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Thread: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

  1. #1
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    The affair concerns the Valley of the Fallen, a colossal monument financed, built and endorsed in any other manner by the Francoist regime that ruled over Spain and her colonies for almost 4 decades. It consists of a gigantic crucifix (the tallest in the world) accompanied by an equally large basilica and an abbey reserved for Benedictine monks.
    Spoiler for Not exactly a paragon of Christian humility and moderation

    Inside the church of the Holy Cross, there are the buried bodies of two notorious protagonists of Spanish history, Francisco Franco himself, and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera and the creator of the Phalanx, the strongest fascist and Antisemitic party in Spain. Supposedly, the entire establishment is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Civil War, quite a fragile claim, as I will explain later. The recent controversy started when the government, dominated by a center-left coalition, passed a decree, according to which the remains of Franco, who is definitely not a victim of the conflict, will be exhumed and transferred to a new location, indicated by his family. As expected, that law caused reaction from various groups. For example and not unsurprisingly unfortunately, both the Popular Party and the Citizens, both of them right-wing parties with a strong presence in the Parliament, objected to the government's initiative, under the pretext of "opening old wounds". I guess that their leaderships view the defense of the Francoist heritage as a convenient tool for luring fascist sympathizers.

    Obviously, there is no doubt that Franco benefited greatly, instead of suffering, from the coup he launched, as he evolved from a military governor of the Canary Islands to the undisputed leader of the entire Spanish state, from Equatorial Guinea to the Pyrenees. However, this controversy over his remains touches the most sensitive issue in Spanish modern politics, the fact that the state is not capable of maturely treating with its fascist path. The crux of the matter lies with the negative repercussions of the peaceful transition from autocracy to democracy, in the late '70s. As a compensation for surrendering the political power to parliamentary democracy, the Francoist elites, from army officers to industrialists and politicians who collaborated with Franco, were granted amnesty and were never punished for their crimes against the Spanish people, while also maintaining at a high level the command of the country's armed forces, judiciary system and economy. As a result, fascist heroes still receive unacceptable honours, while honest judges are stopped from performing the duty against butchers that committed crimes against humanity. This is why I believe that the problem of the degree is that it's too moderate, without addressing major issues that harm the international image of the Spain authorities as an institution that can proudly condemn fascism and violation of human rights.

    For example, it's crystal clear that the Valley of the Fallen is far from an objective memorial to the victims of the Civil War. The entire complex with its kitsch obsession with religious obedience screams of National Catholicism, which can be approximately described as the local version of clerical fascism. Secondly, many of the workers that built it were political convicts, which means leftists that were imprisoned for their personal beliefs. Thirdly, the two figures that are especially honoured belong to the Nationalist side and can hardly be viewed as some innocent victims of the war. Francisco Franco, together with many officers, conservative politicians, clergymen, Carlists and the fascists of Phalanx conspired against the sovereign and democratically elected government of Madrid, directly provoking the war. They are essentially the perpetrators and not the victims and, to be sincere, honouring a fascist that was rightfully executed for treason seems particularly weird.

    Furthermore, I personally find the whole appeal to moderation, treating both sides of the conflict on an equal basis, hypocritical and insincere. From a moral and legal perspective, the Nationalists launched a military coup against a democratically elected government recognized by the global community, in an alliance with the fascist and Nazi regimes of Italy, Portugal and Germany. In contrast to the government of Madrid, the Nationalist authorities intentionally massacred hundreds of thousands of Spaniards, in a White Terror campaign of slaughter and fear that resulted into the establishment of a tyrannical dictatorship that abolished crucial rights of the Spanish citizens. The notion of conciliation has some merit, but the politically correct excuse of not reigniting old disputes insults the memory of the massacred and undermines the legitimacy of democratic Spain. In my opinion, the Valley of the Fallen should be relieved from the skeletons of successful (Francisco) and failed (José Antonio) Führer wannabes and be consequently transformed into a monument that will remind the future generations of Spaniards about the horrors of the civil war and the subsequent totalitarian regime, warning them about the threat to democracy military interventionism represents.

    So, what are your thoughts? Is the decision about the naughty Caudillo praiseworthy, unacceptably moderate or maybe completely inappropriate to Franco's glory? Should Spain deal in a determined way with its fascist past or tolerate the relics of the dictatorship for the sake of preserving social cohesion? Last but not least, should the Spanish Civil War be examined from the state through extremely neutral lenses, by avoiding any blaming and therefore absolving the culprits from their responsibilities or not?

    Mishkin's addition
    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Great OP, but you forgot to mention that hundreds of the prisoners used as quasi-slaves to build the monument were "buried" (their remains thrown in any way, without any identification) right there, when they died due to exhaustion. Adding to these the corpses that were brought from common graves (men shot by the fascists) there are more than twelve thousand unidentified bodies buried in the place that pays tribute to the person responsible for their deaths.

    In spanish: More than 33,800 people buried in the Valley of the Fallen (El Pais)
    It is the largest common grave in Spain, with 33,000 corpses, and Franco's tomb is in the place that canon law reserves for popes and bishops (eldiario.es)

    ------------------------

    The francoist version, straight from generalisimofranco.com, one of the many places where the fascist dictator is extolled. (We even have a francisco franco fundation that receives funds by the state).
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    In recent times the attacks of the fierce detractors of the Valley have intensified, undoubtedly spurred by the latest government decisions with the closure of a monument that is THE HERITAGE OF ALL SPANIARDS.

    It is fashionable to attack and slander the Valley of the Fallen. Writers, columnists, politicians, politicians come together in their delirious arguments.

    Some speak of 20,000 political prisoners working simultaneously in the construction of the monument, others go further and increase that figure to 25,000. They throw these figures without any documentary rigor and from the deepest ignorance.

    These figures are false. During the 18 years of construction of the monument, only in 7 of them (1943-1950), there existed a labor prisoner. In addition, these convicts were politicians only in a minimum percentage since the common prisoners predominated in the majority of the cases condemned by very serious crimes, existing those of blood between them. Returning to the figures, we can assure, and we do provide the documentation that supports our thesis, that in 1948 there were 770 convicts who worked in the works of the Valley of the Fallen.

    We publish here today a documentation that sees the light for the first time. It's about the names and surnames of those inmates. These are the lists of prisoners, as we say in 1948, distributed among the three detachments that had a payroll (yes, in a payroll), inmate labor. 770 of a total of 2300 who worked in the Valley and who, year after year (remember between 1943 and 1950), were achieving freedom after redeeming conviction in the work.

    We hope that these documents, until now unpublished, serve to appease the revengeful moods of both undocumented.
    Last edited by Abdülmecid I; August 25, 2018 at 06:18 PM. Reason: Updated with mishkin's part.

  2. #2
    caratacus's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    The affair concerns the Valley of the Fallen, a colossal monument financed, built and endorsed in any other manner by the Francoist regime that ruled over Spain and her colonies for almost 4 decades. It consists of a gigantic crucifix (the tallest in the world) accompanied by an equally large basilica and an abbey reserved for Benedictine monks.
    In my opinion, the Valley of the Fallen should be relieved from the skeletons of successful (Francisco) and failed (José Antonio) Führer wannabes and be consequently transformed into a monument that will remind the future generations of Spaniards about the horrors of the civil war and the subsequent totalitarian regime, warning them about the threat to democracy military interventionism represents.
    Is this more a threat to "democracy" as you call it, than this monument.
    Spain's never ending corruption problem
    https://www.politico.eu/article/spai...mariano-rajoy/
    Spain’s ruling party rocked by major corruption case
    Former Popular Party officials fined and jailed in one of country’s largest graft investigations.
    Country of thieves’ wrestles with corruption
    https://www.politico.eu/article/spai...h-court-trial/
    It's a beautiful location, and a dramatic piece of arhitecture, why should anyone feel threatend by it? Franco is long gone and his burial place isn't a shrine. Turning it into some political propaganda (and that's what would happen) isn't going to improve the failings of a democratic system. It seems that these days the Left is only interested in tearing down monuments not building better societies.
    Last edited by caratacus; August 25, 2018 at 09:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ¡Ay Carmela!
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    That's a pretty weird reply, Caratacus, full of strawmen, whataboutisms and red herrings. Firstly, how is corruption relevant to the topic? Secondly, when did I say that the Valley of the Fallen should be demolished or that it threatens democracy? Nowhere, I think, as my comment was specifically referring to the army meddling in political affairs outside of its jurisdiction. The same applies to your third strawman about me supposedly claiming that reforming the monument will improve the efficiency of the Spanish democracy. Fourthly, do you seriously believe that this huge complex composed of abbeys, crucifixes and basilicas and functioning as a mausoleum for a dictator and the leader of a fascist party is not already political? Allow me to have my doubts. By the way, portraying the atrocities of the White Terror committed by a tyrannical dictatorship and underlining the historical role of the army in overthrowing democracy and silencing the will of the people is factual reporting of history. What you suggest is an extreme form of political correctness, by censoring the truth in order not to hurt the fragile sensitivities of far-right reactionaries. Lastly, I'm not really certain how and where the Left has launched a campaign at destroying statues, because last time I checked only the Soviet monuments about Communism and the Great Patriotic War had been annihilated on a massive scale in Eastern Europe. So please let's refrain from preaching and focus on the actual subject of the debate, the controversy surrounding the coexistence between the modern Spanish state and the remnants of its fascist totalitarian predecessor.

