June 21, 2021

In the zero zone of the Francoist terror | Culture

In the zero zone of the Francoist terror | Culture



The directors of the documentary 'El silencio de otros', Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo, at the extremes, and José María Galante 'Chato' and María Ángeles Martín, victims of Francoist crimes, last Thursday in the Valley of the Fallen.

On Thursday, Madrid got windy. And more in the mountains. And more in the esplanade of access to the basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, where the remains of 34,000 people rest. Between gusts and gusts, in moments of silence, crows squawked. The cold, sharpened by the gloomy atmosphere of Franco's architecture, freezes the bones. "It's that the site brings them," says the filmmaker with a half smile Almudena Carracedo. She and Robert Bahar are responsible for The silence of others, documentary candidate Goya, who entered the last prenomination of the Oscars and that since its premiere a year ago at the Berlinale (where it won the audience award for the best documentary in the Panorama section) has raised blisters and open the debate on the treatment that Spain gives to the victims of the crimes of the Franco dictatorship.

Bahar and Carracedo, who have devoted six years to the filming and a seventh to the assembly of the film, have risen to the Valley of the Fallen accompanied by José María Galante, Flat, who, being a student, was tortured for two weeks at Puerta del Sol by Antonio González Pacheco, police officer better known as Billy the Kid, and of María Ángeles Martín, granddaughter of Faustina López González, murdered on September 21, 1936 in Buenaventura (Toledo), and whose body remains in a Common pit under a highway. María Ángeles' mother, María Martín, died in 2014 without being able to bury her mother in a cemetery, and the image of that suffering old woman, who relies on a treadmill to meditate while whispering – "How unfair human beings are" – , summarizes The silence of others.

Under the megalomaniacal cross, Carracedo hopes that with the Valley a monument-museum of memory will be made: "Let it be explained what has happened". And Martin points out: "But let the truth be told, let history be rewritten." Galante explains: "Let's make an international contest, resignify the place and remember the people who died raising this." The quartet hopes that all the bodies buried there will be removed and that they will be delivered to their families. "Those who are not claimed," says Galante, "could be buried in a cemetery where they are honored, like those in Europe with victims of the world wars."

Have Spain, the Spaniards, failed the victims of the Franco dictatorship? "Of course," says Martín. "He started with a pact in which we were asked to forgive just because and forget for sure. And so the criminals never asked for forgiveness. For this barbarism of tortured, shot and reprisals in four decades of dictatorship never to be repeated again there is a part of our society that must face its mistakes. I feel they do not want to reconcile. " Carracedo looks at the door of the basilica: "Spain has a pending debt with many people, who were the real architects of democracy, and who left their days, their lives, in pursuit of the democracy that we now enjoy. One of the protagonists of the documentary told me: 'While we spent our youth fighting for freedom, we never thought that we would be recognized for the effort, but we would never have imagined that they would ignore us in this way.' This saddens me a lot. " Galante believes that the pact of silence was imposed on society from the institutions and that, therefore, "the responsibility is of those institutions that denied the principles of truth, justice and reparation on which to base democratic coexistence. Impunity for the crimes of humanity is maintained. However, I think that society is not allowed to pronounce, which would surely end that impunity of the Franco regime. We are in 2019, and this does not hold anymore. " Martín comments ironic: "What incongruity, right? From here to this gentleman they do not want to take it out and we can not get our families out. "

Bahar, an American from Philadelphia, says that this year he has accompanied The silence of others Throughout the world has found a common element: "The public is surprised that so far into the 21st century do not let the relatives dig up the remains of their loved ones, that there are torturers walking down the street or that they can not investigate the cases of the stolen babies. Foreigners are outraged at what happens after four decades of democracy. Time is running out. "

Galante, in his denunciations against Billy the Child, is optimistic: "Judicial loopholes have been opened, two quarrels are admitted and the European courts are above the Spaniards, who will be forced to accept their sentences. There are already movements of people. " Martin is not so clear: "Because there are relatives who do not want their last name to be stained with sins of their ancestors' past. And they still send a lot. I see it very difficult. The reception of this documentary gives me some hope. And, of course, I would not like to leave this inheritance to my children. I do not want to speak for me, because here we all fight for everyone. "

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