AERIAL ATTACK OF THE BASQUE TOWN OF GERNIKA

 

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Bombing of Gernika

 

 By Ainhoa Aristizabal
 Music: Tomorrow is Genesis

The bombing of Guernika (26 April 1937) was an aerial attack on the Basque town of Guernika during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government by its allies, the German air force’s Condor Legion and the Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name: Operation Rügen.

The bombing is considered one of the first raids on a defenseless civilian population by a modern air force.

The number of victims of the attack is still disputed; the Basque government reported 1,654 people killed. Russian archives reveal 800 deaths on 1 May 1937, but this number may not include victims who later died of their injuries in hospitals or whose bodies were discovered buried in the rubble.

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The bombing was the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso. It was also depicted in a woodcut by the German artist Heinz Kiwitz, who was later killed fighting with the International Brigades. The bombing shocked and inspired many other artists, including a sculpture by René Iché, one of the first electroacoustic music pieces by Patrick Ascione, of a musical composition by René-Louis Baron and a poem by Paul Eluard (Victory of Guernica). There is also a short film from 1950 by Alain Resnais entitled Guernica (watch below).

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Pablo Picasso’s Gernika

The Spaniards know all too well that “The Guernika” belongs in Euskal Herria.  Picasso said it clear, the painting was not to be back in Spain until democracy had been restored.

 

220px-Dolores002The Soviet Union helped the fight against fascists by sending tanks and humanitarian aid to Gernika.  Dolores Ibarruri (aka La Pasionaria), a Basque of Russian descent was one of the key figures in the fight against the fascists. She died in the Soviet Union.

On December 25, 1991, the Soviet hammer and sickle flag lowered for the last time over the Kremlin, thereafter replaced by the Russian tricolor. Earlier in the day, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned his post as president of the Soviet Union, leaving Boris Yeltsin as president of the newly independent Russian state.

Ibárruri  (9 December 1895 – 12 November 1989) — known as “La Pasionaria” (Spanish, “the Passionflower“) — was a Basque  Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War and communist politician. She is perhaps best known for her defense of the Second Spanish Republic and the famous slogan ¡No Pasarán! (“They Shall Not Pass”) during the Battle of Madrid. She died on November 12, 1989 (aged 93).

She became a revolutionary militant, joining the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) when it was founded in 1921. In the 1930s, she became a writer for the PCE publication Mundo Obrero, and was elected to the Cortes as a PCE deputy for Asturias in February 1936 during the Second Republic. After her exile from Spain at the end of the Spanish Civil War, she was appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain, a position she held from 1942 to 1960. She was then named honorary president of the PCE, a post she held for the rest of her life. Upon her return to Spain in 1977, she was reelected as a deputy to the Cortes for the same region she had represented during the Second Republic. She is usually regarded as one of the greatest public speakers of the 20th century.

Ibárruri was born to a Basque miner and a Castillian mother. She grew up in Gallarta, but later moved to Somorrosto in the Basque Country. Gallarta was located next to a large siderite mine which became the second-most important in Europe during the 1970s and which shut down permanently in 1993. She attended the municipal school as soon as she could talk. The curriculum was basic and mainly religious; discipline was harsh. Outside she and the other children sang revolutionary ditties, played pranks and took part in rival gang fights. A willful child, she was taken at the age of ten by her mother to the Church of San Felicisimo in Deusto in the Basque Country  to be exorcized.

Monday 26 April was market day; there were more than 10,000 people in the former Basque capital. Generally speaking, a market day would have attracted people from the surrounding areas to Guernika to conduct business. Market days consisted of local farmers bringing in their crops to sell to the village people. They would bring the crops of the week’s labour to the main square, which is where the market was held. The raid also took place on a Monday, ordinarily a market day in Guernika.

There is a historical debate over whether a market was being held that particular Monday; prior to the bombing, the Basque government had ordered a general halt to markets to prevent blockage of roads, and restricted large meetings. It is accepted by most historians that Monday “…would have been a market day”.

James Corum states that a prevalent view about the Luftwaffe and its Blitzkrieg operations was that it had a doctrine of terror bombing, in which civilians were deliberately targeted in order to break the will or aid the collapse of an enemy. After the bombing of Guernika in 1937 and of Rotterdam in 1940, it was commonly assumed that terror bombing was a part of Luftwaffe doctrine. During the interwar period the Luftwaffe leadership officially rejected the concept of terror bombing, and confined the air arms use to battlefield support of interdiction operations.

The Condor Legion was entirely under the command of the Nationalist forces. The order to perform the raid was transmitted to the commanding officer of the Condor Legion, Oberstleutnant Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, from the Spanish Nationalist Command.

During this time, Ibárruri had six children. Of her five girls, four died very young. She “used to relate how her husband made a small coffin out of a crate of fruit.”  Her son, Rubén, died at twenty-two in the Battle of Stalingrad. The remaining child, Amaya, outlived her mother. In 2008 Amaya resided in the working-class neighbourhood of Ciudad Lineal in Madrid.

