The mural dedicated to Justa Freire in the Madrid district of Latina has been vandalized again. And there are four. On the morning of August 17, the drawing of the republican teacher imprisoned after the civil war dawned again with a neo-Nazi symbol on her face: a Celtic cross that this time occupied her entire face. In addition, they had also deleted the “C / Maestra Justa Freire !!” that the authors of the work had written at the top left and in the upper central part and with which they want to claim the return of that street, which the Almeida government changed to that of General Millán Astray —responsible for the Press Office and Propaganda of the Franco regime—in compliance with a court ruling, accepted by the Madrid City Council without appeal.
Millán-Astray recovers honors in Madrid on an August morning by ruling of the Superior Court
Since the last graffiti, on the 1st of this month, the authors of the mural, the Unlogic collective, had cleaned it. This time has been the shortest time that has lasted without being attacked again. “What aversion these fascist people have to culture,” said the Latina District Historical Memory Association, which broke the news of this new attack through its social networks, in a message in which it lamented that the vandals prefer the “blows and death before intelligence”.
“The wall has an anti-graffiti varnish,” recalls Jorge Nuño, a member of Unlogic, in conversation with elDiario.es, who emphasizes that when doing the work they used the same technique as in the first repair of the Ciudad Lineal wall, which they had to redraw entirely after having been painted black the faces of the women represented in it. “On the previous occasion that Justa Freire’s was attacked, just 15 days ago, it was already cleaned and the paint layer did not have to be redone. Exactly the same as then we will continue to do so. We understand that it can be a deterrent that tells whoever does it that no matter how hard they try to tamper with it, there is not going to be any change in it, ”he adds.
“A teacher does so much hate and harm”, have been questioned from the Historical Memory Association of the Latin District. And the question does not stop making sense, when in four months of existence the mural has been attacked four times. This is one more of the attacks on the symbols dedicated to people opposed to Francoism or to women that have been habitual by groups linked to the extreme right.
One of the things that “is not understood” is that the attacks can be repeated over and over again and nothing ever happens. This has been stated by the spokeswoman for Más Madrid in the City Council of the capital, Rita Maestre, who wrote on her Twitter profile: “Something is being done wrong so that they feel the impunity of (vandalizing the mural again) for the fourth time”. In her message, the mayor stressed that, “whatever they do”, the “democratic memory will endure”. The councilor of this group in the Latina district, Javier Barbero, has also reacted on networks, who has wondered if “someone could have hated Justa Freire after knowing her work or / and her person”.
At Unlogic, for their part, they lament that “the will to determine who is to blame is lacking.” That’s what Jorge Nuño says, explaining to this medium that they believe that the author or authors of the attacks “would be easily identifiable with pertinent and not complex police work.” “But we don’t have any hope of that being the case.”
“This action is one more example of the polarization that we have at a social level of how we have allowed certain messages of hate to be applauded from our public institutions,” Nuño points out, adding that “we have a Madrid City Council that is a prisoner of extreme right and the Community itself takes them as government partners”. The artist assures that this helps the messages “end up arriving” and leads to hatred being spread “indiscriminately” even in areas where “there should be consensus and there should be no discussion”. “The reality is that as long as we have these political groups in public institutions, we will continue to have these types of attacks. It is to throw your hands in the head, but we have an Administration that bends to the wishes of the extreme right and whose result ends up being the attack not only on ideas and people, but on the artistic representation of those values.
Justa Freire stood out for her work as a teacher in the first decades of the last century and for her desire to introduce innovations in public education at that time. That is one of her defining characteristics, as well as her passion for her profession.
He taught the children of the workers in the Second Republic and later founded, together with the teacher Ángel Llorca, the school colonies to accompany orphans during the Civil War in Levante. During the Franco regime she was imprisoned in Las Ventas and there she also continued to show her passion, by teaching her fellow prisoners to write and read.
“Justa Freire is being attacked and draws powerful attention because she is a teacher,” says Nuño. The member of the Unlogic group emphasizes that she was a “pioneer” in the educational field: “You only have to look at history to know what its importance was. Justa should be taken as an example of dedication and yet she is attacked and a target is put on her forehead as if she were a political target, as if they wanted to revile all her work, not only because she is a woman, that of course it is like that, but for the fact of having carried out his work in institutions prior to the Civil War”.
From the Unlogic collective they value that, although their works have already been attacked on numerous occasions, “there is always a social rejection” towards these actions. “Society continues to claim to obtain, once and for all, comprehensive reparation and recognition of everything that happened. I think that this is an unstoppable movement and four black brushes or a spray target on an artistic work that represents a teacher are not going to ensure that this firm will at a social level does not continue, it continues to evolve and in the end it prevails ”, he concludes Nuno.