La Línea staged an exhibition of 50 photographs of La Línea and Gibraltar that immortalise the closure of the Border and the ensuing drama that it caused to people on both sides.
“History repeats itself. That is one of the errors of history” (Charles Darwin).
This is precisely what the City of La Línea hopes to avoid with these events designed to commemorate, not celebrate, the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Frontier.
“We do not intend to delve into the pain but to pay an emotional tribute to that generation of people from La Línea and Gibraltar, to perpetuate the memory, and to raise awareness so that, whatever the circumstances, events like these never happen again.” This is the message the Town Council of La Línea stresses.
The frontier closed on the 8th August 1969, a date that neither La Linea nor Gibraltar can or should forget; a date that meant a before and after for both populations.
“50 y que no se repita” (50 and let it not be repeated) is the motto chosen for these activities, which include the website 50yquenoserepita.com and a page on Facebook.
One of them is a photographic exhibition that will not leave anyone indifferent. And that is the goal. “50 años: muchas historias que contar” (50 years: many stories to tell) is an exhibition of 25 photographs taken at that time from La Linea, and another 25 taken from Gibraltar. After each snapshot there is a story, small bites of reality in which the protagonists’ strength and desire to improve are also notable.
The exhibition, which can be found in front of the Museo del Istmo, in the Plaza de la Constitución of La Línea, has emerged from a much more ambitious project.
The “50 años: muchas historias que contar” is the platform by which the Council, through the website created for this commemoration and its Facebook page, is compiling images, anecdotes, and heart-breaking family stories of those years.
The purpose is to compile the legacy that does not appear in the history books.
The photographs were taken and contributed by people from both sides of the Border as well as provided by the optician Luis Javier Traverso from La Línea, creator of the website “La Línea en Blanco y Negro” (La Línea in black and white), and the Gibraltarian historian Tito Vallejo, make up an exhibition that you should visit.
The exhibition will end on 8th June. It will be on display in several institutes, finishing at The Frontier, where it will remain for several weeks. An exhibition in Gibraltar has not been ruled out.
“The most traumatic event for both communities”
The Mayor of La Línea maintains that the closure of the frontier was the “most traumatic” event experienced by the people of La Línea and Gibraltar and insists that La Línea has still not yet recovered: “We are still paying the consequences”.
Juan Franco also highlighted the need to remind those who advocate the closure of the frontier, “a folly and true madness”, in allusion to the statements made by VOX. “We want to create a collective memory of that terrible and unfortunate event,” he says.
“I have grown up knowing what happened. It was sad.”
The Mayor of Gibraltar attended the opening of the exhibition. “I wasn’t born then, but it is as if I had lived through those years. Family and friends relive those moments, which were very hard, and always mention them. I have grown up knowing what happened and it was very sad,” she said.
In her speech, Aldorino expressed her wish that the relations between people from La Línea and Gibraltarians be properly maintained:
“I hope that we continue to enjoy our relationships and our cultures, mixing them for many more years.”
Note: The exhibition is open until the end of February, in front of the Museo del Istmo of La Línea, in the Plaza de la Constitución.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 20:00.