Interesting and somewhat creepy news from Madrid –– Researchers have apparently found the remains of Miguel de Cervantes — 399 years after his death –and are sifting through bones.
A team of forensic scientists in Madrid say they have located the remains of Spanish novelist, poet and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547 1616), but have stopped short of a definitive identification given the lack of DNA evidence…(EL PAIS in ENGLISH] [EL PAIS IN SPANISH]
Toward the end of his great masterpiece, Don Quixote, Cervantes issues a warning to grave robbers in Don Quixote’s name that could serve as an admonition as well to current day meddlers:
If by chance you come to know him, be warned, leave be the weary and long-moldering bones of Don Quixote, and make no move, against all the privileges of death, to carry them unto Old Castille, making him rise from the
grave where in reality and truth he lies extended at full length, powerless to make any third expedition or new departure….” Don Quixote [Part II Chapter 74]
“si acaso llegas a conocerle, que deje reposar en la sepultura los cansados y ya podridos huesos de don Quijote, y no le quiera llevar, contra todos los fueros de la muerte, a Castilla la Vieja, haciéndole salir de la fuesa donde real y verdaderamente yace tendido de largo a largo, imposibilitado de hacer tercera jornada y salida nueva…” El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha [II, Cap. 74]
Spain’s highest court has condemned Baltasar Garzon, the nation’s most-prominent judge, on a series of political charges that boil down to the fact that he stood for morality above politics in the investigation of crimes that have not been investigated or solved since the days of the dictator Francisco Franco.
The charges against him include claims that he conducted illegal wiretaps and “exceeded his authority,” but make no mistake — this is a decision by a tainted court that seeks to allow the atrocities of Spain’s past to be left untold.
The decision was praised by Spain’s right-wing Popular Party, which is basically the political inheritor of Franco’s legacy. The new Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, is a member of the Popular Party.
The court ruled Garzon guilty of the first round of charges and thereby stripped him from serving in any legal capacity for 11 years.
Garzon, 56, became prominent in the 1990s when he issued an international warrant against the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The warrant ultimately led to Pinochet’s arrest in Britain where he had been living with the support of then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Pinochet was returned to Chile to face human rights charges.
In 2009, Garzon also considered charging Bush administration officials on international human rights counts for having justified torture of political prisoners in the war on terror.
Garzon, who pursued corruption and domestic terrorism cases at home, finally decided to tackle the often suppressed issues of mass graves and human rights abuses still left unresolved during Franco’s 35 years in power.
Franco came to power after staging a military coup in 1936 against the democratically elected Spanish Republican government. He triumphed in 1939 with the help of Adolf HItler and Benito Mussolini in what many historians consider to have been the Nazis’ trial run of their war machine before the start of World War II. Crimes committed during the Franco period are generally covered by an amnesty law, but Garzon contends that amnesty should not apply to human rights cases.