“You cant airbrush history. Everyone should have their say…” There is a monument in the Sa Faxina Park in Palma to the crew of the Spanish navy cruiser, Baleares, which was sunk by Republican forces during the Spanish Civil war. Part of the money for the monument was raised by people in the nearby district of Santa Catalina. It is probably one of the biggest Franco-era monuments in Palma.
There has been a long debate over whether it should be demolished because it obviously has links to the years of dictatorship. But the issue has been quietly forgotten because everyone has come to the conclusion, however difficult, that you can’t airbrush history. A similar debate is now happening in Britain. Statues and plaques are all in the spotlight. It does seems amazing that some controversial figures from history had statues erected in the first place but that it is the case. Some do need to be removed and airbrushed from history. Others don’t. But what is needed is a good open debate taking into account the opinions of all.
What can’t happen is that statues are just pulled down in protests and demonstrations. This is not democracy. This is mob rule at its worst. Winston Churchill has been called a racist and even his statue has been in the spotlight. The great wartime leader would not have approved of the mob rule in Britain. His courage directly led to the free speech we now enjoy. But as he would have said, it is free speech for all. Spain and Britain have a long history which can’t simply be airbrushed away, everyone should have their say. That is democracy and something we should cherish.