Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Franco's Ghost

Here's a few additional resources on the Spanish Civil War in case you wanted to put our August book, Watcher in the Pine, in context. Google Cultural Institute has an easily digestible multimedia spread that gives you the basics. For a little additional period color, you can watch The Spanish Earth, a 1937 pro-Republican propaganda film narrated by Ernest Hemingway. If you'd like a little more depth, try this podcast from the BBC In Our Time Series.

As with many divisive periods in a nation's life (I'm thinking of our recent reading of Anna Funder's Stasiland about East and West Germany) the process of reconciliation is ongoing. Just this year, Amnesty International released a report, "Time Passes, Impunity Remains", criticizing the Spanish government for blocking investigations into Franco-era crimes,
“The fact that Spain is neither investigating nor cooperating with proceedings relating to crimes committed during the Civil War by both parties to the conflict or under Franco is a slap in the face of all the relatives of those who were abused and disappeared at the time,” said Esteban Beltr├ín, Director of Amnesty International Spain. 
“We have seen a tendency for these cases to be closed without further investigation but the situation has worsened recently after the Supreme Court ruled that it was not for Spanish judges to prosecute these crimes. The only avenue of judicial investigation available in Spain it seems to be shut down.”
Amnesty is urging authorities in Spain to investigate and prosecute crimes or offences under international law and to assist fully with any request for cooperation it receives from foreign courts that decide to investigate these crimes.  For more on how Spaniards are confronting the legacy of the Franco era, watch "Franco's Ghost" above.
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