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  • King Felipe VI (left) together with the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella (center), and the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (right) applauded the Franco-era rendition.

    King Felipe VI (left) together with the Italian president, Sergio Mattarella (center), and the Portuguese president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (right) applauded the Franco-era rendition. | Photo: EFE

Published 8 May 2019

During the welcome event for the Cotec European Summit held in Naples, a choir of Italian schoolchildren mistakenly sang fascist-era lyrics, written by poet Jose Maria Peman before the Spanish Civil War.

The Spanish national anthem, Royal March, has been lyric-less since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in the 1970s. But apparently, the Italian government did not get the memo, as the Franco-Era version was sung during an official ceremony earlier this week. 

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Spain Orders Hundreds of Municipalities to Remove Franco Symbols

During the welcome event for the Cotec European Summit held in Naples, the King of Spain Felipe VI and his father were heralded by a choir of Italian schoolchildren which mistakenly sang fascist-era lyrics, written by poet Jose Maria Peman before the Spanish Civil War.

“Long live Spain, raise your heads, children of the Spanish people which is resurrected again. Glory to the homeland which knew how to follow the course of the sun over the blue of the sea,” the children unknowingly sang with the music played by the Sanitansamble Orchestra of Naples, according to Catalonian newspaper El Nacional.

Yesterday the anthem with the lyrics of Peman sounded in an act attended by Felipe IV and his father. Did they hum it in their head while the choir sang it?
 

Right next to the Spanish delegation, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Portugal President Mercelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Cotec ceremoniously listened to the anthem and embarrassedly applauded, as the Italian President approached Felipe VI to apologize, claiming “it was a mistake by the event’s organizers.”

And even though this moment will pass as a mere anecdote, the fact that Franco’s support keeps growing in Spain is no laughing matter. Far-right party Vox has with the dead dictator's politics and in post-Franco first, the Spanish Parliament will house far-right lawmakers after 24 got elected in the April 28 general elections.

Meanwhile, Spain's justice ministry, this year under the “Historical Memory” law, ordered more than 600 municipalities across the country to remove symbols honoring the dictator which are still on display in public spaces. 

The centerpiece of this effort is the government's plans to exhume Franco's remains from a vast mausoleum drilled into the side of a mountain at the Valley of the Fallen near Madrid to a more discreet spot.

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