by Jon Lee Anderson published in The New Yorker
Read original on The New Yorker's website
Historicism is a crucial element of Spain's identi...Show description
Posted 505 days ago
Mendacious revisionism, of course, has become more common among Western politicians in recent years. But what is perhaps most shocking about the Spanish leaders’ statements—which are equivalent to Holocaust denial—is that they are passing largely without protest from the public.
As an American who lives in Catalonia, I think by saying these statements are "passing laregely without protest from the public" is unfair to the huge amounts of people who don't believe in this. What is fair to say, though, is that they have it so ingrained in cultural dialogue, that there is no uproar - it's like a pestering that continues and continues within many on the Right. As an American, the exact same thing happened during Trump's presidency. We grew complacent with the everyday ridiculousness of his movement's statements and opinions. A similar thing can be said for people in Spain.
But what is largely looked over in articles like this, which focus on a central point, is that Spain is not just Spanish. There are multiple nations within Spain that have their own separate cultures, languages, and identity (Catalans, Basques, Mallorcans), that don't fit the mold of imperialist, Catholic Spain. These regions suffered oppression just as those of Latin America - the bombing of Guernica in the Basque Country or the execution of the Catalan president, Lluis Companys are just two examples. Acknowledging these cultural identities and histories within such a small article is difficult, but Anderson should have at least made a mention that Spain is not a unified block. He did acknowledge that there is a distinct different between the Spanish Right (Partido Popular) and the Left (PSOE), but it's absolutely crucial to note that these parties have very few seats within the automous regions of Catalonia or the Basque Country, which have their own parties with very different goals.
Altogether though, I have to agree with Anderson's analysis. The laws granting amnesty to war criminals during the Civil War may have been important for a transition or harmful for it - I'm not an expert here to know. But what they did cause was historical amnesia, and there is a growing base of far-Right politicians that remind us of the past. These doesn't seem unique to Spain, however, so we will have to see how the following years play out.