One day (June 18 to be exact) Jorge Ribalta wrote that he was going to restore the sculpture that crowned the monument to Antonio López, saying that “López has no title of defender in the debate”. The one who gave is very strange, because if he had debated, he would have had favorable, opposing or uncertain positions; what is it but a debate? I want to say that the claim that López has no defense attorneys is a joke meant to amuse any reader down the centuries.
In any case, the author of the article said that the statue’s removal “reveals various flaws in the current city council’s monumental policy.” It’s a pity that I didn’t explain what policy he was referring to or what specific mistakes he was talking about; potser is a conventional expression, politically correct quan parla de l’Ajuntament dels dos darrers mandats. I say why it costs to figure out the question of the means expected of every author who proposes or defends a claim, an idea, an evaluation… I say that it costs Ribalta, in alloc d’arguments and reasons , it is limited to giving directions and opinions. For example, he dictates who is progressive (to recall that Coll i Alentorn dictated who is Catalan) and provides rules on how progressive behavior should be accompanied by sculpt removal. “The truly progressive option would have created an alternative to avoid any logic of demolition that reproduces the symbolic violence it criticizes.” Or “from the point of view of a progressive patrimonial politics (fins and all anti-capitalists) to eliminate the main urban shortcomings of local capitalism so that the counter-discourses lose their referent and sentit. Així does not fight capitalism, it is li fa the joc blanquejant-lo”. I prossegueix define what the Esquerra is and what it should do: “deepen pluralism”. I’m not saying no, but because of what I said in sembla pluralism is reduced to them and their opinions; fora d’ells, the no-res, the irrelevance.
But reality is what it is and the withdrawal of the statue of the Marquis will be part of the framework of a permanent policy of reflection on colonial Barcelona, starting in February 2016 and continuing in the following years; a macro-program of permanent action that will convene the most important international congress for the decolonization of the European mentality decolonization of Europe. Colonial memories and construction of difference, was the title; and is facing a second Congress on Monuments and Violence, with various seminars and colloquia to be held in various municipal facilities, with the aim of initiating a diagnosis that will be useful for the current European reality. This was the concern of the macro program because the Europeans, the citizens of Barcelona, are no longer the mateixos dels anys noranta. Europe, the city of Barcelona began to join the Estats Units d’Amèrica ethnic group, both appearances and conflicts that arise. In our district of Ciutat Vella, according to Idescat, more than 50% of registered citizens are non-EU citizens – those who are not registered are far from bidding on the number, that’s clear.
The purpose of the memorial policy is to contribute to citizenship, which is explained in all documents of the Commemoration Programs Commission. I això is dedicated to the continguts of the colonial Barcelona program. It is certain that Jorge Ribalta will not attend these seminars, but the reason must be that the various commissioners who will organize each and every one of these performances do not consider it necessary.
Ribalta’s stance is openly violent, all the while attributing López’s withdrawal not to a thoughtful, debated and confronted decision (because he didn’t demand his presence) but to the fact that López was not a Catalan, “a declassat, un xarnego”. , diu, i afegeix … “Sota a façana wrong democratitzadora, estem davant d’una operation of “neteja ètnica””. Do you know the meaning of the expression “neteja ètnica”? Can’t you get rid of such a hideous insult In any case, to find a lliure theorem? To take it to the point of absurdity is always a sign of weakening an argument. I quote badly too, ho is.
I say for the decontextualized quote that historian Martín Rodrigo Alharilla makes to argue that López will not devote himself to slavery. Too bad it’s a bad way, let me tell you that a little honestly, and it’s not very respectful to the historian in question. Rodrigo Alharilla has written about López and colonial Barcelona in one of the fulltons of the Realitzats seminars: “López will also take part in the slave trade from the African cost ceiling to Cuba, an activity that has been illegal since 1820. In the complex chain of Atlantic traffic, López s’encarregava de rebre to l’orient cubà els carregaments or “partides” which the captains of bucs negrers secretly transport from l’Africa. I will sell these enslaved Africans to Santiago de Cuba or refer them to their correspondents sell them in other parts of the city (Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Havana…)
A sculpture, a monument, street and place names do not serve – and are not a fan either – to report historically on a situation or to remember a person, but to commemorate them. The lack of knowledge that Ribalta shows on this issue is disappointing, but our universities can consult an extensive bibliography on this complex and constantly modulated reality: it is not certain, it is not necessary, that we build a memorial statue to commemorate slavery to have . no De fet, an Alemanya no hi ha cap statue of Hitler. Tanmateix els alemanys el recorden molt bé, observed Alessandro Portelli.
In short, out of concern for memory, Ribalta has decided that the statue’s removal will be an act “conducive to forgetting”. It’s not an opinion, it’s an unimpeachable judgment.
Tanmateix will have hi d’alters opinions. For example, Jordi Balló will write an article shortly after the sculpture has been transported to the collection center The avant-garde (03/14/2018), in which he reflected: “In all these cases (it refers to the Roman destruction and the demolition of the Soviet statues in the Est countries) the goal is that of the damnatio memoriae: Creating oblivion, erasing the past. However, this is not the case with the removal of the statue of Antonio López, which has taken place in Barcelona in recent days. And that’s why it’s such an interesting and significant case. Because with this removal of the statue one does not want to create oblivion, but on the contrary to create memory. In other words, if the statue of Antonio López had not been moved, knowledge of his activity as a slave trader would not have spread and the majority of citizens would have continued to coexist with the same indifference. But it is the vindictive alarm of silenced communities in Catalonia, like Africa’s, that has awakened the sense of remembrance. It is the gesture of removing it from public space when building commemorative knowledge of what the statue represents. This is why it is so important that the process of withdrawal itself be recorded, because the sense of contrast of its absence with our carelessness must be maintained. It’s like a warning: we lived with an unacceptable historical practice and wanted nothing to do with it. Thanks to the consensual removal of the statue, the memory of slavery has been revived and that memory cannot be forgotten.”
Ribalta probably also considered this author a “destructive talibà of the ancients” simply because he disagreed with the seva. But we can sleep peacefully: the replacement of López al seu lloc redeems knowledge and memory, according to Ribalta.