February 25, 2021

"In my family there is a metaphor of Spain, of the Civil War"


After reading the latest book by Victor Amela, I begin to talk with him remembering those verses of Machado, "little Spaniard who comes to the world to keep you God, one of the two Spain has to freeze your heart". They are two Spains that have lived together in many families, although silence has prevented them from being counted. That is the germ of the new novel by this journalist and novelist, where he tells the story of his grandfather, Manuel Bonilla, a peasant from La Alpujarra, emigrated to Barcelona, ​​who one day, as a child, told him the phrase that includes the name of another poet and that gives title to his story: "I could save Lorca" (Destination)

– Remember the day your grandfather told him that phrase?

"With precision. I was ten years old. My parents left me a weekend at my grandparents' house, because I was the oldest of five kids of eight, seven, six and four and they were crazy. And I stayed in paradise. I could read my comics and my stories without anyone bothering me. My grandparents, born in the Alpujarra, silent, discreet and suffering people, did not even say to me. But one night, my grandfather and I alone in the dining room of a very humble apartment on the outskirts of Barcelona (the neighborhood of La Trinidad), he told me while he turned off the light: "I could save Lorca" and he told me in a tone of Confidence, as if daring to confess that to his grandson would be a terrible effort. I went to bed without really understanding what he had told me, but I did not forget it. And now that I tell it, it's as if I hear him say it again. It is inside me and it has been what has led me to investigate, scratch, and investigate for many years until getting to reconstruct the truth behind that phrase "

– A truth that begins with the activity of "passer" of his grandfather, right?

So is. The Alpujarra was red-not republican-and he, who was very Christian, took people who were more or less Christian or who had not paid the UGT tax and who were in danger of death and passed it on to the blue Granada, to the Revolutionary Granada. Doing these tasks was how he met Luis Rosales. Between that illiterate pastor who was my grandfather and that refined and poetic boy who was Luis Rosales, a friendship was established, because they were on the same side. And one day, Luis Rosales told my grandfather "you have to help me save Lorca"

– Do you dare to reveal without ripping the novel why could not get it?

Let's say it was a mixture of miserable, sad and unhappy factors. The first, that there was a person who, to win a medal and a salary, incriminated Lorca. I mean Ramón Ruiz Alonso. He betrayed the presence of Lorca in the houses of the Rosales and incriminated Luis Rosales himself as a red cover, because he wanted Rosales to fall into disgrace. I hated them for not admitting him to the Falange … They are reasons for human misery in a context of war in which the life of a man is worthless. Not even that of Lorca, which is loaded without any problem, only by a strategic movement of the internal Civil War, within the Civil War. That is, a war between the military and Falangists inside Granada, within the national side. That human misery is charged to Federico García Lorca, who is very easy to charge only to say he is a Russian spy, invested and a friend of the Republic. What happens is that then the blood of Lorca falls on them until today.

– True. Until Franco had to make efforts to justify the crime of Lorca …

He had to say it had been a casual shooting on a street. A lost bullet. For Franco it was a nightmare all his life, because whenever foreign ambassadors came to Spain it was the first thing they asked him. But hey, I think it's a crime that we have to redeem all, because in the end the Spaniards are responsible in our group, right? Because we kill our poets and that has to end. It can not be that we always end up sacrificing and killing the best.

– This is the story of your grandfather, but you also appear in it. Was his presence necessary to exorcise that devilish time of which his essence is a part?

When I was half the novel written, I felt that need to remind the reader that who explains the story is relevant and that the narrator is me. That is to say that I am not explaining something that I have read or a cut of Wikipedia, but something that concerns me, affects me, challenges me and defines me.

– And why do you think he needed to share that story, even though it is part of Spain's, is it his own and so intimate?

So that it would be known, so that it would not happen again or so that the silence does not win, a light will open and we will be able to look at the horror with compassion, we will understand that we come from it and that it does not make sense to republish it or claim it on either side, but to understand that they were all victims of their circumstances, of ideas that drag them. I believe that Civil War was something we all lost. I was very shocked that my grandfather, who had emigrated from Granada to Barcelona, ​​lived so humbly and in such a dark and silent way being the winning side. I understood that in reality the war is won by three or four. The rest loses it. Even the victors.

– Do you identify with any of the sides?

I do not want to identify myself neither with the republicans nor with the nationals, I want to put the people taken one by one, with their tragedy.

– It would have been difficult for him to do it, besides, having had an uncle inside the Penal de Puerto de Santa María and his grandfather outside, as guardian, right?

And they coincided in space and time. That's why I think it seems destiny was telling me: "Victor writes, that this does not happen every day, that in your family there is a metaphor of Spain, of the Civil War"

(tagsToTranslate) marta oaks



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