Bad memory

Bad memory

TR: “Unblocking historical memory”

Bad memory. Cartoon of 01/07/2018 in CTXT

I can think of many reasons to carry out a comprehensive reform of this place and its mammoth structures which, however much they may want to sell them as monuments of reconciliation, are nothing more than a tribute to the victors.

We keep being told that the Valley of the Fallen was designed for the exaltation of the “martyrs of the Crusade”, as they sold it and keep repeating, but not all the fallen fell in the same place of honour, both physical and symbolic. In fact, the fallen there are the filler excuse for Franco’s magnum opus, a construction dedicated to himself. The whole Valley of the Fallen is Franco, it smells of Franco and reminds one of Franco, everything in the vast mausoleum has the dictator’s signature and seal in some corner.

It would be a good thing to desacralise it from the outset, because with the religious stuff it is given an extra shield. Taking advantage of the anachronistic and ambiguous monstrosity of article 525 of our Penal Code, which allows the prosecution of alleged crimes against something as open as “religious feelings” (a euphemism for blasphemy), some carcas professionals of justice allow complaints to prosper in which anything ends up fitting and which many resort to as a wild card to hide ideological motives.

Then go in with the machines of memory and do justice to history.

Poor and bad memory

Bad memory

Land where the Carabanchel prison was located. Google Maps (June 2017)

I remember the demands of the Plataforma por la Memoria, together with other neighbourhood groups, which organised demonstrations and acts of protest against the demolition of the former carabanchel prison, which this year marks the 10th anniversary of the demolition. They called for the central dome to be preserved and for it to be turned into a memorial to Franco’s repression and a tribute to those who suffered reprisals.

Impossible, there are barely four stones left because here we have no middle ground. Either we appropriate history as absolute victors without nuance or discussion, or we raze everything to the ground. Introspection is not for us.

Bad memory

Photo: The Real Duluoz, 7 February 2013. License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). More photos from the Memorial

There are some gestures in other countries, also with a certain excess of passion for “patriotism”, that make me a little envious, where memorials are built about traumatic stages of their history without falling into the error of perpetuating and refreshing the punishment of the defeated and victims, and much less to enthrone dictators. Visiting them serves as a kind of history, remembrance, tribute and justice to memory.

Of the latter we are always rather lacking, the usual ones continue to demand oblivion in order “not to reopen wounds” as a rational posture. Swallow and forget, they mumble through their teeth adding; and don’t forget that those who win wars are always the scriptwriters of memories.


Bad memory

Why the Valley of the Fallen should not be blown up. Diego E. Barros

Bad memory

what to do with the Valley of Franco? Julián Casanova

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