Friday, March 18, 2005

Francisco Franco II

Should we have equestrian political leaders?

(My blogging illiteracy prevents me from having a photo and the respective text in the same post. Although I suspect that Blogger, Hello and Picasa are a bunch of inapt software non-entities, my apologies for that shortcoming)

Lots of excitement, in the media and in the calle, about the commando-like operation that removed the equestrian statue of Francisco Franco at 2 AM, yesterday, from the last square in Madrid where the Caudillo was still standing. Mercedes, my blondish acquaintance with right wing leanings, is philosophical. She knew it would be, in her words, "too much of a suculent bone to throw at the leftist masses", to be left untouched. What really gets her red-eyed and coarse-voiced in indignation is the fact it happened almost at the same time Santiago Carrillo, an historical leader of the communist Party in Spain was being happybirthdaytuyued by the "Reds and their traveling Companions", she said. I try to engage Mercedes in a little barter session. "How about a finger pointing bronze Lenin in the main square of Kaliningrad? If they remove it, would you give up Franco's statue in Santander?" She looks at me, with flaming irate blue eyes: "Are you putting Lenin and the Generalissimo in the same basket?" I calm her down by pointing to the fact that Santander cannot be compared, in historical significance, to ex-Konisberg, and in being so, my proposed deal is quite fair after all. She's not convinced. She's not keen at all on stretching her arm in fascist salute but she views Franco as History, and the removal of the statue an attempt at revisionism. I happened to have lunch yesterday at the "power table" of that unsurpassed Madrid institution, the restaurant "Jockey". Green covered tables, London club-like atmosphere, perfect langostinos and pretty reasonable cold partridge salad. My host points at the first table from the right when one enters the main area of the U-shaped dining room. Tells me of lawyers who do well under the current political colours. I wonder how they would react to the news of the removal of both horse and jockey? A discrete toast perhaps? Ordering a very old oloroso? How many decades, halfcenturies, full centuries until a political sovereign can safely rest on his bronze horse without 2 AM surprises? Is Marshal Jukov safe in the Ohotniy Ryad entrance to the Red Square? Is Theodore Roosevelt safe in the steps of a New York Museum (oops! an hero of the American-Spanish War..)? Is the "Black Prince" safe in Leeds? Is one's own King John II safe in his sunny Lisbon square?

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