Generalísimo Franco is still dead, but moving to a new home.

The Spanish government has approved plans to exhume the body of dictator Francisco Franco from his mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen. His family it opposed, which is a little odd since Franco himself wanted to be buried in Madrid and it was the government that decided to bury in there at the last minute. Any Spaniards care to chime in?

It’s nice that he has a chance to get out and travel around like this.

I begin by finding the Valley itself an enormous monstrosity, both architecturally and morally: we can’t feed our people so let’s distract them by making a humongous useless monument in the middle of nowhere; other monuments to the '36 Civil War Fallen are in towns and either usable for multiple purposes or very small. Lots of the things which are done in the name of Historic Memory look more like Historic Erasure to me; lots of them have hurt actual, current, living people*… but this? It’s summertime news, frankly. The kind of thing that takes up a lot of front page space only because there’s nothing more interesting going on.

  • For example the flurry of street and school renamings are often absurd and, in the case of streets, require home deeds to be rewritten. This has a cost which the City Halls involved never have the bollocks to cover. And in the case of my home town, the area of town where streets were given the names of Fallen included some who’d been Republican: the inhabitants of those streets and those who’d been living in one named after a relative were particularly pissed off.

I can understand the impulse to refer Franco to a less grandiose and more private memorial. But I’d be tempted not try to rewrite the past but add something: perhaps by staging an annual dance festival on the grave.


Wouldn’t a muñeira be more appropriate?

Ha! I know almost nothing of these things – just that my mother once told me the sardana was banned in Barcelona under Franco, and they were thrilled to dance it after he died.

She’s no expert either – but liked to travel in Europe in the 60s and 70s, “on five dollars a day,” as Frommer’s book claimed could be done:

Both Chevy Chase and Garret Morris should do a new Weekend Update to keep everyone informed.

Completely untrue (Regional Dances was even a required subject in Normal schools), along with the notion of languages other than Spanish being banned and so many others. But given that my own Catalan cousin has tried to convince me that Catalan was banned when we were wee until I reminded her of the songs we used to sing together, or that according to the revisionist view my paternal grandpa must have been Superman*, it’s not a piece of Black Legend I’m ever terribly surprised to encounter.

  • Between him and Franco they won the war, and we know Franco couldn’t fly.

Interesting - thanks!