One of the historians and Hispanists most concerned with the delimitation and clarification of the Spanish Civil War left written, in very accurate pages, this reflection: «We must avoid counting the same dead twice». He did so after recounting how on September 17, 1936, the so-called People’s Court of Almería issued a sentence against 43 soldiers involved in the uprising of July 18, which was frustrated there. The ruling was 36 death sentences, one life sentence, four acquittals and two dismissals. The problem came when the time came for the execution of the sentences imposed, it was found that all those convicted had been murdered a month earlier in Cartagena. From these words by Bartolomé Bennassar (Nimes, 1929-Toulouse, 2018), taken from his book ‘Hell was us. The Spanish Civil War’ and all its implicit, instructive and salutary consequences, I want to start with my purpose of making, in an objective and impartial manner –naturally, also limited due to a matter of space– an analysis of Law 20/2022, of 19 of October, of Democratic Memory, published last day 20 in the BOE and that comes to be a reproduction, almost clonic, of the previous Law of Historical Memory, of December 26, 2007. Generalizations are always dangerous, but apart from of the technical problems that the norm raises and of its cumbersome and careless prose –there are errata such as that the war ended on April 1, 1959–, what the Law leads to is to revive, consciously or unconsciously, a cainism that we thought had been overcome since the Transition, that political masterpiece that consisted of going from dictatorship to democracy without falling into revenge or turning the landscape red. A Preamble in which, among other things, it can be read that “the promotion of democratic memory policies has become a moral duty that must be strengthened in order to neutralize oblivion”, that “memory becomes a decisive element to promote open, inclusive and plural forms of citizenship”, or that the law “is intended to close a debt of Spanish democracy with its past”, shows the obstinacy of some for the Spain of today to continue walking on the ashes of the Civil war. The calendar is a machine that never tires and the memory of that tragedy is not life, but its mirage and, consequently, a useless political tool. What is past is past and it is useless to resurrect what is already archive meat. Tracing, once again, in those events that bathed Spain in blood and traumatized us all seems to me to be a serious symptom, although the diagnosis is even more serious, since I am very much afraid that the problem goes beyond the historical and legal channels – wrong , both, without a doubt–, to enter those of a mentality that has not yet matured. Because, whatever the enthusiasts of the law say, relic parades do not fit in a society that aspires to be aware of its daily reality. At this point, declare the illegality and illegitimacy of the courts that functioned during the dictatorship or impose the review of sentences handed down by the Francoist courts (article 5), create a special prosecutor called Human Rights and Democratic Memory (article 28), suppress at a stroke of the pen the titles of nobility granted between 1948 and 1978 (article 41), regulate what must be taught about the Civil War to ESO students (article 44), and even indicate a date –precisely today– as the day of remembrance and homage to all the victims of the military coup, the war and the dictatorship (article 7), contributes to reopening sores and festering old resentments. And, of course, to sponsor a particular scrutiny of the Transition. The creation of a Democratic Memory Council and, within it, of a Commission that will have to study violations of rights up to a year after Felipe González came to power, 40 years ago now, insinuates that at that time they committed crimes that went unpunished because our democracy was weak, imperfect and tolerant of crime. The law on this point, as on others, does not hide its brazen intention of establishing an official truth about the Civil War and Francoism, granting the State the right to exclusively interpret the past. If there is something about which we Spaniards – not all of us, but those of us who lived, for more or less years, under the Franco regime – should, first, meditate sincerely and, later, express without fear, it is that this law pivots on the great sophism that Spanish society has an outstanding debt with the victims of Francoism and the Civil War. As Francesc de Carreras pointed out in this same newspaper on July 17, “historical memory is individual, not collective (…)” and the concept itself “a manipulation of history by the public powers of the State (…), the result of arrangements made between the PSOE and the radical circles, among which are the political heirs of ETA, Bildu». A thesis that coincides with the one that Joaquín Leguina had exposed two years before, when the law was a project, when speaking “of the danger of digging into history”, recommending “getting away as quickly as possible from that black Spain that we thought was forgotten” and sentence that this law “does not intend to recover any memory (…), but the oblivion of the many thousands of murders committed in the Republican rear (…)” because, after all, “the ultimate objective of this barbarity is to have open the confrontation between Spaniards and, incidentally, ending the Transition, which represented –before anything else– national reconciliation». In other words, be careful with the review of the judicial processes that have expired due to the res judicata principle, since there would be people who, for the same reasons, could urge the review of the summary trials held before republican courts that sent thousands of monarchists to the firing squad. and Falangists, or those set up by the communists to eliminate their anarchist rivals. It is true that in the face of dramatic events, the victims need to remember in order to seek justice. But there are also those that seek oblivion to make coexistence possible. For this reason, precisely for this reason, reconciliation policies are contrary to memory policies. Memory cannot be democratic and those who remember are individuals, not peoples. This is what was formulated in the Edict of Nantes of 1598 that put an end to the dramatic wars of religion: “The memory of all the events that have occurred is extinguished, as if these things had not happened.” Faced with the war of memories, it is necessary to elaborate an objective, fair, shared History, the only one acceptable by a democracy. It is time to erase those three bitter words: Spanish Civil War. For many years I have suppressed them from my vocabulary and my thoughts. Our civil war was a disease, rather, an epidemic, the memory of which does not nourish but fattens and brutalizes. I refuse to share the rewriting of that crazy time in which the Spanish vilely killed each other and with the most disparate and crazy techniques. Forgetting, after a more than prudent period, may be the most recommended therapy. It is not about turning our backs on History, but about accepting it and digesting it consciously and serenely. The bad thing about a certain sector of the left, fortunately a minority, is the propensity to exhume corpses and the taste for exciting the most vain passions. Feeding the spirit of revenge is as senseless as it is stupid. For me I have that the wounds are not staunched with fireworks. Also that those who stir up the pyre of the past may be the same ones who want to see the present burn. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Javier Gómez de Liaño is a lawyer
HAVANNews is an independent news network working towards providing the fastest and most trustworthy news to its readers.
© 2022 Havanews.com- independent news network