Sunday, May 22

The mural of the Republican teacher Justa Freire in Madrid appears vandalized

Justa Freire’s mural in Madrid has been vandalized just two weeks after the Unlogic Crew collective painted it. The work is located between Blas Cabrera and Maestra Justa Freire streets, which since August has been renamed again as Millán-Astray, the Francoist general whom Justice has reinstated in the Madrid street map, considering that he did not participate in the Civil War nor in the subsequent repression, despite the fact that he was responsible for the regime’s Press and Propaganda Office.

Millán-Astray recovers honors in Madrid on an August morning by ruling of the Superior Court

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The message ‘red no’ and the crosshairs on the forehead of the drawing of the republican teacher, who was imprisoned after the Civil War, represents another chapter in the conflict on this street, after the decision of the Government of José Luis Martínez- Almeida not to appeal the judicial decision and the attempt to prevent this intervention from being carried out by the Municipal Police, which prevented an action by a neighborhood platform that tried to use the wall of a transformer to vindicate the teacher. It is also a new example of the vandalization of works that seek to recover historical memory and the figure of feminist referents that has been repeated in Madrid every time one of them is carried out.

“Even when the action was planned, we expected that (the vandalization) was a very real possibility. We had it very much in mind because of the background of the last year and a half and because of the reactions that this type of artistic work is generating, ”he explains in conversation with Jorge Nuño, a member of Unlogic Crew. Precisely, this group is responsible for the Ciudad Lineal mural, which was damaged and recovered by the neighbors months later. In fact, Freire’s is made with the same technique “to give continuity” to that work, which has been replicated in other parts of Spain.

In this case, the residents of Carabanchel organized in the ‘Platform by the name of the teacher Justa Freire’ had tried in mid-March to make a mural in homage to Freire in this transformer. The Municipal Police prevented the intervention, but a few days later, Unlogic Crew managed to carry it out in the middle of the night.

“The plaque at La Nueve in Ciudad Lineal and the Equality space in Vicálvaro have also been attacked,” recalls Nuño. For him, these actions are “neither more nor less than the tangible representation of a political discourse that we have allowed to be in our public institutions, of hatred and separation, which has its reflection at a social level and is seen with a more vandalism. one of the last we have suffered in the last year and a half”.

In April 2017, the Plenary Session of Madrid approved the elimination of 52 names of streets and squares from the street map that honored people or events related to the military uprising of July 18, 1936, the war or the Franco regime. Millán-Astray street was renamed Maestra Justa Freire, until last August when the Almeida government ordered its recovery. The decision was based on the ruling of the Superior Court of Justice, which had annulled the change alleging that it was not protected by the historical memory law because it has not been “unequivocally” proven that the soldier participated in the uprising of 36.

The City Council complied with the sentence without appealing it, despite the neighborhood opposition, which was organized to vindicate the figure of the pedagogue through the platform and other associations of historical memory. It will be these groups who decide the next steps around the mural. “Unlogic Crew’s will is to restore it, but since they are involved in the original idea, we will have to see what they think should be done,” says Nuño.