Wednesday, November 16, 2005

There is no front - Madrid is the front

We are so fickle.

We make these bold announcements promising you all sorts of series and makeovers, but we never deliver. Horoscopes, gender transformations, bog stories. We write one entry and then we get bored with it.

See, my plan was to give you an account of the death of Durruti.

I would tell you first about the Nationalist Army of Africa, come all the way from Morocco to take Madrid. How the fierce Moors of the Spanish Foreign Legion, with knives between their teeth and supported from the air by the German Condor Legion, crossed the Manzanares River and fought their way into the University City street by street, building by building, floor by floor.

I would try to make a balanced account of the exceptional courage on both sides, but I would undoubtedly emphasize the comradeship and bravery of the Republican defenders.

The civilians: The chains of women and children who passed rocks for the construction of barricades. The fashionable Ritz Hotel con- verted into a field hospital, a shelter for refugees. The im- provised trade union militias: The metal workers’ battalion, the tailors’ battalion, the school- masters’ battalion, the graphic arts battalion.

And the International Brigades: The confusion of seventeen languages singing The International through the unceasing artillery and air bombardment. The 11th Brigade sent to defend the Hall of Philosophy. The company of Poles from the Dombrowski battalion who resisted to the last man in the French institute’s Casa de Velasquez.

And the Durruti Column: The dusty bands of unmanageable anarchists who entered the city directly from the Aragón front and were provided with Swiss 1886 model rifles bought by Russia with Spanish gold. The men who were promised ghost artillery and air support and sent by Russian military advisors on a frontal attack directly into the University City. The men who were driven back, cut down by Moroccan machine gun fire…

And then, in the middle of all this, the random absurdity of a stray bullet from a naranjero machine pistol caught on a car door.

I had planned to tell you all this, but of course in much more detail. Fortunately for you I realize that I am the only one who is interested in these things. Me and a whole bunch of loony leftists that I don’t want to be associated with.

So I’m going to spare you for now. You can thank me later.

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3 Comments:

Blogger ddd;a;al said...

[durruti] "through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, i have fought my way here to the manzanares river, beyond the university city to take back the freedom that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great. you have no power ove---" *splat*

[moroccan soldier #647]"i say, does anyone want to play a game of scrabble?"

1:07 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

There were immediately a whole bunch of rumors explaining his death:

* He was killed by a Nationalist sniper.

* He was killed by one of his own, an "uncontrollable" - tired with the discipline of indiscipline doctrine.

* He was killed by the Russian NKVD.

* The Cubans did it.

* Lee Harvey Oswald did it, acting on his own.

* It was an elaborate suicide.

5:35 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...

And Sausie?

Madrid is not the castle beyond the goblin city.

It is a place where, long ago, a decisive battle between progress and reaction was fought, and progress lost.

International fascism was not defeated, and so Europe - and the entire world - fell beneath a totalitarian ice age.

We are still in it, if you haven't noticed.

5:49 pm  

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