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Human Rights in Ireland >>
Spanish Civil War veteran says fight is just as intense today’
Friday September 22, 2006 14:07 by John Dunne - Connolly Forum connollyforum at eircom dot net Sligo. 071-9145490
From "Sligo Champion" 20th September 20006
THE Spanish Civil War veteran Mr. Bob Doyle told a public meeting organised by the Connolly Forum in Sligo this week that "the fight against those who put profit before people is just as intense today as it was 70 years ago."
Mr. Doyle, the sole surviving Irish veteran of the International Brigades said "some of you may wonder why a 90 year old veteran of a war that happened a long time ago in a far off country is here speaking to you today.
"Some of you who know a little about the Spanish Civil War may see it as a glamorous episode in working class history, when young poets and others fought and died in a foreign land for a noble cause.
"But I am not here to indulge in emotional memories, though I have many memories or comrades and events that affect me deeply.
"I am here to make you boil with anger; the powers that supported Franco in Spain are still active, and today their reach is global.
"The same U.S. Corporations that supplied Franco’s fascist forces with oil 70 years ago are today stealing oil from the Iraqi people.
"The British government that lied to the people while secretly giving financial credits and hypocritically allowing arms to be smuggled to the Spanish fascists is similar to the British government that lied about weapons of mass destruction and led the British people into a war in Iraq that they did not want
"Those who lie and cheat in order to hold on to power, who exploit child and slave labour in the Third World to make yet more profit, who torture, murder and massacre in defence of ‘their interests’ – they are still in control.
"Today we must make common cause with those in the Third World who are now in the front line, as Spain once was. Those who stand up to corporate global capitalism, like Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba, must be defended.
"Those whose greed would destroy our environment, with catastrophic consequences for humanity, must be defeated." said Mr. Doyle.
"The President of the Connolly Forum, Councillor Declan Bree, told the meeting: "It was seventy years ago this month that the first Irish anti-fascist volunteer arrived in Spain to participate in the heroic defence of Madrid. He was Bill Scott, who hailed from a very politically-conscious Dublin Protestant working-class family and whose father had fought in the 1916 Rising as a member of James Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army.
"Up to 275 other Irish volunteers, including Bob Doyle, were to follow him - men of all religions and none, drawn from the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish working-class traditions of our cities and towns and the Republican and Land League traditions of both town and country. They were, in the words of Christy Moore’s song "La Quince Brigada", which he wrote in honour of the 15th International Brigade "a brotherhood against the fascist clan".
"With the roll of honour of the Irish section of the International Brigades comprising atheist and Jew, a Church of Ireland clergyman and a former Irish Christian Brother, Communist activists, IRA veterans and a former Orangeman, the true Republican vision of Wolfe Tone was achieved in its ranks, the unity of Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter under the common name of Irishman.
"Like Bob Doyle, the Irish volunteers of the 15th International Brigade, many of them ill-prepared for the appalling conditions and carnage that awaited them, had nothing materially to gain by taking part in the struggle – their participation was based purely on ideology, a belief that they were fighting against the tide of Fascism sweeping Europe.
"Today, much has changed in Spain, Ireland and internationally, but Bob Doyle’s ideology and his belief in a better world remains.
"Today the threat comes, not from European fascism but from U.S. imperialism, neo-liberalism and the Bush administration.
"Over the past number of years, the U.S. regime has met resistance both at home and across the world, from both traditional enemies and sometime allies. Its foreign policy of unilateralism, militarism and pre-emptive war, shaped by the far-right has been discredited by the death, destruction and chaos it has wreaked in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The ‘war on terrorism’ has been exposed as a pretext based on lies, designed to serve US imperialist interests alone. The credibility of the administration continues to crumble as top officials are indicted or investigated for their part in promoting the criminal invasion and as revelations spiral concerning the use of illegal weapons, torture and eavesdropping on US citizens.
"Today in every corner of the world, in every country on the globe, the international movement for peace and democracy is opposing US imperialism, neo-liberalism and the Bush administration.
"Like the volunteers of the International Brigades, today’s activists come from different backgrounds, different nations, different cultures, with many religions and none. What we have in common is our firm belief in the liberation of humankind," Clr. Bree concluded.