Saturday, December 03, 2016

It takes all sorts

A Facebook group that I'm a member of, Spanish International Alicante, advertised a bilingual history evening in the nearby village of la Romana some 16 or 17 km down the hill towards Elche. The title, or at least one of the titles, was Spain's Transition to Democracy.

I turned up. It looked to me as though the room for the meeting had only recently been finished because it was all a bit sparse. There was a decent enough crowd, mainly Spanish and British. A couple of people made a point of greeting me so the welcome was warm enough even if the room was a bit chilly.

We started pretty much on time, maybe fifteen to twenty minutes late, with a welcome from the Deputy Mayor of La Romana. He was young and dressed in a sort of modern teddy boy style. We went to a very strange parade in la Romana once. Maybe alternative is something they cultivate.

The woman who gave the talk was called Anabel Sánchez. She'd given herself quite a task, to cover the years from the proclamation of the Second Republic, in 1931, through to the stable democracy in Spain in 1981. She had an hour and she did everything in English and in Spanish. Fifty years in sixty minutes or thirty minutes for each language. It could never be anything other than a quick and superficial overview but she did a good job in my opinion.

A lot of the talk centred on the Spanish Civil War and the resulting dictatorship because that's the period from 1936 through to 1975. Anabel's viewpoint was openly anti Franco and pro woman. She poked fun at the Francoist view of women's roles. She stressed the repression and the misery of rationing in Francoist Spain which caused some bubbling amongst a couple of members of the audience who pointed out that Britain had also suffered rationing during and after the Second World War.

At the end of the talk people were doing that milling around thing. I heard one of the organisers of the event ask one of the audience what she had thought. I expected the usual sort of "very interesting" answer but, instead, the attendee said she thought that it had been a terrible talk and that the speaker was obviously biased, that her views should be balanced by inviting a more conservative speaker to the group and that the root cause of the turmoil in Spain for all those years was the destruction of political order wrought by the Republic.

Even now it makes me laugh. It's fair enough that people have a range of political views but the idea that someone could even vaguely defend an incompetent and bloodthirsty dictatorship forty years after its demise is so ridiculous that it didn't cross my mind to be angry or repelled.


The photo by the way is a house that was code named Posición Yuste and was the last headquarters of the Republican Government in Spain in the nearby town of Elda

No comments:

Post a Comment