Saturday, May 22, 2010

BARBARA PROBST SOLOMON is also clueless about the complexities surrounding judge Garzón's suspension. Not just because of what I wrote a few days ago, that the Spanish amnesty after Franco's dictatorship ended was passed as a demand from the left, not the right. It's also because of her comparison between the Nazis and the Franco regime which, although apparently easy and obvious, is silly. Not that they weren't both abhorrent, mind you; don't get me wrong. But there's a key difference in way they both ended that breaks any parallels on how to deal with them after their demise.

The Nazi regime was brought to an end after a brutal war that totally crushed it; there were many remaining Nazi rulers that had to be dealt with afterwards. In contrast, the Francoist regime finished when the dictator died in his bed peacefully, with only a handful of people actively figting against it (as in post-WW2 France, where it seems no one was supporting Vichy, in Spain it's as if everybody were fighting against Franco. Only a few did). Many key figures in the Franco regime had been working on a democratization scenario for many years, realizing that it wouldn't survive Franco (many of them were parents of prominent Socialist figures, by the way; the same figures who are now pushing for indicting the regime). If those figures hadn't been demolishing the regime from within, Spain's transition to democracy wouldn't have been as easy, as fast, or as exemplary as it was. Nor it would have been, conversely, if figures outside the regime, in the then-outlawed opposition (particularly the Communist Party led by Santiago Carrillo) hadn't pushed for reconciliation and for putting the bad things behind in order to make a fresh start. The amnesty was what gave form to that reconciliation. Getting rid of it is a way of refighting a war that ended more than 70 years ago. Of trying to retroactively win a war they say they lost -- even though, as I wrote above, many are the children or grandchildren of powerful officials of the Franco regime.