Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spanish Civil War

Españolito que vienes
al mundo te guarde Dios.
Una de las dos Españas
ha de helarte el corazón.

-Antonio Machado

This beautiful and sad poem (that is, this second half of it which I intend to address) was written by Antonio Machado regarding the state of Spain in the early 20th Century. My rough translation:

Baby Spaniard who is coming
to the world, God keep you.
One of the two Spains
will surely freeze your heart.

History lesson! Learning from the past! Or something!


We went over this poem and discussed it (in Spanish of course) in my Spanish Civilizations class today, and it struck me in a way that few poems have. It reminded me a little of a previous post or two that I have written here, and inspired this one.


Here’s the crazy thing about the Spanish Civil War. It started out the same way most political conflicts do: on accident. Spain had already lost imperial status, and moved on to having regular elections. In 1931 the Republicanos won the elections and started to reform the country doing terribly radical and progressive things: allowing women to vote, removing the Catholic Church as the official religion of the country, allowing divorce, and other modern movements of the day.

In 1934 the Nacionales won the elections, and began abolishing the progressive Constitution put in place 3 years early. They demanded the Catholic Church be reinstated as the official religion, and started making other changes.

In 1936, the Republicanos won again, officially upsetting the Nacionales, and a coup-de-tat was planned. The coup was staged in July of that year.

The Nacionales staged a terrible war and even went so far as to allow their German and Italian allies to test weaponry on a fringe city in Spain, as portrayed by Picasso.

I don't have anything witty to say about Guernica

The Spanish Civil War killed hundreds of thousands in the three years before the Nacionales won and put a General in as their dictator (who was apparently so annoying and meticulous that Hitler only visited him once).

Now, you’re sitting there staring at your screen thinking, “What on earth does this have to do with anything, Brooke?” Aha! Here’s where I come in.

The Nacionales sound like the evil people here, and the Republicanos are the good, right? Well, the Nacionales were Conservatives, and the Republicanos were Liberals. Sounds like a win-win! Okay, kidding. The thing here is, there was a little good and bad on both sides, (although in this case the Conservatives were just a little worse). If you ask me, liberals aren’t as bad as conservatives make them out to be, and the same goes for conservatives. In this case, the Conservatives are actually Fascists and the Liberals are actually Socialists.

They don't take well to the middle in Spain...

Each side has their own individual thoughts and ideologies, and if you ask me, no one is right. I don’t have great ideas either, but I am begging, especially with the upcoming elections that we here at Expert Textperts have brought up so frequently - don’t judge the other side for what they believe to be right! Maybe just listen instead, and if you disagree, thank them for their time and walk away instead of arguing a point that will only burn a bridge.

If you read the history of the Spanish Civil war the way I intended you to read it, you thought the Republicanos were pretty great. The majority of their foreign support came from the Soviet Union. They were Socialists, Communists and Anarchists with the goal of progression and modernization in Spain.

Yes. Yes it is.

I want my country to progress too. I want it to be concerned with the needs of the individual. But most of all, I want it to promote the commonalities between us, and not the differences.

In the poem by Machado I included at the beginning, the two Spains are fighting each other (and now you know why!), and because the fighting continues, one of the two Spains (or USAs) will take away the feeling of anyone born in that country. "one of the two Spains / will surely freeze your heart."

So the point of all this?

Just remember next time you have an idea you think is too good not to be loved by all...
“Ideology, like halitosis, is... what the other person has.” - Terry Eagleton

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