Monday, July 14, 2014

Madrid: Spectral and Alive

76 and 77 years ago, the people living in Madrid were being attacked from the air and adjacent land. The city was pummeled with explosives -- bombs from airplanes, ground artillery and everything in between. Today, there are spectral traces of war still, yet the city is bursting with life -- and culture has endured.
Image: Madrid defenders firing at besieging fascist forces from the university library in 1937 - a twist in the use of library stacks. (Parapetos formados con sacos y libros de la Biblioteca. Link here).

My guess is that 99% of all sentient people now on Earth live within an hour of, by foot, horse, boat, ship, train, zeppelin, automobile or aeroplane, a battleground or battlefield -- places of war remaining from the past, unfolding in the present or coming in the future. If you don't think that's true where you live, look harder. If today you live in Palestine-Israel, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or one of many other such places around the world, you don't need to look at all.
From a little brochure about the Internationalist Brigades stationed in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, I learned that our hotel (Hotel Europa) was a hangout for the troops and their supports -- what's now the Café Restaurante Europa was, in 1936-1939, La Cerveceria Española (cerveza = beer). On November 16, 1936, the nearby metro station at Puerta del Sol suffered a direct hit from German and Italian aerial bombers. 
Tío Pepe sign now, in Puerta del Sol -- how about some nice sherry instead of another war?

Today's Rune: Partnership.    


Charles Gramlich said...

Never thought of that close to a battlefield idea but you're right. And that says something about us as a species I guess. Not a good thing.

Johnny Yen said...

Sherry sounds much better!

You'll recall that I have a long-standing interest in the Spanish Civil War and the International Brigades. I hope to go to Spain one day and see some of the places I've read about. Until then, these dispatches have been really enjoyable!

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks for the comments, dudes ~!

JY, definitely worth the Spanish gander ~ huzzah ~!

jodi said...

Erik-wine. Good, Spanish wine!