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Sotillo, Alberto

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ABC - Spain | 28/10/2008

Alberto Sotillo on how countries address their civil wars

Alberto Sotillo reflects in the daily ABC on how various countries deal with the legacy of their civil wars: "The wounds of a civil war never fully heal. Not even in the USA where so many films have been made, novels written and research done about the complexity of this episode [of the civil war]. But at least in that country no-one thinks in the current political discourse of instrumentalising the fact that the dividing line between the states that will be voting for [the republican presidential candidate John] McCain and those that support [Barack] Obama is similar to the boundary that divided the Confederation of the south from the Union of the north in the war of secession. ... In Italy, too, the turbulent episodes of the fascist era, which in many ways resembled a civil war, have not been forgotten, any more than the fog that surrounds the history of the resistance and the collaborators during the Nazi occupation of France, nor the tacit passivity with which Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany. ... There are intelligent countries which know that history is a dangerous tinderbox and is therefore better left to the historians. There are countries that act rashly, like the former Yugoslavia, which managed to turn its confrontation with its history into a brutal war the wounds of which have not yet healed. And in between there are countries that take it entirely for granted that it is up to a judge to evaluate history."

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