Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Will a relook at civil war bring closure for Spanish families?

The human ego is notorious for not admitting its mistakes. I don’t know why, but it just is.

As you grow older, you begin to admit the petty ones because of a subconscious desire to make yourself look powerful and confident… or something.

“When you’re more mature, you begin to start telling the truth in odd situations” so that people begin to think “what a strong personality that person has,” according to comedian Eddie Izzard.

But, somehow, you conceal the deep, dark ones with even more circumspection. You become too skeptical for your own good.

Well, this is exactly what is happening to Spain recently as a Spanish judge for the first time launched a criminal investigation into the deaths of tens of thousands of people who mysteriously vanished during the Spanish civil war and the ensuing 40-year dictatorship of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Baltasar Garzon, the judge who ordered the much needed investigation, should be commended for his court-order to open several mass graves, one which may contain the remains of perhaps Spain’s best 20th century poet and playwright, Federico Garcia Lorca.

As the BBC correctly reported, “the murder of the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca by nationalists on Aug. 19, 1936, remains one of Spain’s open wounds.”

Unlike many of the people he was buried with, García Lorca was assassinated for being talented, successful and a homosexual.

I first discovered Lorca’s genius in high school, and then again last year while taking Professor Solórzano-Thompson’s The Theatre and Poetry of Federico García Lorca, where I realized, first-hand, how the female mind worked.

What’s troubling is that his family, tired of all the attention his death has received, does not share Garzon’s ethic. That is, they believe the cemetery –– if its dignity even affords it that title –– should be left in peace.

Like the Lorca family, Spaniards are divided over this ‘controversial’ decision when the decision is neither controversial nor divisive.

Spain, like Germany had to in the aftermath of World War II, needs to face its biggest nightmare. The Lorca family is incorrect when they remark: “We are not going to find anything new by exhuming the grave where Federico is buried.”

Justice will finally be done –– albeit symbolically –– and closure will finally take place for the hundreds of thousands of families that mysteriously lost a loved one at the hands of the longest fascist dictatorship in the world.

Any justice is better than no justice at all. Unfortunately, neither the United States, nor half of Spain understand this concept.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt mistakenly issued an executive order that gave military commanders the right to institute internment camps. Over 130,000 Americans were consequently interned.

Though few died, all of the internees lost their lives. Their property, businesses and families were inexplicably taken from them.

Then in the late 1940s, we gave the interned and their families some money as redress, as if it would solve everything.
What’s worse is what we’ve done abroad. No reparations can undo what we’ve done in Latin America during the 20th century. Richard Nixon’s aid to the oppressive regimes of Pinochet and the Peronistas alone caused the disappearance of tens of thousands of Chileans and Argentines alike.

Yet, after all this, no investigation, like Spain’s, will take place.

The conservative opposition to Judge Garzon’s order claims that “the investigation, along with recent government legislation offering symbolic reparations to Republican victims, opens old wounds.”

It’s better that these wounds be opened now, when many Spaniards are ready and sealed properly, than later, when it has nearly vanished from the Spanish conscious and hasn’t been mended at all.

It is better to face your past sooner than later. Spain has recognized this, the United States has not.

Hopefully, for Spain’s conscious, Judge Garzón’s attempt to symbolically prosecute He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named does not go in vain, like his 1998 attempt to bring to court Agusto Pinochet, and Spain’s 1977 law of ‘silence’ will be broken. Maybe then our wounds finally coagulate.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Whitman Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *