“Who controls the present controls the past and who controls the past will control the future” – George Orwell

On 14 July 1986, the terrorist group ETA detonated a car bomb in the Plaza de la República Dominicana in Madrid, an attack that targeted a convoy of young Civil Guard officers studying at a traffic school where 12 of them died and another 60 civilians and officers were injured in addition to the damage caused to all the urban real estate and houses that were affected by the effect of the shrapnel and the shock wave. This would be another of the many attacks that the terrorist group would claim for itself until the end of its armed militancy, as political militancy, at least for the time being, is still far from over.

The Guardia Civil bus after the explosion. EFE

The Guardia Civil bus after the explosion. EFE

On Friday 15 July this year, the Constitutional Commission of the Congress of Deputies said “Aye” and the so-called Law of Democratic Memory was approved in the Congress of Deputies and what should have been an anniversary in memory of the agents of the authority and civilians who were cowardly murdered, by means of something as minimal as a minute’s silence, turned, to our shame and dishonour, into an insult to their memory and to those who have died at the hands of the terrorists.

To make matters worse, the political militancy of this terrorist group, which is now known as BILDU, within the Congress of Deputies and which today co-governs with the current president of the government, who repeatedly assured that he would not govern with them, has given them carte blanche to decide what should be legal and what should be illegal historically. The equivalent of such a repudiatory act on the part of the Spanish Premier would be like putting an arsonist in charge of a fire station or a paedophile in charge of young children in an orphanage (something  that they have done in some places, but  that is another story). Although President Sánchez is not the intellectual author of such barbarity, he is largely responsible for allowing such brazenness and disrespect towards those who lost a family member at the hands of the terrorist group ETA, because within his powers as head of state, the government could suspend the vote on any law that goes against the state or its citizens.

How much more a law where the same people who a little more than a decade ago, in 2009, committed their last murderous attack are the same people who will now decide that the murders they themselves carried out cannot be considered as such and that, perhaps, the murderers would be considered “heroes who fought the dictatorship”. If you had asked any Spaniard on the street a few decades ago whether they would believe that ETA would one day co-govern the same country where back then they were blowing up car bombs and murdering at gunpoint those they considered a target, the answer would have resounded loudly and in unison: “NO”; but it is the year 2022 and to the bad luck of the citizens it has to be witnessed with impatience that those who killed one day have the right to say that the anti-democrats will be those who do not share their ideas and submissively obey their laws passed against the collective of Spaniards.

Mertxe Aizpurua (BILDU spokesperson) and Arnaldo Otegi (ETA terrorist), at a press conference in San Sebastian. EFE

Mertxe Aizpurua (BILDU spokesperson) and Arnaldo Otegi (ETA terrorist), at a press conference in San Sebastian. EFE

Among the aspects to be considered are the “nullity of the resolutions of the Franco regime’s courts” and the “unlawfulness of Francoism”; but at the same time questions arise such as: “is there anyone in Spain who is unaware that there was a period of dictatorship?” Or perhaps someone is unaware that during the Second Republic murders were committed, just as during the dictatorship, against those who did not fully agree with the Republican government? Or perhaps there were outrages committed by both sides during the civil war? Far from looking to a future for later generations where situations like those that led to the Spanish Civil War are avoided as far as possible, it seems that the government is does not only avoid doing the former, but also insists on deepening even more wounds that are not is its interest to heal for the unification of the Spanish people and the future of those who will succeed us.

The cherry on this nauseating cake is to grant full rights so that those who, through acts of terrorism, could not bend the will of the people, will do so by means of laws that will not only end up fracturing society almost in its entirety, but which are more typical of what they themselves claim to be against: dictatorships. Francoism was undoubtedly a dictatorship, but they were at least certain that this was their form of government. Today they allow themselves to pass laws that are not made available to the public for approval by referendum or vote, but are passed with their backs to the electorate in order to accuse those who dare to oppose them of being illegal or illegitimate, just as dictators do. Perhaps we are facing a new form of dictatorship without the need (yet) for a firing squad or persecution of dissidents, but someone who has researched and delved into history and who can refute with evidence, which is not difficult, or someone who simply thinks differently and cannot say so because they are incurring an “illegality” according to the new law, cannot be anything other than persecuted.

George Orwell expressed it perfectly with his mythical phrase which would undoubtedly mean that the future of the nation, at least for the time being, is in the hands of terrorists. May God grant us that as a society it is not too late as there is no turning back.

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