Dolores Ibarruri – and Glasgow’s Spanish Civil War dead
“The City of Glasgow and the Labour Movement’s tribute to the British Volunteers of the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9; their fight against fascism is embodied in the statue of Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989), “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”), a heroine of their cause and a leader in the Spanish Republican and Communist movements. ” http://www.glasgowsculpture.com/pg_images.php?sub=lapasionaria
I’ve walked past La Pasionaria and wondered at her – arms outstretched to the heavens, imploring, and yet a figure of compelling strength and bravery.
And she serves as a reminder of our municipal shame too. Erected without ceremony for fear of arousing the ire of Conservative (and conservative) opponents in the Council – opponents who promised to demolish the sculpture if they got power (they never did get power of course). Her creator unable to travel from his native Liverpool to see her as the project had bankrupted him – in the end he didn’t have enough for the train fare to Glasgow… and Dolores told that the ceremony to unveil her statue had been ‘cancelled’.
53 Glaswegian volunteers died in the fight against Franco.
The War ended in 1939. Seventy years ago. But, it should be recalled, Franco’s regime still held power in Spain when the statue was commissioned…
Augustus in Shakepeare’s King John (Act II, Scene 1) says:
The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords, in such a just and charitable war.
I hope that it is.