By Morgan Fagg
Remember, remember, the month of November
Between Halloween and Christmas celebrations, The Madrid Metropolitan looks back at the Mes that was November 2016.
By the end of October, Spain had finally formed a government after 11 long months without one and enthusiastic crowds protested the president in a scene we would soon see repeated in America.
At the same time, near to the crowds surrounding el Congreso de los Diputados, a nostalgic group gathered by Plaza Santa Ana to remember José Antonio Primo de Rivera’s Falange party, which was founded on the 29 October 1933 in Teatro de la Comedia.
The ghosts of Spain were quickly replaced by witches and zombies as we celebrated Halloween and Todos Los Santos, and then watched in horror in early November at the American election.
Just as Ireland was celebrating 26 years since they elected their first female president and Germany celebrated 27 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Americans woke to the news on 9/11 that potential wall-builder Donald J Trump had devastated those looking to elect what would have been the world’s 60th president and America’s first female commander in chief. It was not to be for the former First Lady as Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but not the crucial Electoral College.
Here in Madrid many Americans who supported her attended the Democrats Abroad Election Night Party held in Alegoría in Calle de Villanueva to watch America decide their 45th president.
The Madrid Metropolitan attended the event and watched as the American map turned red throughout the long night. Congratulations President Elect. It had been a very long campaign, which wouldn’t be soon forgotten, and suggested that half of the success in politics is just showing up.
On a more honorable note, on the 11 November, we remembered those who had died in The Great War, and those who had fell in many wars and conflicts since. The First World War armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as the guns fell silent across the western front. In Madrid, many gathered at St George’s Church in Calle de Núñez de Balboa for Remembrance Day.
History was again recalled later in the month, as fascists took inspiration from Donald Trump with ‘Make Spain Great Again’ signs as they remembered the passing of General Franco and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, who both died on the 20 November and is recognised as the remembrance day for the Spanish Far-Right.
The Generalissimo needs no introduction but José Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of Spanish Dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera, may not be as well known. He was the founder of the Falange party, and a current Falange group, gathering in Plaza de Oriente in front of the Palacio Real, openly attacked a protestor who held a sign saying ‘Franco Asesino’. It was the second time in only a few weeks that Falange followers had publicly attacked protestors.
Far from Madrid but a headache for Madrid/London relations, sabre rattling began anew in Gibraltar as the HMS Sabre fired flares at a research vessel of the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO), which entered waters around the disputed Rock.
Let’s see what stocking-filled surprises we find in December and the New Year.