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••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Spanish Politics

Orwellian Spain
• James Skinner

Memory Law

Update 9.10.20 : Pablo Iglesias the Podemos leader and deputy prime minister is to be investigated by Spain's supreme court in relation to a long-running spying case. (The Villarejo case)

In George Orwell’s novel, 1984 he describes a political scenario based on lies as depicted in the fictional government’s ministries of Love, Peace, Plenty and Truth. These sections impose completely the opposite; hence we have hatred, war, famine and lies. During the ‘reign’ of the Socialists under the presidency of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, in December of 2007, the government introduced the **‘Law of Historical Memory’. Although I have brought this subject up in past essays it is worth mentioning yet again as we now have a sequel, the ‘Law of Democratic Memory’.  

The original law was meant to find and identify the mass graves of republican victims during the 1936/1939 Civil War. There was no mention of those that ‘disappeared’ from the victors, i.e. Generalissimo Franco’s side. As time went by however, the law turned into a massive witch hunt of everything that had anything to do with the war and the forty-year long dictatorship. This has carried on, almost silently, over the past thirteen years, including those of Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government and is still gong on. The result, comparing it to Orwell’s theory is the complete wipe-out of ‘historical memory’ and effectively re-writing history as if Franco never existed. This may sound as an exaggeration but is nevertheless what the future generations will be faced with when they open their textbooks of contemporary XX Century Spanish history.

But the comparison to George’s 1984 does not end there.

The present socialist government - I’ll come to this later -. has introduced a new law, as stated early, regarding the democratic history of the ‘new Spain’ since the end of the dictatorship. Back to my comparison. It has nothing to do with democracy. Its sole purpose is to supress any attempt to overturn the present extreme left movement that is presently going on emulating a pseudo-Bolivarian style dictatorship like those that are presently in place in Cuba and Venezuela.

I re-enter the past by introducing the present Socialist government with President Pedro Sanchez at the helm, and Pablo Iglesias as Chief Engineer. The above synopsis of what has been happening in Spain has been going on for two years and is a never-ending saga of modern communist dictatorship not seen in Europe since the Cold War.

Sr. Iglesias is Senior Vice-President and literally runs the country. Above all he controls the media, the National Centre of Intelligence - equivalent to the CIA and MI6 – and is the architect of the above political program, for use of a better word that is undergoing a clean-up process of any hint of past centre or right-wing accomplishments.

There is a great deal of detail that supports the above that I shall amplify as we enter the winter months of economic slowdown that is only now beginning to hurt.

We all are aware that the effects are due to the COVID-19 horror story affecting humanity. Spain is one of the worst European countries to be hit. Nevertheless, the parallel political scenario as briefly described is in place.

© James Skinner 28/9/20
jamesskinner at

No justice seems possible or thinkable without the principle of some responsibility, beyond all living present, within that which disjoins the living present, before the ghosts of those who are not yet born or who are already dead, be they victims of war, political or other kind of violence.
Jacques Derrida—Specters of Marx

**“Law of Historical Memory” (2007). In juxtaposing the novel and the current law, it aims to trace in each text a series of recurring representational practices (words, images, expressions) that seek to do justice to the victims, with unequal success. The novel’s recurring expressions (i.e., shadows, the repressed, eternal return, ghosts, and blindness) stress the importance of coming to terms with the “ghosts of the past.” The law focuses instead on other words and images (i.e., foundation, reconciliation, concord, and closure) that allude to the idea of historical progress, it will be argued, without proper acknowledgment of the injustices of the past. In doing so, the law becomes a commemorative site for the Spanish Transition, but not for the recovery of the victims’ memory. The law’s re-appropriation of the “spirit of the Transition” reveals Spain’s deep fear of confronting the ghosts of the past, a fear that can be perceived still today.
Mónica López Lerma

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