Under sommaren 1937 skickade Left Review ut en uppmaning till en mängd författare och intellektuella att redovisa och kort motivera sina ställningstagande angående det spanska inbördeskriget, under rubriken Authors Takes Sides on the Spanish War. Orwell avböjde vänligt men bestämt att medverka. Eller ja, bestämt minsann, men inte direkt vänligt…
Will you please stop sending me this bloody rubbish. This is the second or third time I have had it. I am not one of your fashionable pansies like Auden and Spender, I was six months in Spain, most of the time fighting, I have a bullet-hole in me at present and I am not going to write blah about defending democracy or gallant little anybody. Moreover, I know what is happening and has been happening on the Government side for months past, i.e. that Fascism is being rivetted on the Spanish workers under the pretext of resisting Fascism; also that since May a reign of terror has been proceeding and all the jails and any place that will serve as a jail are crammed with prisoners who are not only imprisoned without trial but are half-starved, beaten and insulted. I dare say you know it too, though God knows anyone who could write the stuff overleaf would be fool enough to believe anything, even the war-news in the Daily Worker. But the chances are that you – whoever you are who keep sending me this thing – have money and are well-informed; so no doubt you know something about the inner history of the war and have deliberately joined in the defence of ”democracy” (i.e. capitalism) racket in order to aid in crushing the Spanish working class and thus indirectly defend your dirty little dividends.
This is more than 6 lines, but if I did compress what I know and think about the Spanish war into 6 lines you wouldn’t print it. You wouldn’t have the guts.
By the way, tell your pansy friend Spender that I am preserving specimens of his war-heroics and that when the time comes when he squirms for shame at having written it, as the people who wrote the war-propaganda in the Great War are squirming now, I shall rub it in good and hard.
George Orwell (1998), Facing Unpleasant Facts, ed. Peter Davison (The Complete Works of George Orwell, vol. XI (1937-1939); London: Secker & Warburg), s. 67.