Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Spanish Civil War anniversary- Wales' contribution

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, where around 169-177 people from Wales volunteered to fight against fascism in Spain. It was a brutal war, and it is widely thought to be the prelude to what was to come latert - the Second World War. The Spanish Civil War saw the first mass aerial bombing of a town at Guernica. It also saw the menace of fascism unleashed against the people of Europe. Franco, Mussolini and Hitler used it as a dress rehearsal.

I have always been encouraged by the example that the Welsh miners and other workers set by volunteering to fight for a democracy they had never visited. The fact that seven men went from my home patch, Penygraig, makes it a story that has great local significance too.

There are several memorials to the volunteers across Wales. However, the Welsh and other international contingents' participation in the Spanish Civil War is an underlooked part of history, yet it is so remarkable. There is a national memorial to the volunteers outside the South Wales Miners Library, but there is no memorial that names all of the dead or all of those that went.

With this in mind I am calling for a national permanent memorial to be installed at the Senedd. This would ensure that the brigadistas from Wales are commemorated for defending democracy at the heart of Welsh democracy. I am hoping that other Assembly Members support this idea.


george said...

I have difficulty understanding the republican side of the spanish civil war and the attitude especially of the catalans. I am of spanish cuban decent and when i went to spain I spent a great deal of time in barcelona. the catalans as is well known hate Franco and I understand why..but they support and are enamored of current leaders such as Hugo Chavez, the castro brothers from cuba..this I dont understand..these current leaders are also dictators, albeit of the left, but subscribe to government control, control of the press and free speech as well as total economic control..there is no difference from a communist or fascist dictator..both seek to control completely the human spirit. I admire the catalans for there industry, hard work and drive to be successful but they think illogically when it comes to politics. I asked several catalans why the admire these leftist repressive leaders and theie answers were because these leaders are a thorn in the side of the usa..I find this reasoning imature and dangerous and one of envy towards a country that in the past 100 years saved europe from total disaster and collaspe (WW1 and WW2), invented space travel, pushed the frontiers of medicine, invented the internet ect. as they say is spanish "tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are"..the catalans can go on hating franco but they should watch their backs..they could find themselves under communist rule with no freedom of expression, religion and a lack of the wealth they have worked so hard to achieve

george diaz, m.d.
miami beach florida

Anonymous said...

If there were to be a memorial it should be to all those who fought in the conflict, there were those from Wales who fought for Franco, largely because they felt they were defending Christian Civilisation by doing so. The Republicans had only themselves to blame for this by failing to prevent the atrocities of the far left volunteers who regarded priests, monks, nuns, and ordinary faithful catholics as legitimate targets. My own personal view is that I am deeply ashamed that Welshmen fought alongside such individuals and in some cases might have taken part in such atrocities, whilst on the other hand, however much one may disapprove of Franco in many ways, he did save Spain from Communism and was in no way associated with the excesses of Nazism, which I think he genuinely detested.