There is a lot of talk in Catalonia and Spain about efforts to exhume the body of fascist Dictator General Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen.
The site was built under Franco’s regime and underneath the valley’s floor lie the remains of 40,000 people who died during the Civil War. Franco, controversially, is the only person buried there who did not die in the civil war.
The Basilica houses the remains of Franco and the founder of his Falange party and is the focus of Fascist commemorations every November 20th.
Reflecting on the past and remembering the horrendous crimes of the Franco regime must help to inform present day discourse in Spanish and Catalan politics.
Rejection of repression and celebration of democracy are supposedly two of the reasons for the existence of the Valley of the Fallen.
If that is to ring true, in any substantive way, the Spanish State must release their political prisoners and return to the standards of democracy that we expect from mainstream European countries.
We need actions, not just words and the King of Spain, whose father agreed to bury Franco among this shrine of fallen heroes, must learn and accept that he is viewed with suspicion and derision by the Catalan people, since his unwelcome and unhelpful intervention in the Catalan independence referendum and it’s violent aftermath.
Lessons must be learned from Spain’s dark history as the present day Spain has it’s own dark clouds of fascism gathering and coalescing around their old symbols.