Crowds laud the heroes of 1936-9

Post date: 04/07/2016

From the Morning Star of 4 July 2016…


Hundreds gathered on London’s South Bank at the weekend to pay tribute to the International Brigades of the Spanish civil war.


In poetry, music and words they remembered the 2,500 volunteers, of whom 526 gave their lives, from Britain and Ireland who defended the elected Popular Front government of the Spanish Republic against the fascist forces of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini.


Actor Maxine Peake was moved to tears while reading Cecil Day Lewis’s The Volunteer.


A line from the poem — “Our open eyes could see no other way” — is inscribed on the memorial to the International Brigades in Jubilee Gardens, where the commemoration took place.


There was music from folk duo na-mara, Spanish rapper Perro Lobo and two of the cast of Dare Devil Rides to Jarama, a new play about the International Brigades by Neil Gore that begins a British tour in September.


The play has been commissioned by the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), which organised Saturday’s event.

Speakers noted that this was the 80th anniversary of the start of the Spanish civil war on July 18 1936.


IBMT secretary Jim Jump said that the volunteers had set an example of international solidarity and of fighting for a just cause that continues to inspire people today in their campaigns for social justice and against fascism and racism.


Paul Preston, internationally renowned historian of the war in Spain, stressed the deep and lasting emotional and political impact that the war had left on all those who had fought on the side of the Spanish Republic.


Only one British veteran of the International Brigades survives: Stan Hilton, aged 98, a former merchant seaman from Newhaven, Sussex, who lives in a nursing home near Melbourne, Australia.


For photos of the event see:


Posted 4 July 2016

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