“If the PP wins with Vox it will be horrendous, are they going to replace Franco in the Valley of the Fallen?” | The USA Print

"If the PP wins with Vox it will be horrendous, are they going to replace Franco in the Valley of the Fallen?"

The moon came to the forge / with her spikenard bustle./ The child looks at her mira./ The boy is looking at her… The verses of the “Romance of the Moon” changed the life of a young Irishman who was captivated by the scenes and musicality of Federico García Lorca’s poetry. “He hardly knew Spanish, nor what a spikenard was, because in Ireland there was none,” confesses Ian Gibson, to whom, according to his own comments, Lorca saved his life.

The biograde of figures like Lorca, Dalí or Machado is now publishing his memoirs and taking out the ghosts that have always accompanied him, a bitter mother, a self-conscious father, or the repression of the Methodist faith that still makes him hate Sundays. A religious current within Protestantism “a sect”, according to Gibson, which made him a minority within a minority in Catholic Dublin. The historian was fascinated by Lorca and his tragedy and by a Spain that, although it was also ultra-Catholic, had “Farias and wine.” Gibson attends Vozpópuli at the Hotel de las Letras in Madrid to present A Carmen in Granada. Memoirs of a Dublin Hispanist with which he has won the XXXV Comillas Award.

Ask. His book is a biography of a biographer, can you be objective when writing about yourself?

Answer. You can try to tell the truth. I don’t tell all the truths, but I try to be honest and honest in my work, without hiding my shame, my obsession with my mother… Without hiding this. And aware that to a certain extent I am betraying my own family by telling these miseries.

Q. You talk about a bitter mother, a father with a complex, a context of being a Protestant minority in Catholic Dublin, religious repression itself. What marks you the most about this whole atmosphere?

R. The church, the temple where we went was the most gloomy and depressing thing in the world. It keeps getting me down on Sunday. I hate Sunday. Spanish Sunday has drinks and has more light and such. But our Protestant Sunday was terrible. You can’t work by the Bible, but the Methodists were more than the Bible and you couldn’t have a good time either. It was terrifying. It was awful. And year after year, that has profoundly influenced me. And my need to escape, to free myself… It was a reclusive sect. They were good people. They weren’t to blame. They were born like this. In a minority, within a minority. Because the metrodista minority was 0.9% of the percentage of the national population.

Q. After this tough adolescence, you arrived later in Franco’s Spain in the fifties, an ultra-Catholic country.

R. Yes, but with fairs and wine. (laughs)

Q. Of that Spain of the mid-fifties, is there anything left in today’s Spain?

R. Francoism is there, genes are genes, and 40 years is 40 years. Years and years of fear to tell the truth. Fear of revealing, fear of talking about grandfather. All this stays there somehow. People who go at the age of 80 to finally see the remains of a relative, reconcile, and finally go to die peacefully. Because one of the big lies of the current right is that they say that wounds should not be reopened, they say it over and over again: ‘Nothing from historical memory because that is reopening wounds’, but those wounds have not closed. They cannot be closed when you have your grandfather buried with a dog in a ravine or in a common grave. That is why I got very angry with Pablo Casado when he said that ‘he was up to this point talking about his grandfather’s grave’.

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Q. Do you think Feijóo is more open in that sense?

R. Feijóo has me also anguished because I think so, that deep down he is a moderate man. But of course, he is there with the Vox problem. The PP without Vox may not win the elections and he is in this trance, he is sometimes seen hesitating and does not know what to do, the same as with our boss here (Isabel Díaz Ayuso). There are different components in all this but I see Feijóo a little unsure of himself and I understand it, it is a very difficult moment for the PP, it is very difficult for him. I don’t know exactly who he is.

Q. According to all the surveys, it is most likely that within a year the PP and Vox will be governing in Spain, what do you expect from that hypothetical government?

R. If he wins PP with Vox it will be horrendous, because are they going to replace Franco in the Valley of the Fallen? Historical memory what? All of this makes me very sad and other things, such as having the Bourbons here again, I want a federal Iberian republic.

Q. Going back to your origins in Spain, you go so far as to say that after this painful childhood, Lorca saves your life.

R. Yes, Lorca saved my life, because I discovered in him my vocation as an investigator, a bit of a detective, especially because of the theme of his work: empathy with those who suffer, with women, with those who cannot live his life… When I found the Gypsy romanceabove all, the “Romance de la Luna” at 18 years old, knowing hardly anything about the language, only speaking French, it was like a shock, it was a tremendous thing and suddenly I felt a chill as if I had found something vital in me. life and it turned out to be so.

Q. He was murdered at the age of 38, what would have stopped us from having a fairly normal longevity?

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R. I think a lot about what he had planned that summer of 1936 when he goes to Granada, he is going to say goodbye to his family because he is going to Mexico and he already has the ticket. He had the project to go to Mexico, to return for the autumn season here, where he had not yet settled. Doña Rosita the spinster which for me is his masterpiece and most Granada. They were going to put Mrs. Rosita Here, at the Teatro Español, I was going to publish Poeta Nueva York, I was going to publish a book of sonnets… I had many projects, I had many ideas, it was a constant effervescence. Everything he did he did in 20 years, he started writing in the year 16, they kill him in the year 36. It would have been anything, he would have been a Nobel Prize winner, it would have been even bigger.

Q. The other big issue regarding Lorca is the exhumation, do you think we will see it in the next 20 years?

R. I have to believe it because if I don’t I’ll die of grief. They haven’t searched for it quite well, they would have to make another attempt but the family hasn’t helped either. Just by saying: ‘we never take out the rest’ they would help us.

Q. What is the biggest reproach that you can make to the family?

R. This is the main one, not having said as a family that they have not touched the remains. This would already be a relief because many of us have been searching for years and years and people want to go and leave flowers on the site. He is the national poet of Spain, whether they like it or not, how can the national poet be a red fagot? I think that if we discovered the rest it would also be a reconciliation, it would be the way to recognize how it was and accept that it was terrible. There was brutality on both sides, obviously, but we are going to know the truth because as the Bible says: ‘you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.’

Q. You mentioned grief, and in these years of the Civil War I can’t think of a sadder passage than the end of Machado and his mother fleeing to France. You defend that the poet’s body be kept in Collioure.

R. It is the great symbol of exile and I think it is good that people go and see that beautiful cemetery and the hotel where he lived. In addition, the French are aware of the cruelty shown towards the exiles in the concentration camps. And Machado is there among them as a French teacher, resting there next to his mother, visited by people from all over the world who love his poetry. Besides, where are you going to put him here?

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P. Lorca, Machado, Picasso, Dalí, Buñuel were born in the span of some 25 or 30 years that he spent in that Spain.

R. This happens in all cultures, there are moments of flowering, a generation of brilliant people. All this has to do with the above with the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. Then the student residence is a miracle, it is one of the most cultured places in Europe, in contact with Paris, in contact with the world. The people who come to give lectures: Einstein, Curie… It’s fabulous, I would have liked to live in Madrid in the 20s

Q. Of the four greats that you have worked on the most: Lorca, Dalí, Machado and Buñuel, do you stay with Lorca as an artist?

R. Yes, yes, as an artist and a human being. I don’t know of any human being, perhaps Leonardo da Vinci, who was born with so many gifts: he has the humanity of Machado, he has the gift of music, the gift of drawing, the gift of poetry, the gift of theater, the sympathy… And then it turns out that you are gay and you cannot live your life, how can you not identify with a man like that?

I think that Spanish, in general, is open and progressive, quite progressive.

Q. You say that in the 1990s you suffered great political pressure, for example from the newspaper ABC. You mention that at some point the one who was your director Luis María Anson went to greet you and you rejected the greeting. Would you shake your hand now?

R. Yes, I was thinking about it the other day, because I really like the idea of ​​forgiving, because the truth is that they said vile things about me in relation to the British television series that I presented.

Q. You mention that at that time a man came to spit in your face. Compared to the current situation, where there is also much talk of political polarization, do you think we are better or worse than in the 90s?

R. I want to believe that we are better, I want to believe that the people, that the people in general are not like what we see in Congress, that there is more understanding of the other. I think the fact of being in Europe is essential. Against is the mobile phone with the ‘fake news’ and young people seeing all this every day. But I think that Spanish, in general, is open and progressive, quite progressive. Even in the PP there are moderate people, we don’t hear them often, but there are moderate people. There has to be a moderate right capable of dialogue.

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