August 5, 2021

Two artists face prison for investigating the catacombs of the Franco regime | Culture

Two artists face prison for investigating the catacombs of the Franco regime | Culture

The artists Carolina Martínez and Clemente Bernad face prison for an alleged crime of "revelation of secrets." The Prosecutor's Office of Pamplona requests two years and six months in prison and a fine of 12,000 euros: they are accused of having entered to record in the crypt of the Monument to the Fallen of Pamplona, ​​in 2016, during the filming of the documentary What do we do with the Monument to the Fallen? released in 2017. The request for jail is covered in article 197.1 of the Criminal Code, following the complaint made by the Brotherhood of the Volunteer Knights of the Cross. The trial will be held on November 14 and 15.

In this crypt, the brotherhood performs Masses on the 19th of each month in honor of the Francoist coup and its fallen, estimated at 4,500 soldiers. The brotherhood accuses the creators of recording one of these ceremonies, whose access is restricted to them and to the Archbishopric. The rest of the building – the largest monument to the Franco regime, after The Valley of the Fallen – is public property. Although the documentary does not show "not a single image" of the ceremony, according to its creators, the article of the Penal Code states that anyone who "uses technical devices for listening, transmitting, recording or reproducing sound or image" will be sanctioned. The brotherhood maintains that the researchers used microphones and passed them through a grid.

"The monument has generated a very tense debate in Pamplona. You have to give it a public utility, but at the moment it is closed, "Bernad tells EL PAÍS from his publisher, Alkibla. One of its collections mixes versions of classic stories rewritten by contemporary authors (Marta Sanz, Isaac Rosa, José Ovejero, etc.) with photojournalistic images. The first title was Red Riding Hood, written by Patxi Irurzun, accompanied by a photographic report by Bernad about the search for Marta del Castillo. Together with Martínez, they form the ZER collective.

Apology of Francoism

The Arzopispado donated in 2000 the monument to the citizens of Pamplona. Everything except the crypt, for the brotherhood to continue celebrating their masses. From the zero level upwards it is public; below, it is private. An anomaly accentuated by the fact that said brotherhood "has exercised as a Praetorian guard of the monument, created by retired ex-combatants at the end of the war." "These celebrations are an apology for coup and Francoism," explains Bernad to EL PAÍS. "They say it's a private space and that it can not be recorded. But the city has asked that the masses be finished. And they accuse us of what is not recorded. We can not talk about our line of defense so as not to reveal anything, "the artists added.

At the same time, a group headed by the poet Juan Carlos Mestre and the sociologist and founder of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, Emilio Silva, has launched a manifesto in favor of the two researchers. In him it is assured that this trial is "a new and flagrant attack against the freedom of investigation and expression, that are the base of the deontological code of the exercise of the documentary journalism and a very serious restriction of the public and democratic freedoms of our country". They consider that the application of 197.1 is a "misrepresentation" of criminal legislation.

"That at this point an investigation can be questioned by a parafascista organization, that continues celebrating every month the criminal deeds of the Coup d'État of Franco, can not be more than a very dangerous presence of the extreme right in our country", notes Mestre, National Poetry Prize 2009. The authors of the manifesto consider that all documentary research work related to the clarification of the obscurities of the Franco regime "is an ethical and moral obligation." "Carolina and Clemente are researchers who have made bibliographical, photographic and documentary contributions essential to the Historical Memory. They are two recognized intellectuals and we can not limit the investigation of some facts that we believe are part of the darkest visions of Spanish history, "says the poet.

'Desfranquizar' Spain

Mestre emphasizes that we live in a confused time, in which the intellectuals and the people of culture are once again responsible for the difficult role of being the "warning of the fire" and of the catastrophes so that they do not happen. In this case the complaint is clear: there are "parafascistas organizations that shamelessly" continue to praise the most ominous events in the history of Spain. The same lament shows Bernad: "This happens because things were not solved at the time. There was not a defranking of Spain, as Germany did with the Nazis, and now we pay for the work done wrong in its day, and those who investigate it suffer it. We need a pedagogical project that does not give an opportunity to fascism and its new forms. They are unacceptable. "

The Monument to the Fallen is in the center of Pamplona, ​​and was the performer Abel Azcona the last artist to step on the center. After the scandal generated by his controversial exhibition Pederasty, Bildu stopped programming more exhibitions. In between, the bodies of Mola and Sanjurjo were exhumed from the monument as a step prior to the rescue of the citizens of a space considered "toxic". "Maintaining a building that continues to glorify and exalt those who did evil and consecrates an axiology based on war and extermination as a solution to the political and social problems of a society is not ethical. A building of this nature is calling for its deaf to shout ", can be read in a manifesto last March, signed by eight members of the Ateneo Basilio Lacort, among whom are Bernad and Martinez.


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