One of those attending Richard Blair’s talk in Nerja in March 2018 was Professor Jesús Isaías Gómez López.
He has now given us this account of the event.
“… permanent campaigns of media indoctrination altogether with abuse of social networks, are no more than the showcase of Orwell’s prophecies“
On March 27th 2018 I had the honour to attend Richard Blair’s conference on his father, George Orwell, in the village of Nerja (Málaga, Spain), where everyone can enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the Costa del Sol in Andalusia. I was gladly surprised that the big auditorium of the Centro Cultural de Nerja (The Arts Society of Nerja) was full. Over three hundred people, most of them belonging to the British community from Nerja, left no available seating.
Richard Blair delighted us with a brilliant and soul-stirring talk on his father’s Spanish “venture” from Christmas 1936 till June 1937, when he actively participated in the Spanish Civil War as a member of the POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista, ‘Worker’s Party of Marxist Unification’) on the side of the Spanish Official Government that was being attacked by the fascists. But Richard Blair did not only provide a loyal account of his father’s impassioned commitment to democracy and freedom in Spain, he, above all else, offered a clear-sighted review of his father’s literary career from a biographical approach. The result was undoubtedly a master stroke, far better than all the master classes or lectures we receive nowadays from scholars either in academic lecture rooms or in conference halls. I felt so lucky to listen to such first hand and genuine speech straight from the mouth of someone whose knowledge of the issue is not necessarily bookish, but an accomplished fact from the cradle. The talk was just one hour and fifteen minutes during which the audience remained in dead silence, as in a trance. The speech by Richard Blair, in the shape of a memoir, made us experience the emotive impression of pulling back to life the humanistic nature of one of the greatest dystopian writers of all times.
That George Orwell is still alive —now more than ever— is the naked truth. Our times of uncertainty all over the world, with crooked politicians, abuse of office and, above all, permanent campaigns of media indoctrination altogether with abuse of social networks, are no more than the showcase of Orwell’s prophecies. On that score, Richard Blair’s memoir swarmed with a priceless collection of anecdotes about his father that prove the brilliant thinking and the undisputed credibility of a gifted visionary and a man of great human warmth. Consequently, we can easily deduce that Orwell was also a “Wonderful father”, as Richard Blair stated several times: “He was a wonderful father, who bathed me, changed me, fed me, told me stories, cared for me…”. In pursuance to the compelling evidences of Orwell’s predictions in our already diseased society, we are compelled to replicate this conference in a new Andalusian setting in the near future, possibly in the University of Almería, in the hope that George Orwell, through his son’s mouth, sheds some light to identify and amend the wrong course taken by our present civilization.
Professor Jesús Isaías Gómez López is the editor of Premio Aedean de traducción 2017: George Orwell, poesía completa
Uploaded Friday 30th March
Lede corrected Saturday 31st March