A new year message from IBMT President Marlene Sidaway...
Dear IBMT member,
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the IBMT. During our first years I was constantly asked ‘Why? There can’t be many International Brigade veterans left now.’ This absolutely convinced me that we had done the right thing in joining together the remaining veterans and Friends of the International Brigades group, who felt they had been excluded – particularly their families – from the International Brigade Association because the IBA was for veterans only.
The veterans were adamant that they never regretted their decision to go and fight fascism in Spain and felt that it was important to remember their comrades, over 500 of whom had died in Spain and many more had sustained life-changing injuries. The conflict changed all their lives.
Many of you have been loyal members and supporters of the IBMT since those early days, and we have welcomed over 1,000 more members during that time. We should all be proud of the work and support we have given to make our Trust the successful and important historical memorial organisation it has become.
Recent world events have made it clear that fascism is still present and increasing in our time. This is why the IBMT, by highlighting the example of the volunteers who went to Spain, needs to support the fight against fascism and for justice and equality, which the Brigaders began more than 80 years ago.
Marlene Sidaway, IBMT President, as well as actress and partner of the late International Brigader David Marshall (1916-2005). She's pictured here speaking at the IBMT’s 2019 annual commemoration in Jubilee Gardens, London (Photo: Andrew Wiard).
So, please continue to support us by renewing your membership, by becoming a ‘Friend’, or by donating whatever you can to help us remember the Brigaders. It is vital that their memory is kept alive.
During the lockdown perhaps you have re-read the books about the Spanish Civil War which inspired you to join us in the first place. Maybe you’ve had a clear-out and found treasures of personal letters and diaries from the Spanish Civil War in bequeathed boxes. Yes, this has happened!
During the past year we have managed to arrange some meetings and commemorations within the restrictions which the pandemic has forced upon us.
Our work has continued online, on social media and on our website.
Our merchandise is being revamped, the eNewsletter goes out regularly with up-to-date news and information and of course our thrice yearly magazine ¡No Pasarán! is our flagship publication.
We have a brilliant team doing this work, including our Executive Officer Ajmal Waqif and our Trustees. Your continued support and encouragement has enabled us to do all this, and I can’t thank you enough.
Sadly, the events of 2020 prevented us from meeting in the ways we have enjoyed and valued during the past 20 years. I hope 2021 will be a better year or us all, allowing us to meet our friends and resume our planned commemorative events as soon as possible.
All good wishes to you and all your loved ones.
Posted on 11 January 2020.