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Spain's difficult recent past


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#3
Almost every town and village in Spain was touched by some atrocity during the Civil War. On the 100th anniversary today in the UK of the start of the 1st World War we are remembering the fallen and the Spanish Civil War like all civil wars was perhaps worse in splitting town, families and friends apart to fight against each other. As bystander has said it is not the fault of the building and you will find few towns or cities without a similar story.

PS This is political so I am probably breaking the forum's rules for which I apologise.
 

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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#6
Many buildings have a distressing past, not just in Spain. In the UK there are similar places if looked at historically, but they are still good to stay at. Some places seem to carry the dark feelings from the past (think of Culloden) and this can be true anywhere. There is a river crossing in N. Spain where Napoleans troops and every conflict over the centuries has left a cold feeling - we felt it and then learnt its history.
In Spain the past is still painful and is best avoided as a topic of conversation. It is interesting that there is more talk now about the past, but it is still very sensitive and many will not want to even think about it.
(If anyone wants an insight into the past you could read 'The Return' by Victoria Hislop)
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#7
Almost every town and village in Spain was touched by some atrocity during the Civil War. On the 100th anniversary today in the UK of the start of the 1st World War we are remembering the fallen and the Spanish Civil War like all civil wars was perhaps worse in splitting town, families and friends apart to fight against each other. As bystander has said it is not the fault of the building and you will find few towns or cities without a similar story.

PS This is political so I am probably breaking the forum's rules for which I apologise.
It is political, but this period of Spanish history fascinates me. I asked a Spanish walking companion about it and why you hear so little about it, he said it was brother against brother and the best way for it to heal was to let it go.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
#8
...and when you walk through Navarra, you can see some panels and plaques commemorating the XIX cty "guerras carlistas", and some very bloody battles. And before, the Napoleon route is called this way bcs the emperor walked it with his troops, when he invaded Spain (have you seen Goya's "fusilamientos del 3 de mayo"?). And before, Valcarlos is "Charles' valley", bcs Carlomagno rested there when he learned about the disaster of Rolland and his rearguard. And before, and before...Yes, Spain's history is as fascinant as, sometimes, tragic. That should not prevent us from enjoying the sights of its glorious art and monuments.
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#9
It doesn't stop me marvelling at the landscapes and places I am visiting, but being human means that all kinds of thoughts, ideas, questions, insights come and go and part of the experience of the camino is that it can bring you/me into contact with people who might be able to further enlighten me or provoke deeper questions inside of me. Even if superficially it does not seem relevant.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese 2014
#10
Do you damn the building to oblivion for what people did in it or do you damn the people who did those injustices?
The axe, the sword, the gun are all, in themselves, innocent - but not so those who use them to hurt others.
The same applies to the Parador in Leon.
Well said sir. It is the evil that each man is capable of that we must avoid.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
#11
El laberinto del fauno movie was introduced to us during Spanish Language classes. We were told that it is only now ... 70 years later ... that people are beginning to discuss what happened during that war. I got the impression that it remains a gaping wound in Spanish society. I would suggest this movie should be as much a part of your research as movies such as 'The Way'

El laberinto del fauno
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan's_Labyrinth
 

Rachael

I love to laugh.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: March-April (2013)
Vezelay to Le Puy, Via Podensis, Camino Frances (March-June 2015)
#12
Another film by Guillermo del Toro that deals with some aspects of the Spanish Civil War (again, in a fantasy/horror fashion) is "The Devil's Backbone." Lovely movie, and wonderful acting and direction. It remains one of my favorites.

But then, I also watch Julio Medem films. ;-)

I appreciate the recent histories of both France and Spain as well as their very ancient, medieval, and Renaissance era histories. There is so much to discover and think upon. Every step we take is one of millions before us.
 
