Monday, April 28, 2008

The Lawyers of Atocha

Our "hostal" in Madrid was on Calle Atocha, just a few blocks up from el Museo del Prado. Up Atocha further is small square in the middle of which is a monument to "Los Abogados de Atocha."

These brave lawyers were murdered in connection with labor demonstrations in 1977. I love the statue: professionals dressed for work, but with overcoats because they are outside their offices, in a circle, arms over one-another's shoulders, the way team-mates on a soccer field embrace. But it is not a game they are playing. I love the joy and solidarity that the statue shows, and I was not even able to see their faces from where I stood below. But I really didn't need to.

It made me so proud to be a lawyer.

But the statue is not necessarily of the lawyers embracing each other. The statue is known as "El Abrazo" by Juan Genoves. He did a painting on the same subject, prior to the murders, and the painting became an icon of the anti-Franco forces in Spain. When a movement arose to remember the lawyers with a monument and Genoves was asked to cast a statue, it was the painting that supplied the image. More here about El Abrazo.

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