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Friday May 04, 2012 20:13 by Basque Dublin - Dublin Irish Basque Solidarity Committee basquedublin at gmail dot com
Over one hundred and fifty people attended the of Gernika bombing 75th anniversary commoration in Dublin on April 27th
A large crowd attended to hear two knowledgeable speakers on the Spanish Civil War last weekend on the day after the anniversary of the bombing of the Basque historic town on Gernika.
After the speeches Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee supporters sold "pintxos" (Basque snacks) and solidarity merchandise was available from their stall and from that of Anti-Fascist Action, while Antifa DJ provided music.
Over 150 people attended the Dublin club of one of the Irish teaching unions in order to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of the Basque town of Gernika by the Nazi Condor Legion, serving the fascist Spanish Army. The Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee had organised an evening of talks, music and pintxos (Basque snacks).
People were already arriving prior to the doors opening at seven that evening. A half an hour later, Joanne Mac Donald introduced herself as the event’s chairperson and welcomed the audience on behalf of the Committee, then introduced Enda McGarry, a man who had studied much about the Spanish Civil War. Speaking for half an hour and using many contemporary references as well as giving military and political details about the events, McGarry demonstrated in conclusive manner that the bombardment was due to an mistaking it for the Rentaría Bridge but rather that the bombers’ target was precisely the town of Gernika. He showed contempt for some alleged historians who still, in the face of all the evidence, try to obscure this simple fact.
McGarry painted a painful picture of scenes during the bombing and of the effect of the incendiary bombs and proved that for the Nazis of the Condor Legion of the German air force, the Luftwaffe, the bombing was an experiment in terrorising civilians and in destruction of cities. It was McGarry’s opinion that Von Richtofen did not share his planned destuction of property with the spanish fascist military but that in the massacre of civilians the latter were accomplices before and after the fact.
Speaking in his turn, Harry Owens, another man who has spent many years studying the history of the Spanish Civil War, drew comparisons between the bombardment of civilians in wars today. He also drew on details and on historical references to show how the Spanish military lied about the events, endeavouring to blame the Basques, and how the authorities in the West were prepared to believe the fascist leadership. Owens also gave the lie to the claim that the military rebellion against the Popular Front government had anything to do with any Christian crusade as in those times Basque society was one of the most observing Catholic societies within the Spanish state. Owens blamed the governments of France, England and of the United States for their policy of non-intervention which made them in effect into accomplices.
During contributions from the audience, a man from Cantabria described the bombing of Santander which occurred prior to that of Gernika. A Dubliner from the International Brigades Association (and son of one of the international volunteers) spoke of the importance of the Basque resistance and of how important it was to the fascist military to crush it. Another Dublin spoke of the importance of putting these historical events into a current context, declaring that the resistance of the Basques continues today, although no longer under the leadership of the Basque Nationalist Party; that the fascism of the Spanish state continues today too under a veneer of democracy and that two hours’ flight away from Dublin the repression, detentions and torture continues and with more than 700 political prisoners out of a population of less than three million.
At the conclusion of this part of the event, a DJ from Antifa Dublin began to play Ska and Reggae music and the audience began to buy solidarity material of Basque or general anti-fascist nature, to purchase pintxos, to drink, talk and dance.
A spokesperson of the Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee commented afterwards: “You never know until the last minute how things are going to turn out but we’re happy that this went well. We had disseminated flyers and used the Internet, mobile texts, Facebook, etc. Although we lost some of our posters enough people nevertheless learned to pack the place out with people from a wide range of ideological backgrounds.
“Through the cultural and political events that we organise we always want to raise the consciousness of people in Ireland about what is going on in the Basque Country and to move them to demonstrate their solidarity in concrete acts.”