THEN WE TOOK BERLIN(11/10/2007)
Aquest article no estÓ tradu´t al catalÓ; es mostra la seva versiˇ en anglŔs
On how it would be so very nice if official Spain confessed to Franco's crimes.
CATALONIA TODAY ľ SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE SEVENTY-ONE
Berlin is dotted with Holocaustian landmarks, such as the flower-strewn plaque that marks the spot where Tiergartenstrasse 4 used to be: the building out of which the Nazis organised the gassing and starvation of 110,000 mentally handicapped Germans; or the sumptuous house by Wannsee lake where a conference chaired by Reinhard Heydrich in early 1942 put the final seal of approval on a pre-existing order to liquidate 11 million European Jews. I visited both memorial sites last week, came to the verge of tears, and then went about my business.
My business being a round table at the local Instituto Cervantes, together with the Czech Monika Zgustova, the Argentinian PatrÝcia Gabancho and the Moroccan Najat El Hachmi, Catalan language authors all. We talked to an enthusastic audience about how come we had chosen to work in a non-mother tongue. Afterwards, we celebrated over a drink or two. Given that the Salamanca Archive controversy - the refusal of the Spanish government to return documents looted 70 years ago by Franco's troops, to their rightful owners - had been much in the news before we left for Berlin, we couldn't help but compare the filibustering in Madrid with the highly visible amends the Germans have made for their own fascist past, thus giving them the historical self-awareness required for a definitive shift to a democratic system. By contrast, Spain's reluctance to officially atone for Franco's crimes has allowed the very hobbyhorse on which that little man rode into power, to dominate the political agenda once again: National Unity at all costs. This is both saddening and maddening, given that the costs were paid long ago - including those stolen papers in Salamanca, used to incriminate and execute - and the victims haven't yet been given so much as a receipt.