By Tyler Goldberger

This past week, Spain screamed. Depending on who you were and how you align politically, this scream represented anger and frustration or hope and renewal. On Friday, June 1, conservative Mariana Rajoy was ousted as president of the government and replaced with socialist Pedro Sánchez. In a country filled with many traditionalists, protests filled the streets in denial that their beliefs had been overshadowed. In a country filled, too, with many progressives, crowds surrounded Congress to welcome in a new political voice. While I cannot claim to be an expert of Spanish politics, I can claim to be a fervent fighter on behalf of victims of represión franquista and the Spanish Civil War. This transition favored those victims, as the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has been the only party to financially support the efforts of the Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Históricato recover the bodies of those who suffered at the hands of Franquismo.For this victory for human rights and human dignity, I say the name of a victim to humanize their life and their identity.

Carlos Garzón Merayo

I have finally been able to obtain appointments at several archival sites all throughout Madrid. This unfamiliar system has challenged me and my Spanish capabilities to ensure that I am understanding all of the rules and regulations that come along with each new investigation site. When arriving in Madrid for the start of my summer, I was still questioning what exactly I wanted to concentrate my time on and how I could utilize my time efficiently and effectively. After searching through many archival catalogs and attending various lectures, I am eager to be one of the first to take a comprehensive look at historical memory in León, a place scattered with mass graves and Franco symbolism today. When beginning my research at the Biblioteca Nacional de España, I met Juan García Arias, the last republican mayor of Ponferrada, a pueblitoin León, before the coup d’état on July 18, 1936. It only took twelve days for the overpowering Nationalist forces to detain, charge, and murder him on his land. Before he was killed, he wrote one last letter to his family expressing his unwavering love for all of them. It was through his words that I was reminded of the importance of personalizing these victims, humanizing these victims, and honoring these victims through recognizing their human identities. Say them, scream them, remember them. I say the name of a victim to honor the courage and persistence in the face of terror.

Juan García Arias

Shortly after this archival day, I decided to visit the largest cemetery in Madrid, El cementerio de la Almudena. Up and down the tombstones, I attempted to find any sort of record or memory of the dead specifically impacted by the Franco regime. Upon circling the majority of the cemetery, I went back to its center to uncover two monuments that directly mentioned the consequences of the Spanish Civil War. In one way, I was amazed that these plaques of memory were placed in such a focal point of an important landmark for a country whose government will still not recognize the truth regarding the impacts of Franquismo and the many lives it took. However, I was also frustrated and dejected. While yes, these monuments represented all of the victims fallen at the hands of injustice, the visitors must do their own work to remember that these victims had names and faces and identities. Monuments that so broadly attempt to honor such a large category of victims almost always come up short in that they do not humanize what they abstractly represent. And for that, I say the name of a victim to deconstruct the large, faceless pool of victimhood and instead honor the life of a human being.

Francisco Sánchez Rodríguez

In the heart of Madrid, Plaza Mayor brings in locals and tourists alike to admire its beauty and energy. An exhibition was recently placed in this city center entitled “¡No Pasarán!” to remember the heroism and perseverance of the Republican forces when confronted by the impending Nationalists. For more than two weeks, the Republicans stood strong against their opponents and eventually pushed them back. However, this came at the cost of human lives, lives on both sides with families and loved ones. This exhibit so beautifully honored each known life lost by placing their name on a wall, reminding all the viewers that each of these people mattered. Through a compilation of oral and written testimonies, these victims were able to rest and be remembered.  I say the name of a victim to keep alive their memory long past their live and the lives of their loved ones.

 

Jesús Méndez Ricoy

And another victim . .  .

Jorge Pérez Mercadal

And another victim, which should galvanize us to act and ensure that these names become the last impacted by intolerance .  .  .

Maximino Alvarez Pascual

.  .  .

Say their names.

Scream their names.

Remember their names.