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El Foro por La Memoria Vindicates the ‘Defeated’ of 1939

Rosario Pérez · Photos: Fran Montes

El Foro por La Memoria Vindicates the ‘Defeated’ of 1939

“The exile following the Civil War caused an intellectual, moral, social and political decline throughout Spanish society”

‘El Foro por la Memoria’ honoured the ‘defeated of 1939’ with the publication of “Cuatro Esquinas” (Four Corners) as part of the San Roque Summer Courses, and the screening of a new documentary in La Línea.

“It is impossible to build a solid present without the adequate recovery of the past.” This phrase was emphasized by José Luis Mora, emeritus professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid and expert in ‘History of Spanish and Iberoamericana Thought’.

El Foro por La Memoria San Roque

The seminar was held in San Roque and was entitled “The exiles of ‘39. Memories against oblivion,”.It summarised the ceaseless efforts of the Campo de Gibraltar’s Foro por la Memoria.

This summer, the forum focused a large part of its efforts to remember the people who went into exiles and encouraged reflection on one of the longest-standing consequences of the Spanish Civil War.

These consequences saw an overreaching downfall of education, morality, society and politics – as seen in many cases of war – due to the flight of many Spanish intellectuals.

“Another type of exile should be added to the list; one that is not yet sufficiently recognised, such as the one the Algecirean writer, José Luis Cano, had to learn to live with throughout his life. It is more subtle but no less painful.”

El Foro por La Memoria San Roque

Cano was also mentioned by Silvia Gallego Serrano, professor of Hispanic Philology and Theory of Literature from the University of Granada. During the lecture, while the writer and journalist Juan José Téllez did the same with the tale of another illustrious exile, the Algecirean philosopher Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez.

In the words of José Luis Mora, “every exiled person has their own unique and personal story, but at the same time, they usually share common chapters throughout the evolution of history that speaks of hunger, calamities and hardships along the way, yearnings that never wither and memories of unforgettable experiences that remain burnt into their memory, such as injustices witnessed, or the destruction of their own home.”

For Juan Léon Moriche, an advocate for El Foro por la Memoria , initiatives such as this summer course, as well as the monthly magazine ‘Cuatro Esquinas’, which has just been launched in collaboration with the Government of Gibraltar – featuring a report on another “exodus”, the one provoked by the closing of The Frontier in 1969 – and the screening of the new documentary, ‘The Longest Night’, in La Línea in August, “are necessary to understand our recent history a little better, so that new generations understand what happened during those terrible years, and so that it will never be repeated.”

They will be able to put faces, names and surnames to these stories. For example, Antonio Tocón: a retired schoolteacher who was born in a French town in the Midi-Pyrénées, where his family had taken refuge after fleeing from the Malaga municipality of Casares. They managed to reach Castres, enduring all types of hardships along the way.

El Foro por La Memoria San Roque

One of many wandering families throughout this “Spanish pilgrimage” to which José Bergamín once referred to, and about which Ivan López Cabello (professor at the University of Bretagne Occidentale, doctor of Language and Literature at the Université Paris-Nanterre, and member of the research centre Héritage et Construction dans le Texte et L’Image) spoke about this summer, inviting people to reflect on the destiny of so many intellectuals “defeated, exiled and brushed aside in Franco’s Spain” through his writings.

Exiled figures who, in the words of his colleague, Francie Cate-Arries (professor of Modern Languages and Literatures at the William & Mary University in Virginia, USA), “move among the ruins of barbed wire,” but who always raised their voice “in the name of human dignity, social justice and constitutional rights, committed to protecting their legacy for future generations.”

El Foro por La Memoria Vindicates the ‘Defeated’ of 1939

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