A democracy defends itself with memory, by Pilar Díaz

A few days ago, the San Fernando Town Hall honored the 17 councilors of the corporation of 1936. All, without exception, were killed by criminal fascism that ended the Second Republic and democracy in Spain. Among them, my grandfather Eduardo Diaz. All of them were arrested and shot by the rebel military rebels.

It’s been 85 years since. In July 36, a group of soldiers who had sworn to protect Spain took up arms against that same Spain and its people; what led us to the blackest and darkest stage in our recent historyAfter 40 years of dictatorship that eliminated rights and freedoms with the stroke of a pen and caused misery, death and pain in every corner of the country.

Today, our democracy is not only heir to the transition, the constitutional process and the will of the people. Especially, it is from the Second Republic and of those men and women who lost everything, even life, for defending democracy and freedom. Because there are those who now intend to rewrite history and affirm that the civil war is explained because some wanted democracy without order and others order without democracy. Well no. There is no possible symmetry between the guarantors of democracy and the mutineers. The uprising and the subsequent dictatorship only deserve the round condemnation of all Democrats.

And a democracy defends itself with memory. Because the people who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it. And because If we don’t talk about what happened, it’s as if it hadn’t happened. And yes, it terribly happened and we have an obligation to pass it on from generation to generation.

The tribute in San Fernando is an act of justice and reparation and that should open the way to other consistories. They were singled out and executed for being workers, progressives, for representing the people and because they posed a danger to their subjugation plans. They were the first, but then many more came. Thousands. Undoubtedly, the Franco regime methodically and planned. It was not the fruit of fervor or rapture.

In addition, they tried to silence the defeated. It was so much pain that they inflicted, that for decades we have not known anything. On La Isla, as in so many other places, after so many atrocities in such a short time, silence was imposed. A silence that has prevented families from knowing the events in detail and recognizing ours. A silence that is being fought today by shedding light on what really happened and on who was who. Exercising the right to historical memory, a state policy.

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Democratic memory provides elements for reflection and compensates the victims’ desire for moral and emotional reparation. We speak of dignity and justice. At this point, any investigative work to put black on white will be incomplete as long as the families do not find the remains of our loved ones to be able to give them the rest they deserve. We appeal to the competent authorities to accelerate the exhumation of the mass graves. And no, We are not trying to prevent reconciliation or to reopen old wounds, but on the contrary, to close them. And this will not happen until we all find our own and the grief is not inherited by another generation.

It is fair to compensate the memory of those who lost everything, including their lives, by not giving up or giving in at any time. His stories are stories of dignity and his memory will never be erased or stained by the Franco regime and its heirs. Pride, honor and memory.


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