lunes, 6 de junio de 2011

Brilliant article about Spanish Royal Academy of History polemic

I couldn't agree more with this article published on Guardian Online... Find some quotes here:


It is the real thing, the royal thing, the actual academy founded in the 18th century to bring the Enlightenment to Spain, and apparently still failing to do so 300 years later.

But surely history is about different opinions, isn't it? Shouldn't we respect this view as valid as any other? Didn't the postmodernists teach us that history is anybody's guess?
No, I'm afraid. History is based on the free discussion of different points of view, but once a reasonable consensus is reached on a topic, those who insist, for example, that Napoleon was a humble man who hated violence are not taken seriously and never make it into a mainstream reference work.

Whatever you think about the past, at least it has the advantage that is gone for ever. The problem is what this dictionary tells us about our present.
It tells us of a Spanish right wing that has been able to embrace democracy but still rejects its memory, preferring that of a fascist regime responsible for a horrible war and years of repression.

Whatever the reasons, José María Aznar's eight years as prime minister between 1996 and 2004 were a great opportunity for his Popular party (PP) to distance itself from its slightly Francoist origins. But the opposite happened: it chose to legitimise Francoism instead.
It was Aznar, in fact, who commissioned the Spanish Dictionary of Biography from the Royal Academy of History. Like a sleeping dragon it has made it through eight years of socialist rule, just in time to wake up for the next PP government, if the polls are correct. As they say: You never know what past awaits you in the future.

Miguel-Anxo Murado, Guardian 2 June 2011