On Wednesday February 29, 2012 I had the privilege of watching a documentary called La Roca (The Rock), a movie about the history of Gibraltar, with the director Raul Santos. Raul flew to Spain from New York to show us his new movie that premiered last December (and has already won many awards), and to give us a personnel tour of Gibraltar last Friday with students from Sevilla, Gibraltar, and La Linea (Spanish Students bordering Gibraltar).
Trailer for La Roca
Wow, pretty impressive right? How did I get hooked up with this gig?
I am part of a group with my school that learns about the other realities of Spain. We peak behind the tourist traps and the beauty that masks this country to peer into hidden lives and real issues in Spain.
If you don’t know anything about Gibraltar, in short, it is a British territory in southern Spain which controls the passage into the Mediterranean. For many decades Spain has wanted Gibraltar to be part of its country, but all the people living in the territory want to remain British Citizens.
Everything was fine between the two countries and they lived in harmony until Spain’s dictator, Francisco Franco, in the 1960’s/1970’s completely sealed the border. He also created a ton of propaganda claiming Gibraltar ought to be Spain’s however, nothing worked. Gibraltar did not want to change its nationality even though their lives became difficult and it only created hatred between the two territories.
The Situation Today
It’s complicated. The hatred remains but not many people know the history. Gibraltar is beautiful, its economy is booming (the cheapest house is around $500,000), and everyday thousands of Spaniards cross the border to work. Raul, with his movie, is trying to amend the relations and create peace between the two nations but it is a slow process. Gibraltar seems to want to get along with Spain but most Spaniards as a result of Franco’s propaganda still think Gibraltar ought to be Spain’s.