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Home Culture “Your deep mistake is believing that stupidity is harmless”: Vox, Bernanos and Franco’s repression in Mallorca | Culture

“Your deep mistake is believing that stupidity is harmless”: Vox, Bernanos and Franco’s repression in Mallorca | Culture

by News Room
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Georges Bernanos (1888-1948) was a great French intellectual, who was surprised by Franco’s coup d’état in Mallorca. A practicing, conservative Catholic, with a Falangist son, scandalized by the attacks against the Church in the Republican zone, he was a firm supporter of the fascist side. However, when he contemplated the magnitude and cruelty of the repression in Mallorca, horrified by what he saw, he wrote a masterpiece, The great cemeteries under the moon, one of the most significant testimonies about the Spanish Civil War and a monument to intellectual honesty. Hannah Arendt called it “the most important book written against fascism.” Bernanos did not change sides, he simply chose humanity.

The president of the Balearic Parliament, the far-right Vox member Gabriel Le Senne, starred in a regrettable spectacle this Tuesday by tearing up a photo of Aurora Picornell, a woman murdered by the same forces that Bernanos saw in action in the first months of the war. If he had the slightest curiosity, Mr. Le Senne could consult the French novelist’s book, because a new Spanish edition has recently appeared, in Pepitas de Calabaza, translated by Juan Vivanco. “Due to an anomaly that I cannot explain, it had been out of print for years and could not be found in Spanish. In France, on the other hand, it is a very well-known book,” Sergio del Molino wrote in this newspaper when the new edition of the book appeared.

When he published The great cemeteries under the moon, Bernanos was already a well-known writer in France for his novels Under Satan’s sun y Diary of a rural priest. He already wrote the latter in Mallorca, where he had lived since 1934. After Franco’s victory on the island, he was not only shocked by the cruelty of the repression, but also by the thoroughness with which anyone suspected of being against the new regime was hunted down and murdered. mercilessly. The slightest suspicion or doubt could cost anyone their life. He was also horrified by the active collaboration of the Catholic Church in mass murders. He left Mallorca in 1937 and published the book in 1938, which earned him the hatred of the French right and, naturally, Franco.

Several deputies show the photo of Aurora Picornell, retaliated by Franco, in the plenary session of the Congress of Deputies held this Wednesday in Madrid.FERNANDO VILLAR (EFE)

“In Mallorca, for months, teams of assassins, transported quickly from town to town with trucks requisitioned for this purpose, coldly killed, with everyone’s knowledge, several thousand individuals who were considered suspects, although the military court itself had to resign to present the slightest accusation against them,” he writes. “The most reverend bishop of Palma was informed of the event, like everyone else. That did not mean that he stopped showing himself, whenever he had the opportunity, alongside the executioners, some of whom notoriously had the brief agony of a hundred men to their credit.

The most famous phrase in the book applies perfectly to the current moment, to the unfortunate image of Tuesday: “The anger of imbeciles fills the world. Your deep mistake is to believe that stupidity is harmless. Stupidity has no more force than a small caliber cannon, but once in motion, it can handle anything. None of you is unaware of what the patient hatred and vigilance of the mediocre are capable of and sow grain in the four cardinal points. It was written by an honest intellectual in Europe in the 1930s, upon which an immeasurable catastrophe was about to fall. Bernanos sensed what was going to happen in many other places and knew that the cruelty of Spanish fascism was the first episode of something much broader. It is scary to read now the lucid words of that French writer who never renounced humanity.

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