Thursday, June 26, 2003

Jonathan from Puerta del Sol has a post on "the recovery of historical memory", which is rather a buzzword these days in Spain. It refers to an effort by apologists for the Spanish revolutionary Republic and by the political left--Vazquez Montalban is mixed up in this, of course--to call attention yet again to the atrocities committed by the Franco regime. Their website, which Jonathan links to, includes criticism of the conservative governing PP. They do not pretend to be neutral politically.

Now, I am completely in favor of historical investigation, and if this movement "for historical memory" unearths some new facts about how rotten Franco and his killers were, great. My problem with it, though, is that this is as one-sided as always. See, the revolutionary Leftist killers, the Communists, the Anarchists, the POUM, were just as bad as the Franquistas. They were ALL murderers. One famous Leftist murderer, Santiago Carrillo, is now a lauded hero of progressive socialism.

The thing, though, is that in both the Spanish and the international intelligentsia, the revolutionary Republicans are considered glorious freedom fighters while the reactionary Franquistas are condemned as Fascist scum. I haven't read anything, and I mean anything except for Pio Moa, a couple of books from the Montserrat press, and Stanley G. Payne, that has attempted to restore the "historical memory" of those tens of thousands of Spaniards massacred by the organized Left. On the other hand, I have read dozens of books and articles condemning the Franco repression, and if you read El Pais daily, you're sure to get three articles a week on what an evil bastard Franco was.

As I've said before, Iberian Notes does not take sides on the Spanish Civil War. We're in favor of the victims and against the killers. That means we detest both sides, the revolutionaries and the reactionaries, equally. We therefore cannot approve of this particular movement for "recovering historical memory" because it lionizes one side and demonizes the other. We demand that legitimate history remain as neutral and objective as humanly possible without picking sides, and we reject history written with a bias in order to make a political point as not legitimate.

No comments: