Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bob Doyle- the last Irish International Brigader- SALUD!

I had the honour of meeting the late Bob Doyle on two seperate occasions, the first time was at the commemoration to the end of the battle of the Ebro at Corbera del Ebro a few years ago. The last time was when in 2005 he unveiled the commemorative monument to his dear IRA friend and comrade Kit Conway in the small Tipperary village of Burncourt County Tipperary. Bob was the last surviving Irish combatant on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War when he died.
Bob Doyle passed away in London on Thursday, aged 92, after a short illness.
Doyle was born in Dublin on February 12, 1916, shortly before the Easter Rising, and became politically active himself in the 1930s, joining the IRA after being beaten up in street fights with the Blueshirts which left him with permanent damage in one eye.
But he quickly became more interested in social issues and, in 1937, decided to volunteer for the International Brigade, motivated in part by the fact that his former flat-mate Kit Conway had been killed in action at the Battle of Jarama on Doyle's 21st birthday.
He was foiled in his initial attempts, arrested and expelled from Valencia after he had stowed away on a boat. Undeterred, he eventually made it back to Spain later that year by crossing the Pyrenees.
Initially deployed to train new volunteers, as a result of his IRA experience, he disobeyed orders in order to join a group heading for the front line. After engaging in battle at Belchite, he was taken prisoner by Italian fascist troops on the Aragon front in March 1938, along with Irish International Brigade leader Frank Ryan.
He was imprisoned for 11 months in a concentration camp established in the disused monastery of San Pedro, near Burgos, where he was regularly tortured by Spanish fascist guards and interrogated by the German Gestapo and, once, taken out to be shot.
Released as part of a prisoner exchange deal, Doyle enlisted in the British Merchant Navy for the duration of the Second World War before settling in London with his Spanish wife Lola.
Active until the very end, Doyle was a regular visitor to both his native Ireland and to Spain for International Brigade commemorations and, in 1996, along with all other survivors of the Brigades, was offered Spanish citizenship. He delivered his last speech at the rededication of Belfast’s International Brigade memorial on November 8.
He published an account of his experiences in Brigadista – An Irishman's Fight Against Fascism in June 2006, launched by Michael D Higgins and Ronnie Drew.
Since Michael O'Riordan's passing in May of that year, Doyle had been the last surviving Irish combatant in the International Brigade
Bob Doyle is survived by his sons Bob and Julian, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Bob’s Funeral will be held in LONDON at GOLDERS GREEN CREMATORIUM, HOOP LANE NW11 on Tuesday, 10th February, at 11.00 a.m.

The family have requested no flowers, but donations in Bob’s memory to be sent to the International Brigade Memorial Trust, which is very good of them.

Following that, family members plan to come to Dublin where on Sat 14th Feb we will
celebrate the lives of Bob and his comrades of the International Brigades, starting at
12 noon from the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square,proceeding down O'Connell Street, and turning left along the Liffey to Liberty Hall, where a wreath will be laid at the plaque with the names of 60 Irish Brigaders who died in Spain.

Liberty Hall is booked , in the centre of Dublin, for a reception, with speeches,
songs and music, hopefully a film or two, and the gathering of all the many friends and
relatives of Bob and his comrades. Speakers from Madrid are expected, and we ask
all coming to bring your banners.

Please pass on this message to all interested,

No PasarĂ¡n

Friday, January 9, 2009

Courageous Palestinian Girl faces down Israeli Goons

Incredible footage out of Gaza that shows Huwaida Arraf, a young Palestinian girl - who has the advantage of speaking perfect English - standing between two Israeli goons and a crowd of demonstrators. The zionist soldiers clearly don't know what to do as the TV cameras are on them.

Whats the betting that if they hadn't been there then this girl would probably be as dead as the countless thousands of other Palestinians who have lost their lives since Israel was established through in effect the theft of lands owned and occupied by the indigenous Palestinian people

We don't get to see many heroines these days so if you want to know what one looks like, just glance at the face in the photograph on the left.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza...Campaigners Condemn the Israeli Violence

The violent actions by the Israeli government arouse nothing but disgust and sadness in me. Once again, in the absence of a countervailing political and economic power to deter such actions, Israel, the viscious cats-paw of US imperialism, can act with apparent impunity against defenceless Palestinian civilians,women, children, the elderly. Claiming that they are 'targeting' their air-borne rocket and bomb and artillery violence, in one of the most densely populated places in earth is quite simply ludicrous ...I have no doubt that in the absence of a progressive counter-weight, as once was represented by the USSR, that the zionists will continue their aggression unrestrained.

Only popular mass action, through boycotts and protest can slow this murderous juggernaut.
Every time the Israeli bombers drop explosives on innocents in Gaza, they dishonour the memories of the innocents killed in the nazi holocaust. They have become their own worst nightmare, and what is most that they appear to be unaware of the brutal similarities between themselves and the inhuman heartless beasts who tormented and cruelly murdered so many of their ancestors.