. You will win, because you have more than enough brute force. But you will not convince. For to persuade you would need what you lack: reason and right in your struggle. I consider it futile to exhort you to think of Spain.

Antony Beevor
The Spanish Civil War

Emphasis Mine

An alternative version of this speech is given at Miguel de Unamuno, reply to speech made by Millán Astray, in Salamanca (12th October 1936) and another version is at Argument with Unamuno.

Would any of us have the balls (or ovaries) to say these things in the midst of fascist militia? I could say these things but no one would understand me! Perhaps there is an advantage to having a stutter after all.

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