The hillsides ring with “free the people”/Or can I hear the echoes from the days of ’39?/With trenches full of poets/The ragged army, fixin’ bayonets to fight the other line.
-The Clash, “Spanish Bombs”
Now fading out of memory, the Spanish Civil War was the most romantic of conflicts, when literary greats like Hemingway and Orwell joined thousands of volunteers from around the world to fight fascism. It was a war for idealists, intellectuals, and the confused. Today, icons and signs from that conflict continue to flicker in Montreal, as a new generation searches for symbols of a better world.
During last month’s protests, small but lively bands of communists and anarchists punctuated the long processions filing down Sherbrooke. Some waved red flags, others black ones, in a mini-re-creation of a Spain from long ago.