The Guardian. F is for #Franco but not for fascist, apparently. 02.06.2013

The new Spanish Dictionary of Biography’s historical revisions tell us more about what’s wrong with Spain now than in the past

Did you know that General Franco was not a dictator, just a bit too “authoritarian”? What about the people who opposed him? Ever felt the temptation to call them democrats or anti-fascists? Wrong. According to Spain’s Royal Academy of History, the right term should be either “bandits” or “terrorists”.

At least that is what the academy says in its recently released Spanish Dictionary of Biography, a mammoth 50-volume endeavour to put everyone in their place in terms of national history – the “Spain’s got talent” of historical revisionism. And if you’re already thinking that this Royal Academy must be some shadowy Francoist webpage with a phoney name you’re wrong again: it is the real thing, the royal thing, the actual academy founded in the 18th century to bring the Enlightenment to Spain, and apparently still failing to do so 300 years later.

The fact that the dictionary has been presented under the patronage of the king himself and handsomely paid with taxpayers’ money to the tune of €6.5m is doing very little to lessen the scandal many specialists and ordinary Spaniards feel at this body of work which, among other things, routinely refers to the republican side in the civil war as “the enemy” while Franco’s troops are described as “the national army”. Or, for example, when it praises the “pacification” of several regions, by which it means the execution of thousands of democrats, socialists, teachers and passersby in general. It’s a pity that people cannot overcome their outrage, because some of it is quite hilarious. There are wonderful unintended punchlines, such as when, in a frenzy of praise for the Generalissimo, we learn that Franco had personally warned Lyndon B Johnson not to enter the Vietnam war (if he only had listened!). Franco, the incorrigible pacifist …

Read the rest of the article here.


Posted on June 18, 2013, in BY COUNTRY, BY DATE, BY LANGUAGE, BY SOURCE, English, June 2013, The Guardian, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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