I’m sitting here in the hotel in Granada (I’m on an excursion with Granada), getting ready to go to bed after having seen an amazing flamenco show. The past week has been super busy with midterms (what, you mean I actually have to study sometime??), and fighting off a little bit of a cold, so I apologize for my failure to post.
Anywho, I figured I should post a little bit before all my loyal readers get bored and leave, so here’s an interesting story from class…
In my “Current Spain” class, we have been discussing Spanish history, including the years under Franco’s reign. Our professor was telling us about the period of time in which Franco’s government was based in Salamanca, and how there is a plaque outside the building noting it. Apparently, a few years ago, the PSOE (Socialist political party) outlawed any sort of signage or symboism in Spain that refers to Franco in a positive, political manner. However, many local governments have protested this law, and so the plaques and such still (illegally) exist.
One of these is on my school building, a limestone emblem of the shield that Franco adopted. After class, several friends and I looked up at it before we headed home. We started to have a discussion about removing any sign of their history … it seems to me a little bit like pretending it didn’t happen, which I’m not sure I think is the right approach.
Eventually, the conversation turned to what the Spanish people think of Franco. Salamanca is in a fairly conservative area of Spain, and besides a large student population, also has many, elderly people who are, in essence, still “supporters” of Franco. Especially now that unemployment has reached about 20% here, this is some discontent and nostalgia for things as they “used to be” among a certain sector of the Spanish population.
One of my friends, then, who is in a homestay with a couple in their upper 70’s, shared this discussion he had with his host parents:[Franco had come up somehow in conversation…]
- Host Parents: “We had years of peace and prosperity under Franco”
- My Friend: “But didn’t he kill a bunch of people?”
- Host Parents: “Well yes, but they were all Communists.”
Interesting. November 20th is the anniversary of the day Franco died, and traditionally there are protests both against, and in support of, Franco. However, because the elections are on the 20th this year, all form of political protest are banned.
In other news, my parents and sister are coming for Thanksgiving, and I can’t wait to show them all around Salamanca! (But first, we’ll be spending the weekend in Seville, Spain together next weekend.)