EL Mirador de la Concordia

Friday evening saw an important occasion in the village. I wrote a little while ago about the guerrilla campaign in the mountains behind Frigiliana and how it affected the village in the 1940s and 1950s. Shortly, I shall return to the theme to write about an atrocity committed in this area during the civil war, and which perhaps will explain why, on the one hand, Judge Baltasar Garzón was concerned to investigate war crimes of the period, and on the other hand, why certain right-wing groups are so keen that he should not.
But back to Friday. Three parties are represented on our ayuntamiento or council, and very rarely do they see eye to eye. Recently, however, all were in agreement for a resolution that those people of Frigiliana who lost their lives or disappeared during the civil war and the Franco dictatorship should be remembered officially. It was also agreed that all the dead and all the disappeared should be commemorated, irrespective of which side they supported or which side was responsible for their death or disappearance.
Near the centre of the village, just by the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, is a mirador or viewpoint. At seven o'clock last Friday evening the mayor and councillors, along with many of the villagers and the town band assembled at the mirador. A short, simple ceremony inaugurated it under its new identity, El Mirador de la Concordia, and the plaque shown above was unveiled. A simple but sigificant act of reconciliation.


What A Wonderful World....

....... for some of us! I guess it's the same throughout Europe, but the main concern for people over here right now is friends and family stranded by the volcanic ash. We have local friends who can't get back from the UK, and friends who have family with them who can't get back to the UK. Our own youngest daughter is wondering how on earth and when she will get back to the UK from Gambia after attending a friend;s weding there last week. Tonight I was watching BBC news on satellite and was struck by the heroic efforts made by so many people to get to Calais from quite unbelievable distances - Singapore being the most distant origin.
But something else struck me powerfully; something first raised by my brother last year when we all rushed to France to be with our youngest brother when he died after a terribly short illness. "What would our parents have thought about the fact that we just came to France at a moment's notice!" What for that matter, would they have thought of the fact that Pete had retired to France and that I and my wife had retired to Spain!
In their lifetime a holiday wa something which you took for one or two weeks in July or August each year, and that in the British Isles. The popular mode of transport was the train, and I still remember the vast crowds thronging the platform at Manchester's Exchange Station, waiting for the train to North Wales or the Lake District. Now we jet away for Easter, Christmas or New Year, a summer holiday, maybe even a city break or two.
And travellers arriving in Calais today were talking of the financial cost of getting there - often €2000 or more. OK, it's probably on a credit card and will take some time to pay off, but the line of credit was instantly there.
Despite the disruption caused by the closure of European airspace, it really is a wonderful world for the citizens of the developed world.



The Spanish word enchufe can mean either an electric plug or an electric socket. By association, it also means a connection, especially a useful personal connection which can get things done which might otherwise be tricky.
It's 35 years now since the death of Franco and there have been enormous changes, not least the successful transformation of Spain from a dictatorship to a modern, functioning democracy.But traces of the old regime still survive. And they were not happy when Spanish judge, Baltazar Garzón (the same judge who came to international attention with his indictment of Augusto Pinochet for war crimes), decided to launch an investigation into the disappearances and summary executions that occurred during the civil war and the post-war period that I wrote about recently.
In England, the Crown Prosecution Service exists to consider evidence gathered by the police and to decide whether there are grounds for a prosecution to be brought; in Spain that process is carried out by an examining judge, and is why Garzón was able to begin collecting evidence. It is also why right-wing groups who prefer to let sleeping dogs lie were able to lay charges against Garzón in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has now decided that the charges have substance, and so he has been charged with abuse of power.
The case is based on a law which was brought in in the early post-Franco days granting amnesty to those on both sides of the civil war who might otherwise face charges. Whereas South Africa set up its Truth and Reconciliation Council to bring past wrongs into the open and then move on, Spain adopted a policy of official amnesia. The civil war had pitted family members and neighbours against each other, and to probe too far into what had happened could be explosive. Thus, in opening his investigation Baltasar Garzón, it is argued, put himself in breach of this law.
In his defence, the judge argues that war crimes are specifically excluded from the possibility of amnesty under international law; this he believes overrides the relevant Spanish law, since his concern is to investigate and bring to justice those shown to have committed war crimes in the period under investigation.
If his right-wing opponents succeed with their case, then he faces up to 20 years suspension, effectively ending his judicial career and ridding Franco sympathisers of a substantial thorn in their side.

Acknowledgement: The photo above was downloaded from Google Images, and is the property of the BBC.


Out of the mouths..........

Easter Sunday or Domingo de la Resurrección, a beautiful, warm, sunny day and our eldest daughter and her family with us for the festival. Towards mid-day we set off for the square in front of the church to watch the beginning of the final procession of Holy Week, always an occasion to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Then back to our own roof terrace, as this year the procession is finishing in the yard of the old school, which is directly across from us and on the same level as the roof terrace - hence the chain-link fencing adorning the photos!
Our 4 year old granddaughter watched the whole procession, entranced like her older sister, but ever practical came up with her own suggestion for improvement! Having watched the approximately twenty men carrying the statue of Mary through the village, she commented, "They should put wheels on her. Then they wouldn't have to lift her up in their hands. They could just push her." You have to admit, she has a point.