A Spanish reader writes:
Like America, Spain today is plagued by populism, economic stagnation, social decadence, and rancor resulting from the erasure of history via the removal of historical monuments. Spain is also plagued by Catalan and Basque separatism. Basque separatism especially has reached a fever pitch.
In light of all this, José Utrera Molina, a former minister of the Franco regime, recently penned an op-ed for the newspaper ABC. I found it so moving and so applicable to America that I thought I would translate it and post the translation here. Here it is:
“ABC has always been kind enough to print my thoughts. I am close to turning 90 years old, and I have been a witness to the complex and difficult vicissitudes of the life of Spain. When our civil war began, I was only ten years old, but I can say without a shadow of pedantry that those scandalously painful early years left their mark on my heart, which had not yet known terror. I would often hang out with older boys, and four of them died heroically on the front. I have not forgotten them, but those deaths and that fratricidal furor left an indelible mark on my soul. In my own family, brothers fought on opposing sides. I have always honored the memory of both of these pain-stricken parts of my family. I was part of (and this I neither forget nor regret) the Falangist organizations that spoke of fatherland, bread, and justice. I intimately knew the dramas of both Spains, and, in my early speeches, I never expressed hatred or anger. During my years as the Civil Governor of Ciudad Real, of Burgos, and of Sevilla, I became deeply familiar with the structure of the regime in which I had the honor of serving Spain.
“I always advocated reconciliation. I said that I longed for the day in which those who killed and those who suffered could embrace one another. The transition to democracy had a positive effect on Spanish life. At the very least, those who carried out the transition had a noble intention: completing the reconciliation that had in fact already reached the hearts of most Spaniards.
“I still follow Spanish politics. I try to find in hope the antidote to despair. I do not want to think about the consequences that could result if we once again allow our fatherland to be steeped in the hatred that shattered the soul of the Spanish people eighty years ago. But I can’t help but worry about the emergence of alarming symptoms that take me back to the suffering of a lost childhood and that pierce my soul like a lance. Might we really re-embrace a Cainite spirit? Might the flags of hatred and anger fly over Spanish soil? Might we Spaniards fail to resolve our differences peacefully, so as to avoid the terrible consequences of a new Popular Front, which, under the guise of progress, advocates the liquidation of the essence of Spain, of her Armed Forces, of her traditions, and of the flags that built our horizon of concord and peace?
“There is still time to avoid the tragedy of the definitive liquidation of the essence of Spain; it is still possible to avoid her definitive rupture; it is still possible to impede the tears that lurk to spring from our retina and break our heart.
“Being near 90 years old, there is nothing I can do, but given my proximity to a logical end that does not frighten me, I must proclaim my profound preoccupation at the dangerous abyss that seems to be on the horizon of my fatherland. I would prefer to die a thousand times rather than witness what Spain might turn into as a result of the terrible bullying of those who have not understood her and the incompetence of those who have not defended her. Some Spaniards, before I, predicted the decadence that now surrounds us. But still I embrace the will of God, who cannot leave Spain deserted.”