Report from the Oxford International Brigade Memorial Committee…
It's now three months since we unveiled our memorial to Oxfordshire’s 31 heroes who put their lives on the line to defend democracy in Spain in the International Brigades.
The memorial is a magnificent piece of artwork and a historic document, telling an important story, and located at one of Oxford’s busiest road junctions. Thousands of people pass it daily. Slowly it’s becoming an established part of the Oxford landscape.
That's good, but we need to remind people from time to time what the International Brigades were all about. So we hope that all progressive campaigning groups will use the International Brigade memorial as a rallying point; a place to congregate; and as a campaign location in Oxford.
We've already had a hugely successful demo in support of the NHS where we had Ken Loach and Aneira Thomas (the first baby born to the NHS in 1947) giving rousing speeches.
Please spread the word and use our memorial site for your demo; for your campaign; for your rally.
As for our Oxford International Brigade Memorial Committee, we will continue to raise funds to provide some seating on site – Oxford City Council at first objected to seating but we hope to persuade them to change their minds –and for some soft landscaping, for which there is unlikely to be much objection.
So where to now? The Oxford International Brigade Memorial Committee plan to hold an (at least) annual gathering at the memorial to rededicate ourselves to the spirit and memory of the International Brigades. Our present thoughts are to hold the event on the anniversary or thereabouts of the Guernica bombing, 26 April 1937.
Whilst the Brigades were not directly involved at Guernica, or in the Basque region of Spain, it is probably the single most understood and recognised event of the Spanish Civil War. It’s a date that avoids summer holidays and inclement winter weather and it will avoid clashing with the well established annual memorial event at the national IBMT memorial on the South Bank in London in July.
So what do you think? Our committee would really like to hear from you with your ideas for an annual commemoration or any other event or activity that you may care to share with us. Please do email with your ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally, if you would like to read a blow by blow account of the long and tortuous road to the eventually successful installation of the International Brigade memorial, go to: www.sustainablewoodstock.co.uk/ibmt.html
Posted on 25 September 2017.