#15
At least in the Forum. If my family had been disappeared by Franco, I would scratch away in the name of justice if not comity.;)
I agree.
I worked in southern Ireland in the early '70s and later in the same decade lived for a short while in Chile and quickly learnt when to keep my mouth shut, not ask questions or express opinions but just listen.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#16
Congratulations forum members, I'm stunned and impressed. I've just woken up to read this thread - the comments are thoughtful, interesting, respectful of each other, and sensitive about a difficult subject. It is a great contrast to other social media sites in which members take an oppositional stance which descends into personal abuse, with little of substance being said. If every person behaved like this in real life we would not have had a Spanish Civil War - or any other. Perhaps it is just the Camino that exerts this influence, or maybe our moderators have trained us well. Whatever the reason, I wish we could export it.
 
#17
Congratulations forum members, I'm stunned and impressed. I've just woken up to read this thread - the comments are thoughtful, interesting, respectful of each other, and sensitive about a difficult subject. It is a great contrast to other social media sites in which members take an oppositional stance which descends into personal abuse, with little of substance being said. If every person behaved like this in real life we would not have had a Spanish Civil War - or any other. Perhaps it is just the Camino that exerts this influence, or maybe our moderators have trained us well. Whatever the reason, I wish we could export it.
Kanga, is it not just good manners?
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#18
Congratulations forum members, I'm stunned and impressed. I've just woken up to read this thread - the comments are thoughtful, interesting, respectful of each other, and sensitive about a difficult subject. It is a great contrast to other social media sites in which members take an oppositional stance which descends into personal abuse, with little of substance being said. If every person behaved like this in real life we would not have had a Spanish Civil War - or any other. Perhaps it is just the Camino that exerts this influence, or maybe our moderators have trained us well. Whatever the reason, I wish we could export it.
After the harvest thread nearly turned into farce, I'm trying to give myself a count to 10 rule, go and do something else and then see how I feel when I come back.
Wish I had applied it to the waymarker 'secret'.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#19
Yes, I think it is both - being polite and not being reactive in response to provocation. And still finding a way of expressing an opinion in a way that is assertive but not aggressive. I find it hard, it takes a lot of self control (I am a redhead).

Anyway, I don't mean to distract from the main topic, which is very interesting. I have stayed at the Parador in Leon and would again - with thanksgiving that it has been transformed into a place of joy instead of misery. It does no harm to have these timely reminders of Spain's past. Spain's history demonstrates so much - religious tolerance and intolerance, fanaticism and liberality, political ideology taken to extremes, our capacity for evil and for good.
 

Rachael

I love to laugh.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: March-April (2013)
Vezelay to Le Puy, Via Podensis, Camino Frances (March-June 2015)
#20
On Easter Sunday in 2013 I walked out of Pension Sarasate in Pamplona directly into the rally for Aberri Eguna (which is held on the Paseo de Sarasate). I HAD been heading for the Cathedral, but decided to stay and listen, since I have only a layperson's understanding of the different flavors of Basque nationalism.

Afterwards, I was privileged to be temporarily "adopted" by some rallygoers for lunch, and spent most of my time listening to the conversation (which of course, was mostly political). Several of them were kind enough to speak English for some of it, and to translate for me whenever somebody spoke Euskara. It was one of those experiences I never expected to have when I decided to walk the Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to SdC 2012
Irun to Fisterra 2013
Shikoku 2015
CP 2016
#21
(If anyone wants an insight into the past you could read 'The Return' by Victoria Hislop)
A very similar and also compelling story that deals with the Basque culture during the horrors committed by Franco in 1937 is "Guernica: A Novel" by Dave Boling. You will fall in love with these people and have trouble reading about their fate, in part because your vision is blurred by tears.
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
#26
For the better part of my professional life I was a military/political analyst. One of my most treasured credentials was that of a Research Analyst at the National Archives. I was aware of the access granted to US holdings, but was pleasantly surprised when other countries recognized the credential. Consequently I spent a significant amount of time "in the stacks" and in areas not often open to the public. Included in that number was the "Lahore (Pakistan) Fort where many prisoners (from the time of the Raj to the present) were severely mistreated, the Dachau Concentration camp (where I spent nearly two hours huddled in the corner of a small cell), the Evin Prison in Teheran where many intellectual, political and US Embassy personal were held prior to and following the fall of the US Embassy. Is this the whole of my experience as a researcher? Absolutely not! I spent hours in the rooms "below" the main halls of Versailles where the rough folks provided for those above. The home and gardens of Admiral Yi in South Korea are both majestic and pleasing to the eye, just to name a few. My point is just this...in almost every case where the most inexplicable happened, often the best a country has to offer "today" is far richer once one steps from the darkness and into the light.
 
