Come on it’s time to cross the line!

Carmen Gomez

A friend sent me a link of a short documentary film of the Miss World 1970 by Pathe News, where I could be seen with some of the contestants visiting the sites in London. I did not know of its existence and it pleased me greatly to see it. Shortly after photos taken from said site appeared in a website that shows old photos of Gibraltar, which apparently created a lot of interest because Gibraltarians love to see anything about Gibraltar that relates to our past.

I mention this because surfing the internet as I do sometimes, I came across a delightful travelogue item about Gibraltar, again produced by Pathe News from 1962, which is actually found under the heading of “Spain in the sixties: seen through the eyes of British audiences” by Alex Dunham, who wrote this piece in “The Local” newspaper, in March 2018.Typical of an English writer who revels in sarcasm, he goes on to comment that the narrator in this travel news package on Gibraltar goes on a bit of a rampage of patriotic and hyperbolic comments. The title of the short film comes strangely under the heading “Beware Gibraltar.” I mention this because if some of you have not seen it, you should look out for it. It’s priceless.

Breath of fresh air

The thing is that more often than not, you come across travel reports on Gibraltar which tend to be little more than deprecating. So it brings a breath of fresh air to come across this particular outlook on; and I quote; “an unsuspecting wonderland called the Rock; an oasis of utter charm.”

Little did anyone suspect at that time, or even foresee, that seven years down the road, what the documentary referred to as this “ the most colourful corner you can find in this wide wide world,” was to be isolated from the exterior by land and sea. “Gibraltar the centre of the Universe” as the documentary illustrated, was soon to find its tourism industry suffocated, apart from the life of all its citizens; though not its spirit, I hasten to add. To this day I find it extraordinary that in a democratic society such as Spain purports to be; we have never received an apology for this so monstrous an action brought upon a people, like that taken back in 1969, by a Spanish dictator.

Beyond their control

But then thinking on this, one realizes that what I seek is beyond their control particularly when you take a look at their whole transitional procedure, which was more a matter of words than substance. Furthermore, the whole exercise turned out to be lacking a clean break with the past. The Francoist establishment recognised that the time had come for a change and simply wound up its operations, but please note; on condition that reprisals were never taken against any of its members.

We are talking of members who included notorious torturers; one of whom known as “Billy El Niño” is making the headlines once again; as there are those who at this late stage now believe he should be stripped of his medals and accolades and brought to justice. Apart from which many Spaniards today and then, including more than half of young people, seemed to find difficulty in understanding that Francoism had been a mistake. What then reined was the spirit of forgive and forget.

No one in Spain was ever judged; no one deemed guilty. Forgiveness in this sense was never part of the equation. It was just a matter of forgetting. More so, such aggressors were turned into celebrities with many re-emerging as respected commentators, whose view on how to run a democracy could be heard over the waves or read in their newspapers! such mendacity!
So when you look at all this in today`s context, you realize that what you and I in civilized societies consider to be wrong, to them appears quite normal; as does what they call their democracy. Francoism may not have survived as a political movement but it lives on, albeit clothed in different apparel. It now continues to grow in the womb of the PP`s politics and that of Vox.

Because there are Spaniards today who are appalled at the amount of insecurity and crime and drugs that rampages their towns and cities and they rebel by reaching out to such political groups. With this kind of attitude anyone with a bit of common sense might be tempted to say “you don’t stand a chance against this lot. The mayor of La Linea has again illustrated this, as this newspaper reports.

So what to do next? The answer I believe is in our holding our ground; and the same goes for the UK. As far as the UK government is concerned they have to hold theirs in future brexit negotiations, where Gibraltar is concerned. Anything else will be tantamount to the same disparaging remarks we have had to live with in the past; and which would further demonstrate a total lack of support from those we look to, in this light.


Now is the time for Boris Johnson to make retribution to the Gibraltarians for the lack of action from Margaret Thatcher when Spain wanted to join the EEC. She may have dispatched a naval force to take back the territory of the Falkland Islands from Argentine, but she did not show a smidgeon of a similar resolve, when she decided not to use the UK`s veto against Spain, at a time which was crucial for us; for her to have done so! Spain now desperately wants to continue to fish in British waters; if not allowed the Spanish fleet would lose 9,000 tons of fish and 8,5000 jobs.
If some concession is to be made perhaps this is the time to act on our behalf by demanding that Spain drops all claims to our sovereignty and forgets about us for ever! Come on, its time to cross the line!