In the months before the Spanish Civil War, she joined the strikers of Cadavio mine in Asturias and stood beside poor tenants evicted in a suburb of Madrid. Around this time, Federico García Lorca, La Pasionaria and friends were chatting and sharing a coffee in a Madrid cafeteria when Lorca, who had been studying Ibárruri’s appearance, told her, “Dolores, you are a woman of grief, of sorrows…I’m going to write you a poem.”  The poet returned to Granada and met his death at the hands of the Nationalists before completing the task.

Guernica (1950) Part 1 – Alain Resnais & Robert Hessens (English and Spanish Subtitles)

 

 

*(English and Spanish Subtitles)*On April 26 1937 the small Basque town of Guernica was bombed without warning by the German aviation. Two thousand people, all civilians, got killed. Like millions all over the world, Pablo Picasso was shocked and he translated his emotion into a magnificent but terrifying picture bearing the name of the martyred city. This film does not only comment on the painting, it also gives it a new life through frantic camera and sound effects.

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French cinematographer Alain Resnais

Guernica (1950) Part 2 – Alain Resnais & Robert Hessens (English and Spanish Subtitles)

 

Dolores Ibarruri (farewell to the International Brigades)

 

 

 

 

 

The Postal Service announce concert film, vinyl edition of Give Up

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The Postal Service’s 2013 reunion tour will be chronicled in a new feature-length documentary. Entitled Everything Will Change, the film captures the band’s two-night stand at the Greek Theater in Berkley, California in July 2013, along with interviews and backstage footage of the band. Justin Mitchell served as director.

On November 14th, Everything Will Change will be screened for one-night only in select AMC theaters across the US, with a DVD and Blu-ray release following on November 24th through Sub Pop Records.

Below, watch the film’s trailer.

 

 

 

Also on November 24th, Sub Pop will issued The Postal Service’s seminal LP, Give Up, as a single vinyl LP for the first time.

Everything Will Change Tracklist:
“The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
“We Will Become Silhouettes”
“Sleeping In”
“Turn Around”
“Nothing Better”
“Recycled Air”
“Be Still My Heart”
“Clark Gable”
“Our Secret” (Beat Happening cover)
“This Place Is a Prison”
“A Tattered Line of String”
“Such Great Heights”
“Natural Anthem”
“(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan”
“Brand New Colony”

Special Features:
“Such Great Heights” Music Video (directed by Josh & Xander)
“We Will Become Silhouettes” Music Video (directed by Jared Hess)
“The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” Music Video (directed by Cobra Kai)
“A Tattered Line of String” Music Video (directed by AB/CD/CD)
“The Postal Service Auditions” (directed by Tom Scharpling)
“The Postal Service: In Their Own Words” (directed by Tom Scharpling)

Everything Will Change Screenings:

Burbank Town Center 6
770 North 1st Street, Burbank
Burbank, CA 91501

Empire 25
234 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

Metreon 16
2325 101 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Pacific Place 11
600 Pine Street, 4th floor
Seattle, WA 98101

River East 21
322 East Illinois Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Boston Commons 16
175 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111

Cherry Hill 24
2121 Route 38
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Georgetown 14
3111 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Mission Valley 20
1640 Camino Del Rio, North
San Diego, CA 92108

Northpark 15
8687 N. Central Expressway, Suite 3000
Dallas, TX 75225

 

Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ Tour Documentary Premieres in Toronto

ROGER WATERS - THE WALL

ROGER WATERS – THE WALL

Special Presentations | United Kingdom | Roger Waters, Sean Evans | 133 minutes
Sun, Sept 14 at 8:30pm –  Scotiabank Theatre
Festival Box Office NOW OPEN Sept4-14 7am-7pm
Pink Floyd bassist and vocalist Roger Waters has premiered his tour documentary Roger Waters: The Wall at the Toronto Film Festival.The documentary was shot by Waters himself alongside director Sean Evans and shows footage from between 2010 and 2013, when the singer was touring Pink Floyd’s seminal 1980 double album across the world.

A synopsis by Toronto International Film Festival director Piers Handler says the following about the documentary: “Ever since The Wall was released, it has become one of the classic rock albums of all time. Its popularity continues and its message is still timely. Deeply affected by his father’s and grandfather’s deaths in the two world wars, Roger Waters has crafted a plea to tear down the walls that lead to misunderstandings and wars. This powerful performance film allows Roger to explore what The Wall still means to him as he performs it in front of tens of thousands of fans, and visits more personal places that resonate with meaning on the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.”

The film itself runs for 133 minutes and will be shown twice more in Toronto, however a worldwide release date is yet to be confirmed. The ‘sound’ credit on the film, meanwhile, is attributed to regular Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich.As the Toronto Sun reports, Waters also took part in a Q&A session after the screening, commenting on various aspects of ‘The Wall’s continued endurance. Addressing this issue, Waters stated, “I think people are sick and tired of being told that the most important thing in their life is commerce and the new this and the new that. I think people are probably ready to go now, ‘Well, all of that rhetoric lead us to lob bombs over the top of the wall, that divides society ecologically, economically, philosophically and politically, from all our fellow human beings. And we no longer want to be told by our political leaders that they are scum and that we are great. ‘So that I believe that it may be we’re no longer interested in the ‘us and them’ form of political philosophy that we’ve been fed on for the last couple of 1,000 years and that we may be ready to move into a new place.”Roger Waters also celebrated his 71st birthday at the event.