#28
My favorite color!
Having ginger hair meant that the first few years enduring the seemingly mandatory abuse. I don't have to put up with this any more, but I must confess I miss it and would have happily swapped mine for Kanga's. However, seeing as you have obvious great taste and an eye for the finer things in life (like all pilgrims) I will reappraise my viewpoint. :)
 

Rachael

I love to laugh.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: March-April (2013)
Vezelay to Le Puy, Via Podensis, Camino Frances (March-June 2015)
#29
My hair is now salt and pepper, although when I was younger I was very fond of coloring it shades that are usually found in crayons and plant life. ;-)

So I'm a wee bit biased towards grey.
 

Raggy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Almeria Mozarabic (2017)
#30
And I thought this would be about the national team's performance in Russia.
Hehe
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#31
Regarding the Parador in Leon.

Not sure what I think about this, it raises a lot of questions at many levels.

Interesting though...



http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/spanish-hotel-s-sinister-past-shocks-guest-1.1865079
The Spanish Riding School in Vienna was used to house Austrian Jews on the way to the Camps - people still go there to see the horses. The Tower of London was used for everything from regicide to the execution of spies and traitors - tourist flock to view the Crown Jewels.
It's called "History". Europe has more than its fair share I'm afraid.
 
#32
I do not want to lock this thread or delete posts but remember this forum is dedicated to the Caminos and we have a rule prohibiting political posts.

2) No discussions on religion, bull fights , sports and politics. These topics "always" end in a fight, so let's not go there. It is true that the Camino and religion is closely related, so some leeway will be given.

Perhaps people wishing to further their discussion about topics not concerning the Caminos can find an alternative forum for this?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#33
I doubt most pilgrims would be any more 'shocked' by the Parador's history than by anything else that's happened along the way. Which has been quite a lot, and in countless places, starting with the bashed-in heads of our prehistoric ancestors in Atapuerca and ending in whatever has happened up and down the Camino in the 20th Century. History is always full of complication - that's what it is, mostly - the chronicle of such things.

It would be horrifying if the sinister events the article refers to were actually unfolding now in the Parador, with guests in the hotel, but of course that's not happening. And knowing the whole three-dimensional history of such a place only deepens the appreciation of it, which presumably is why the plaques are there.
Some people have thinner skins than others - or maybe the article was written as click bait.
 
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#35
I am currently reading Ghosts of Spain for the second time, and I see oh so clearly how it is that we on the forum, just like the Spanish people, sometimes have a hard time distinguishing politics from history. But knowing more of those historical facts and trying to weed out the politics, can only make a camino richer, at least if a part of your hope for your camino is to connect with the country where you are walking. I have learned a lot from others here who have pointed me towards history when I was veering off into politics. And it has enriched my camino in so many ways, modern history, medieval history, ancient history, I am not very good at keeping it in my brain, but it is wonderful to be able to understand the many memorials, monuments, and historical markers I walk by and have a basic idea of what they are talking about.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#36
I am thinking of the famous Roman gold mine Las Medulas on the Invierno and the relatevely unknown A Freita on the Primitivo. How many people died working there? Many of them brought forced from what is now Morocco.
 

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