Friday, April 09, 2010

Spain / Spanish Civil War

The Shame of Spain and the Ghost of Fascism
By Scott Boehm, April 8, 2010
"[...] In 2000, twenty-five years after Franco's death, Emilio Silva, a journalist searching for answers to questions about that war and his family's relation to it accidentally discovered and exhumed the mass grave where his grandfather's remains were located. Silva's grandfather, a humble shop owner and supporter of the democratic state established in 1931, was summarily executed by members of the Falange -- the Spanish fascist party -- along with twelve other people from his village in the north of Spain shortly after Franco and a handful of generals launched a coup against the Spanish Republic in July 1936. Hitler, Mussolini, and the Catholic Church backed the conspirators while the United States, England and France turned a blind eye to the massacre that ensued. While the events of 1936-1939 are popularly referred to as 'the Spanish Civil War,' the term misrepresents what actually occurred. More than a war between two more or less equally prepared and similarly matched sides, it was the mass extermination of 'los rojos' -- anyone considered part of 'the anti-Spain' by the self-proclaimed, and well-armed, guardians of national identity and patriotic spirit.
The 'reds' put up a long fight, but ultimately they were killed, tortured, raped, imprisoned, kidnapped, used as slave labor and/or driven into exile for four decades. Like Emilio Silva's grandfather, hundreds of thousands of the victims of such repression -- continued by the Francoist state at the conclusion of the war -- continue to lie prostrate in mass graves. Since the exhumation in 2000, their descendents and sympathizers have formed a growing historical memory movement. Like Antigone, they have repeatedly asked for one thing from the Spanish state: nothing more than the possibility of exercising their desire to properly bury their dead. Like Creon, the Spanish state has consistently responded with statements, actions and laws that laugh in the face of their ethical claim. [...]"
[n.b. See the Spanish Civil War Memory Project for further information.]

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