by Veljko Vlahović
With thanks to Georgia Weaver and Ray Hoff for suggesting and providing this extract from Veljko Vlahović's ‘Spanija, 1936-1939’…
Spain is not just a piece of time in the lives of those who fought on its soil. Spain is neither a random storm of history, nor its caprice. It is neither a myth nor a deity. Spain is a standing stone on which a fighting generation stood proudly.
Spain infused us with revolutionary enthusiasm and filled our hands with battles and our hearts with burning desires. She loaded us with gifts: faith in herself and others beside her, disdain for suffering, wounds, and death.
Despite the defeat, Spain remained an eternally lit beacon on the path of struggle, a torch that fascism temporarily extinguished.
Spain is spilled blood, and we, her fighters, bear eternally fresh blood from her wounds that cannot coagulate.
Spain is a threatened beauty, a song that today is silent. For us, Spain is not a memory that slowly covers the veil of oblivion. Nor is it the melancholy of youthful love. It is an inexhaustible source of the revealed beauty of the struggle for a more humane humanity.
Spain is a stopped fight, a prison built of stones of ruined dungeons, the dilapidated gate of victory, enslaved freedom.
Spain is the agony of human prehistory, human misdeeds. It is a pine that is whipped by storms, truth surrounded by silence and lies. Spain is a truth that cannot be silenced for long, just as time cannot be buried, nor can the wheel of history be stopped.
Spain is an unsung song, a guitar whose strings will bring out a new wonderful melody. Spain is one of tomorrow's awakenings. Her lowered, clenched fist today will soar towards the sky tomorrow. New juices of life grow out of her defeat and suffering.
Our faith is deep in Spain, in its people, in its songs, in its longings, in its awakenings, in the wishes of its people to be in the first ranks of builders of a better world.
The day will come when Spain will turn to its working man, when it will load the burdens of courage, solidarity and human pride in its docks.
Veljko Vlahović (1914-1975) was a prominent member of the Montenegrin branch of the Yugoslav Communist Party from 1935. He studied in Belgrade, Prague, the Sorbonne (Paris) and Moscow. He fought in the Spanish Civil War and during the Second World War he directed the Free Yugoslavia radio. In 1944 he became editor of the Yugoslav communist daily, Borba. He also served as a Deputy Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia.