The Pact of Forgetting

La Voz de Galicia – February 28, 2020 →

Cristina PatoIt was the second time I watched it, and I suppose that is why my association of ideas was different. The documentary by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, The Silence of Others, was a fundamental tool to grasp the consequences of transitional justice, understanding this as «the set of judicial and political measures that various countries used as reparations for the massive violations of human rights»; and to understand the consequences of forgetfulness.

In my house, neither the dictatorship nor the dead who weren’t ours was ever spoken about. The reality into which my sister Teté was born (in 1967) was very different from the reality into which I was born (in 1980), and I always thought that our way of living politics, and our relationship with it, were marked by that generational gap of having been born in two very different moments in history.

But it seems that I was never fully conscious of the impact that the Amnesty Law of 1977 (the Pact of Forgetting) had in daily life, in the way in which we share our small stories. I had not made the connection that up until a few years ago, I had never heard my mother, who is from Bola, speak of «those from Furriolo»…I suppose that she, in a conscious or unconscious way, decided to forget that part of her own country, and for me, it is fascinating to see how now, when she no longer has a filter because of dementia, the brushstrokes of another history, of the forgotten one, appear within recurring childhood stories.

The loss of collective memory is an illness as severe and painful as the loss of cognitive (and individual) memory because in both cases the subject who suffers it is not capable of seeing that they are no longer aware of what they are forgetting.

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