Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spanish Politicians condemn Franco's rule

The Spanish parliament has approved a bill that will formally condemn the 40 year dictatorship of Francisco Franco and all the executions and imprisonments that occured under Franco's rule. This bill declares General Franco's military trials and the resulting executions and imprisonments as illegitamate and requires that all statues, plaques and symbols of Franco's rule should be removed from all public buildings. The conservative opposition has decried this bill for reopening old wounds and trying to divide Spaniards. This bill, which is being called the Law of Historical Memory, has yet to pass in the Spanish senate but it is believed that the bill most likely will be passed by the senate. This bill would also call for the government to fund efforts to try locate and dig up mass graves of victims from the Spanish Civil War. It seems ridiculous that the government wants legally condemn the Franco government when there are plenty of other human rights abuses that have occured in Spanish history, including the murder of countless thousands of political opponents and religious individuals by the previous democratic Spanish Republican government that Franco overthrew. Is it right to condemn one side in a war where both sides were clearly commiting war crimes? Was the Franco Government truely illegitmate? Its one thing to condemn human rights violations of the past but why should we try to supress our history and waste government money on trying to find mass graves that are well over 70 years old, if those graves even do exist to the extent which historians claim?


Adrian said...
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Adrian said...

I disagree with the notion that Spain’s past, regarding the Franco Regime should be ‘buried.’ As tragic as the Spanish Civil war may have been and as much as the people of Spain have suffered as a result, it is a part of who they are. The Spanish Civil War is a part of Spanish History. To burry what was done by Francisco Franco would be to disregard the lessons that particular event has left behind. The people of Spain need to acknowledge that their past contains this traumatic event, and as a nation, progress into the future. The lessons of historical events are crucial in understanding how man thinks and behaves.
I also believe that it is fundamental that those graves are found. It has little to do with money. Society needs closure. Perhaps the remains of those who were killed may provide certain answers to questions still lurking in Spain’s streets. In Argentina, there was a horrific period whereby thousands of individuals, who were accused of opposing the ruling government, simply disappeared. Their family members, to this very day, do not know what happened. Many continue to search for answers. They feel the need to know what happened to their loved ones, to their family and to their friends. In other words, they need closure. In addition, many believe they cannot fully support, or believe in a government until they have the answers they require. They distrust the notion of giving power to another person who may very well condemn them. The same goes for Spain. The Spanish people need to be able to forgive and move on. This is achieved through the acquisition of answers to questions that haunt them.