  4. #4
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Great OP, but you forgot to mention that hundreds of the prisoners used as quasi-slaves to build the monument were "buried" (their remains thrown in any way, without any identification) right there, when they died due to exhaustion. Adding to these the corpses that were brought from common graves (men shot by the fascists) there are more than twelve thousand unidentified bodies buried in the place that pays tribute to the person responsible for their deaths.

    In spanish: More than 33,800 people buried in the Valley of the Fallen (El Pais)
    It is the largest common grave in Spain, with 33,000 corpses, and Franco's tomb is in the place that canon law reserves for popes and bishops (eldiario.es)

    ------------------------

    The francoist version, straight from generalisimofranco.com, one of the many places where the fascist dictator is extolled. (We even have a francisco franco fundation that receives funds by the state).
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    In recent times the attacks of the fierce detractors of the Valley have intensified, undoubtedly spurred by the latest government decisions with the closure of a monument that is THE HERITAGE OF ALL SPANIARDS.

    It is fashionable to attack and slander the Valley of the Fallen. Writers, columnists, politicians, politicians come together in their delirious arguments.

    Some speak of 20,000 political prisoners working simultaneously in the construction of the monument, others go further and increase that figure to 25,000. They throw these figures without any documentary rigor and from the deepest ignorance.

    These figures are false. During the 18 years of construction of the monument, only in 7 of them (1943-1950), there existed a labor prisoner. In addition, these convicts were politicians only in a minimum percentage since the common prisoners predominated in the majority of the cases condemned by very serious crimes, existing those of blood between them. Returning to the figures, we can assure, and we do provide the documentation that supports our thesis, that in 1948 there were 770 convicts who worked in the works of the Valley of the Fallen.

    We publish here today a documentation that sees the light for the first time. It's about the names and surnames of those inmates. These are the lists of prisoners, as we say in 1948, distributed among the three detachments that had a payroll (yes, in a payroll), inmate labor. 770 of a total of 2300 who worked in the Valley and who, year after year (remember between 1943 and 1950), were achieving freedom after redeeming conviction in the work.

    We hope that these documents, until now unpublished, serve to appease the revengeful moods of both undocumented.
    Last edited by mishkin; August 25, 2018 at 10:30 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Corrupt government trying to distract public from its own corruption scandals by brining attention to tomb of a long-deceased ruler? This isn't the first time such things would happen. For the most part, history should be left alone. People who willfully destroy historic monuments be it Democrat politicians in Southern US ordering destruction of Confederate monuments, ISIS member demolishing ancient statues or Taliban destroying Buddhist monuments is the ultimate form of barbarism which should be universally condemned.

  6. #6
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    Corrupt government trying to distract public from its own corruption scandals by brining attention to tomb of a long-deceased ruler? This isn't the first time such things would happen.
    Exactly about what corruption cases are you talking about?
    For the most part, history should be left alone. People who willfully destroy historic monuments be it Democrat politicians in Southern US ordering destruction of Confederate monuments, ISIS member demolishing ancient statues or Taliban destroying Buddhist monuments is the ultimate form of barbarism which should be universally condemned.
    It is not history (as we already talk in another discussion) is the homage to a dictator, directly responsible for a civil war (was a fundamental part in the coup and the civil war that this coup unleashed) and head of a tough fascist dictatorship for 40 years. Nobody is going to forget history if that monument, visited only by fascists to exalt fascism, a perpetual insult to the victims, is demolished.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Exactly about what corruption cases are you talking about?
    Post #2 in this thread.
    It is not history (as we already talk in another discussion) is the homage to a dictator, directly responsible for a civil war (was a fundamental part in the coup and the civil war that this coup unleashed) and head of a tough fascist dictatorship for 40 years. Nobody is going to forget history if that monument, visited only by fascists to exalt fascism, a perpetual insult to the victims, is demolished.
    Every monument in history was an homage to some historical personality or event. It is history at this point, and it is best to leave it at that. But of course, to the militant far-left it is still all about the war that they lost in 30s. Your post is disturbingly similar to things one can hear from ISIS or other fundamentalist groups that want to destroy ancient monuments for being "pagan".

  8. #8
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    Post #2 in this thread.
    That post makes reference to the previous government ("MADRID — The stench of corruption clings to Spanish politics — and especially to the ruling Popular Party of Mariano Rajoy). At present, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) is governing

    Every monument in history was an homage to some historical personality or event. It is history at this point, and it is best to leave it at that. But of course, to the militant far-left it is still all about the war that they lost in 30s. Your post is disturbingly similar to things one can hear from ISIS or other fundamentalist groups that want to destroy ancient monuments for being "pagan".
    Nobody is going to forget the recent Spanish history because that monument is demolished. Do you agree or not?
    That monument is a clear insult to the hundreds of thousands of victims of fascism in Spain (many of them buried against their will there) and their descendants. Do you agree or not?

    A couple of facts. The current government is far from being leftist or sympathetic with the "far-left" and the only communist party in Spain is not part of the current government. The only purpose of this construction was to extol fascism (francoism) and the figure of a dictator.
    Last edited by mishkin; August 25, 2018 at 02:26 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    I don't understand the point of this thread. It's a nice building with a dubious past, every nation has such buildings and it's the duty of those nation'sto teach the history of these buildings while preserving them as historical legacies.

    It's no different from the tower of London in this regard.

  10. #10
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Have you read this thread?

    Could you tell me what you do not agree with or what you find confusing?
    Last edited by mishkin; August 25, 2018 at 02:41 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Have you read this thread?
    Yes and it's just some silly ranting. You can't hide history by demolishing it. You can argue we'd best bulldoze Auschwitz and hide it because thousands died to build it or demolish the great wall of china because the workers who built it where buried under it.

    lets remove every building in the world with a bad history and what do we leave future generations?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    Yes and it's just some silly ranting. You can't hide history by demolishing it. You can argue we'd best bulldoze Auschwitz and hide it because thousands died to build it or demolish the great wall of china because the workers who built it where buried under it.

    lets remove every building in the world with a bad history andwhat do we leave future generations?
    Everything else. The world is not just buildings.

  13. #13
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    rifleman, I really believe that it would be fruitful if you could re-read the opening post and my silly ranting. We are talking about a construction that offends millions of Spaniards nowadays and symbolizes the continuity of the Franco regime.

    "what do we leave future generations?" I live surrounded by monuments that do not offend anyone. Here (my city) there are only a few dedicated to the Franco regime, and are not at all the reason I know (more or less) the recent history of my country.
    Last edited by mishkin; August 25, 2018 at 02:57 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    rifleman, I really believe that it would be fruitful if you could re-read the opening post and my silly ranting. We are talking about a construction that offends millions of Spaniards nowadays and symbolizes the continuity of the Franco regime.
    So, how many millions exactly? Spain has a population of 46.5 Million people. Don't give me biased hyperbole, give me numbers.

    What continuity? Spain is democratic, has been for a long time and are you seriously suggesting this building could lead to a new fascist government?

    There is a disturbing trend in the left to destroy history they do not like in the same way ISIS and the Taliban liked to do. I read the post and I think, quite frankly, the whole idea is absurd and stupid.

    I repeat, you can not hide history, you can only teach it and try not to repeat it.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    That post makes reference to the previous government ("MADRID — The stench of corruption clings to Spanish politics — and especially to the ruling Popular Party of Mariano Rajoy). At present, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) is governing
    So? There are still more important issues then trying to destroy historical heritage monuments.
    Nobody is going to forget the recent Spanish history because that monument is demolished. Do you agree or not?
    That monument is a clear insult to the hundreds of thousands of victims of fascism in Spain (many of them buried against their will there) and their descendants. Do you agree or not?

    A couple of facts. The current government is far from being leftist or sympathetic with the "far-left" and the only communist party in Spain is not part of the current government. The only purpose of this construction was to extol fascism (francoism) and the figure of a dictator.
    Why would you want to demolish the monument other then in an attempt to erase history? It is quite interesting (in a disturbing kind of way) how such opinion is very similar to the communist side of Spanish Civil War, which also damaged historical structures on purpose. The monument is simply ... monument, in dedication to people who died in that war, especially victims of Red Terror. The notion of destroying it is an insult to victims of communism. If you want to commemorate victims of fascism, then build one for that as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vanoi View Post
    Everything else. The world is not just buildings.
    Buildings are a significant part of human culture.

  16. #16
    caratacus's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abdülmecid I View Post
    That's a pretty weird reply, Caratacus, full of strawmen, whataboutisms and red herrings. Firstly, how is corruption relevant to the topic? Secondly, when did I say that the Valley of the Fallen should be demolished or that it threatens democracy? Nowhere, I think, as my comment was specifically referring to the army meddling in political affairs outside of its jurisdiction. The same applies to your third strawman about me supposedly claiming that reforming the monument will improve the efficiency of the Spanish democracy. Fourthly, do you seriously believe that this huge complex composed of abbeys, crucifixes and basilicas and functioning as a mausoleum for a dictator and the leader of a fascist party is not already political?
    No, the strawman is a Socialist government swept to office on the back of a huge political scandal which has rocked the Country, making this one of the first things on their agenda. The Left are redundant of any progressive thinking these day and this is a prime example. They choose to ignore all the issues affecting Spain today, the economy, corruption, immigration, Catalonia and instead focus on a past in which they themselves are seen as the sole victims and heroes. It is the failings of democracy that create extremism not monuments. This particular monument and complex, should certainly be used for a purpose that unites people and enjoy this wonderful setting, something entirely apolitical. But an idea of removing skeletons and turning it into some kind of symbol to keep painful memories alive, of a war that tor Spain apart and contributed to the start of a wider global war, isn't one of them. save that for a museum. If that is all this Socialist government has to offer the Spanish people at this difficult time, then the Country's problems will never be solved in the near future.

  17. #17
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    So, how many millions exactly? Spain has a population of 46.5 Million people. Don't give me biased hyperbole, give me numbers.
    The current government, representative of most of the Spaniards, is going to carry out an electoral promise. Does that seem enough popular support to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by 95thrifleman View Post
    What continuity? Spain is democratic, has been for a long time and are you seriously suggesting this building could lead to a new fascist government?
    I have never suggested that another coup d'etat could take place.
    It is in my opinion as innocent as sadly popular to think that the Franco regime (or any other system or ideology) ended abruptly the day of the death of the dictator. The Francoist judges continued in the courts, the Francoist politicians adapted (reluctantly) to the new democratic regime, and Francoist citizens continued to be Francoist. Much of the society remained Francoist to this day.

    But nothing better than an image, probably (or a hundred images if you want). This is El valle de los caidos, this is what you say is just history, just something nice, just a monument like the big ben

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Quote Originally Posted by Heathen Hammer View Post
    So? There are still more important issues then trying to destroy historical heritage monuments.
    and caratacus. That there are more important things to do does not mean that you can not do something as simple as this, much less means that doing this is wrong. By the way, those who are giving relevance to this are the Francoists and their heirs, not the current government. (and if someone is concerned that the government does not give absolute priority (for some reason) to the problem with Catalonia, the "residual" Francoism is one of the reasons that the Catalan pro-independence movement wield).
    Last edited by mishkin; August 25, 2018 at 03:31 PM.

  18. #18
    Vanoi's Avatar Dux Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Buildings are a significant part of human culture.
    So? Culture is much more than buildings

  19. #19

    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vanoi View Post
    So? Culture is much more than buildings
    Buildings are significant part of it, and historically speaking in many cases - the only part that remains. Hence why it is very important to preserve old buildings and any deliberate attempt at destroying old structures should be equated to crime against humanity, which it really is.

  20. #20
    mishkin's Avatar Comes Limitis
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    Default Re: Franco's Mausoleum upsets Spain, again.

    Yes, without a doubt, Spain will be left without monuments or historic buildings if we remove all those who pay tribute to our most recent dictator.

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