Whenever I read about corpses being taken out and re-buried again I get chills down my spine. But when I heard that Federico García Lorca was going to be exhumed from the common burial ground were he lays with three other corpses, I wanted to cry.
García Lorca was a literary genius and his life was cut short by one of the most barbaric forms of punishment of the old Spain– namely the wall of fusillade.
The story published in El Universal, one of Mexico’s daily newspapers in Spanish, really made me think of how cruel this punishment is and how it is a common them throughout the modern history of Spain and the conquest.
The story says that the exhumation is guaranteed to be private, and that the National Audience of Spain authorized the opening of 19 common burial grounds, which include the one where García Lorca is buried with the bodies of three other people who were killed with him during the Spanish Civil War.
García Lorca, who is one of the best-known poets of Spain, was killed near Granada, Spain, by the Nationalists at the start of the Spanish Civil War for his outspokenness, which was not an uncommon occurrence in Spain (and even in Latin America).
Francisco de Goya’s “The Third of May” is a very good visual example of this barbaric tradition. Another good story recounting the accounts of a fusillade wall in Cuba was written by Richard Harding Davis. “The Death of Rodriguez” also tells the story of a Cuban youth who was being killed by the Spanish soldiers. In Harding Davis’ story he describes how the condemned walked to his death in the wall:
…but I confess to have felt a thrill of satisfaction when I saw, as the Cuban passed me, that he held a cigarette between his lips, not arrogantly nor with bravado, but with nonchalance of a man who meets his punishment fearlessly, and who will let his enemies see that they can kill but cannot frighten him.
García Lorca was not the first one to be silenced for his ideals and for thinking differently, nor was he the last one. As history continued to confirmate — and literature and art documented — fusillade was a big part of Spanish history, and it was unfortunately brought over to America.