«Where are you from comrade?» / Pedro A. García Bilbao

Posted on 2018/09/09


Traducción de los compañeros de Red London: In this centenary year, anti-fascists across the world have been marking the start of the Spanish Civil War and remembering the heroism of those who fought, including the International Brigades who answered the call to join the struggle against fascism. A Spanish comrade has shared with us this touching memory about the 50th anniversary:

1986, parliament. It was a great reception for the Brigadiers in Madrid. The room was packed. Some comrades, my brother and I were late, we were among the volunteers that were to accompany the Lincoln Brigade. When we entered the lobby there was an elderly couple, the man was strong and sturdy, white hair, his hands revealed a life of hard work. We stared at each other.

I asked him in English, «Where are you from comrade?» He looked me in the eye and said, «From Liverpool.» I hugged him while I said to him, «Thank you brother, thank you.» We held each other tightly while the tears came out irrepressibly.

We all hugged him. Everyone was crying. His wife could hardly react, she didn’t know what to do, she was very surprised, wondering what might have happened here for some strangers to act this way; we all greeted her politely and shook hands. She was moved and one could see the immense affection she had for her husband. We all came back to our senses quickly. They went out to take a taxi, I bid him farewell from the entrance and he responded with the raised fist salute.

I don’t know who he was. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know if he was a poet, a professor, or a longshoreman from the Liverpool docks, but I know he was our brother, and before examples like his I laugh at the nationalism and the stupidity that divide and pit peoples against one another. They are all dead now. The last British Brigadier passed away recently, I was with him at an event in the Ateneo. Be as it may, there are things that will never die because even if they fall into oblivion, they are born again in the new generation, as is the case with brotherhood and sacrifice for others, the hope of a better and fairer world for everyone.

Our task is to organise this brotherhood and to defend it. (Pedro A. García Bilbao)