Good Literature Review About The Historical Memory Law (La Ley De Memoria Historica) And Breaking The Pact OF Forgetting (El Pacto Del Olvido)
Type of paper: Literature Review
Topic: Spain, People, Recognition, War, Law, History, Politics, Civil War
What is the Historical Memory Law?
In 2002 Spain was recognized by the United Nations as one country that still had not done anything about the missing people from the civil war and unfair retaining of people as prisoners by the dictator at the time (Davis). The historical memory law was introduced by Spain’s socialist workers party government or PSOE in 2006 to recognize at long last the justice for General Francisco Franco’s horrible and numbered amount of murders during his rule were shameful and unacceptable. During Francisco’s rule there was a civil war that lasted from 1936 to 1939 and Francisco was considered a dictator who was responsible for many unjustified mass killings. Many families of Francisco’s victims have fought for this recognition only to be stopped at every turn by different government political parties. These government entities which included the PSOE, descendants of Francisco and others made a pact in 1978 that the civil war and Francisco’s rule would be considered under this a “pact of forgetting’. However recent favoritism among the citizens toward further analysis of the war has made the historical memory bill a long deserved possibility (Stuart). Some of the Spanish citizens strongly believe that there were no parties who did not poses the same guilt in the civil war as another contending there was nobody that was innocent in the issues. These people are the same that declare there should be no recognition for those who suffered the terrible fate. This is considered outrageous to others though who equate the mass killings to being the same as calling Nazis as innocent as the Jewish people they slaughtered. The bill proposed to enact the historical memory law sets out to erase “the pact of forgetting” and replace it with recognition for those who endured this war. It also proclaims in article two of the bill that the punishments, sentencing and any type of violence that was caused by the politics and ideologies while the war and Francisco’s dictatorship were ongoing will be given recognition no matter what side the people of Spain were on.
Breaking the pact of forgetting
The historical memory law is a bill that is proposed only to give recognition to all of the people who fell and the families who suffered the loss of a love one during the civil war. It has no elements that seek justice farther than recognition. This bill specifically says in fact that it will not go after the people that were responsible for what is now considered unjust mass killings during the war. Identities of those responsible are to remain concealed only recognition is to be given to the people who have fallen victim so they will not be forgotten. If the victims wish for compensation for their suffering this will be allowed however to protect the integrity of the investigation in general each family will have to present a case to a council consisting of what are considered “five wise men” (Stuart) who will be responsible for making a final decision. The study of memory asserts that instead of forgetting the past that may have been something many do not want to encompass it is important to remember these events as it serves as a voice to those that did not get to use their own. In a situation like the civil war in Spain there are many graves unmarked that beg for a voice to speak up for them and remember what happened so that it was no all in vain. The events that happened in Spain require memory of everything for people to be able to identify with their Spanish heritage as so much was lost during the dictatorship (collmiermo). The transition has proven to be very difficult for some of Spain’s people who in turn inflict terrorism and political violence in an attempt to stop the recognition the majority of Spain is calling for. This has shown Spain the difficulty of the process of recognition as well as the importance to break the silence and forced forgetfulness and attempt to give both recognition and closure to the families who continue on today. This has become an issue of not only fighting for rights and protection from violence from political parties who do not agree but a stance for those who have and suffered the ultimate punishment not only to be killed in massive attacks but to have been put away and for their families to have been forced to forget them.
The historical memory law is very difficult for some to accept as a resolution for some of the past events that look like a stain on Spain, however others welcome the opportunity to finally identify with the people they loved and for some never knew because of the past laws that forced them to conform and accept. This law gives something back to the people of Spain and that is freedom, it does not seek to punish or shame the families of the dictator but rather to offer resolution for families that lost so much when Francisco’s regime was terrorizing the period that followed an already devastating civil war. In the past this recognition was not only not afforded to the victims but completely denied making it important for the UN to both recognize and publish the inability of Spain’s government to make this humane and just effort. Following that and with many restrictions there has finally been a step in the right direction with the publication of the historical memory law.
collmiermo, jose. A Nation Of Ghosts?: HAUNTING, HISTORICAL MEMORY AND FORGETTING IN POST-FRANCO SPAIN. 1st ed. 452 F, 2011. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.
Davis, Madeleine. 'Is Spain Recovering Its Memory? Breaking The Pacto Del Olvido'. Human Rights Quarterly 27.3 (2005): 858-880. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.
Diez Gutierrez, Enrique Javier. 'La Memoria Histórica En Los Libros De Texto Escolares'. Revista Complutense de Educación 25.2 (2014): n. pag. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.
Pérez, Pablo, and Julio Salom. 'Contar Hoy La Violencia De Ayer: Video Y Literatura Actual Sobre La Transición Política Española'. Sociologias 15.34 (2013): n. pag. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.
Stuart, Paul. 'Spain: “Law of Historical Memory” Continues Cover-Up of Franco’s Crimes - World Socialist Web Site'. Wsws.org. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2015.