LIFTING THE LID(06/05/2008)
Aquest article no estÓ tradu´t al catalÓ; es mostra la seva versiˇ en anglŔs
On meeting the remarkable daughter of a remarkable man.
CATALONIA TODAY ľ SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE NINETY-EIGHT
We got talking in the departure lounge, the little old lady and I, last Thursday evening, both of us on our way to Cork. Once on board, we discovered that Aer Lingus ľ which numbers its seats ľ had coincidentally placed us next to each other.
On discovering I was from England, she mentioned her father had spent several years there after the war and it was a short step from there to her telling the (astounding) story of this unaccountably little-known man.
ConstantÝ Llambias (Barcelona, 1898) was a heart and lung specialist who came up with a unique scheme to allow blind people to gain a livelihood by running their own lottery. Founded in 1934 by Llambias and his partner Roc Boronat, the Sindicat de Cecs de Catalunya (SCC) sold a thousand tickets in its first two years. Franco and his minions, on hearing of the success of Llambias's brainchild, abducted it to create the Organizaciˇn Nacional de Ciegos de Espa˝a - the now omnipresent ONCE ľ while banning the SCC, forcing Llambias into ten years of exile, raiding his Barcelona home then absconding with his medical records and other documents to Salamanca, where they remain. So successfully was he wiped off the official slate that as late as 1992, the ONCE display at the Seville Expo could claim without batting an eyelid that the idea for a sightless persons' sweepstake had originated in Burgos in 1938. My thanks, then, to Lambias's septuagenarian yet crystal-clear-headed daughter Montserrat for having thrown a little light on recent Catalan history, whose contributions to the world we generally seem to be kept in the dark about, unless by the slightest of chances we find ourselves on the right plane with the right little old lady.