Update: Don’t miss these articles published on the same website
Celine Cordero is the Foreign Relations director at Los Angeles World Airports, created by the City of Los Angeles to optimize the benefits having that international airport offers to the city. But she’s also a member of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a foundation created to remember and honor the reconstruction plan for Europe that the US set in motion after the Second World War, with the goal, as stated on their website, of strengthening:
transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.
So this summer, she visited the Basque Country as part of the European tour organized by this Foundation. She writes about her journey in the Foundation’s blog, and dedicates an entry to one specific place she visited: the Sacred City of the Basques, the Martyr City of Guernica, and she does so to comment on how impressed she was by her visit to the Guernica Peace Museum. There, she was able to fully understand how that town was able to turn its misfortune into an element of unquestionable value. She speaks of the bombing, and how the townspeople were able to turn the tables on the tragedy:
Gernika is not unique. Many nations around the world that have experienced tragedy at the hands of another. This was part of what many of fellows learned as we traveled throughout Europe.
Yet Gernika is unique, in my view, in that it is not only a symbol of strength and recovery, but an example of how remembrance of a tragedy can be sustained with an overtone of peace and reconciliation. This spirit drove the establishment of a museum of peace in the town.
We only wish she had more clearly mentioned the symbolic importance this city has for the Basques.
But we also wish, though this is not her fault, that she hadn’t validated the number of those killed in the attack at 250 people, when for many of us, it is quite evident that the figure was far higher, just as the Basque Government and foreign correspondents to the city stated at that time, right before the city fell to the insurgents.
We’d recommend looking over all the information we’ve collected about the bombing, but we must highlight the part of the article written by Noel Monks, the Daily Express correspondent commenting on what he saw when he went to Guernica.
“I was back in the blackened town at dawn. The flames had died, but the ruins were smoldering. I saw more than eight hundred bodies. An estimated 300 more I couldn’t see, because they weren’t bodies: they were just hands, legs, arms, heads, bits of flesh. Many bodies had bullet wounds: airplane machine-gun bullets”.
Gernika As a Symbol of Peace, Not Destruction
I was honored to visit the beautiful Basque country in Spain as part of my Marshall Memorial Fellowship trip. While in Bilbao, we were exposed to a perfect blend of culture, food, politics and economics. The Basque are proud people. They exuded pride for their food, language, culture, and art. They spoke with respect and reverence for the past and anticipation of a bright future. There were many beautiful aspects about my visit to Bilbao, but I was most struck by a small but powerful message of peace while visiting the Gernika Peace Museum.