Everyone has a story.

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This morning we met with Elena Díaz of the Sociedad Estatal de Conmemoraciones Culturales (State Society of Cultural Commemorations). This agency works to create cultural exhibitions and events with the goal of commemoration. Today we spoke with her to learn about the recent and past exhibitions her office  has produced related to the Spanish Civil War.

Ms. Díaz stressed to us the importance of preserving and recovering historical memory and thus this facet of the Law of Historical Memory which we have learned already in Madrid from several sources, that this is a very controversial subject in the present. A 2008 exhibition, ¨En Transición,¨covers the time period following Franco´s death when Spain was in a period of transition between dictatorship and democracy. This summer while I studied abroad through the William and Mary program in Cádiz, Spain, I was able to visit this exhibition while it was showing there. Through cultural and political artifacts, art, film and music, the interactive exhibition  created an atmosphere appealing to a spectrum of visitors. My previous knowledge of the effectiveness of this exhibition, in addition to Ms. Díaz´s enthusiasm and passion for her work, led me to see the exhibition as an exciting vehicle through which to educate and commemorate.

During our meeting, Ms. Díaz emphasized how the war touches everyone. She told us that her father was 9 or 10 years old during the war and one day while he was alone with two younger siblings, one of whom was an infant, a bomb hit their house. The youngster had to get himself and his two siblings to safety underground. Such a profound story was one we did not even expect to hear from our interviewee, but it led me to see that even those without direct ties to the fallen of the war have some connection to some hardship and in this case incredible bravery in response to the insufferable time of the civil war and repression. While the SECC focuses on much more than the civil war, Elena Díaz´s personal link to its significance through her father, seems only to feed her passion for these projects.

One response to “Everyone has a story.”

  1. nphoba says:

    Through her work, Elena Diaz helps to commemorate the Spanish Civil War and also exile from Spain under Franco. This will definitely help people confront this part of their lives, but there is of course more to be done to begin to find closure. One reason so many people are suffering with the idea of closure now is because of something that Sra. Diaz mentioned briefly: all those who are responsible are dead. Who are you supposed to punish? Who are you supposed to blame? It’s possible that grasping and confronting a situation such as this would be easier with a definite figure to blame (apart from Franco, perhaps). Diaz also said that families of those responsible want nothing to do with the theme of memory and its recuperation, so those affected by Franco continue searching.