Connect with us

Global Affairs

Spanish Civil War: Last surviving member of the International Brigades dies at 101 | News

Published

on

The international brigade volunteer Josep Almudéver, in Valencia, in an image from 2013.
The international brigade volunteer Josep Almudéver, in Valencia, in an image from 2013.JOSÉ JORDÁN

Josep Almudéver Mateu, a member of the International Brigades who fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, died May 23 at the age of 101 in France.

Born to Spanish parents who met in Marseille on the eve of World War I, Almudéver was one of the last survivors of the 45,000 volunteers who left their homes in 80 countries to fight against Francisco Franco’s armed forces that were backed by the German and Italian fascist regimes.

Sent to a concentration camp after Franco declared victory in 1939, he was forever haunted by the cries of his comrades shot while trying to escape. “I don’t know why, but they always made me watch the executions of those who attempted to escape from the concentration camp,” he told EL PAÍS in 2013. “I will never in my life forget the screams of the executed.”

Later, he would become a maqui – an anti-fascist guerrilla who carried on the fight against Franco until the early 1960s. In 1947, he was forced to flee to France and didn’t return to Spain until 1965.

INTERVIEW

Almudéver would later relate his experiences to schoolchildren, students and scholars in high schools and universities. His father was a bricklayer and a militant and Almudéver assumed the mantle of both. When the Civil War broke out, he was just 16 and living with his family in Alcásser, the town his father had fled to before running into his mother, herself on a circus tour, in France. To enlist in the Republican Army, Almudéver lied about his age. When he was discovered, he was sent home. Almudéver returned to the front nevertheless, where he was wounded. Once he recovered, he seized the opportunity to join up again, this time with the Garibaldi Brigade, and was accepted as a Frenchman, translator and combatant.

When the International Brigades disbanded and left Spain after a decision taken by the Non-Intervention Committee, Almudéver made his own way back to Valencia. A year later, as the war ended, he fled with his father to the port of Alicante where he was caught and sent to the Albatera concentration camp.

Two years ago, Almudéver was honored by the regional government of Valencia “for being a living example of the memory of a history that must be kept alive in order to move towards a fuller and fairer democracy,” as the minister of participation, transparency, cooperation and democratic quality, Rosa Pérez Garijo, said at the time.

By that stage, Almudéver stated that he preferred not to talk in terms of a civil war because, in his opinion, it was not an armed conflict between Spaniards but an “international” struggle; a war that involved many countries, if not “the whole world.”

The former soldier pointed out that Nazi troops from Germany and fascist troops from Italy took part on Franco’s side. “The biggest lie is that it was a civil war,” he said. Almudéver also pointed out that the fight of a militiaman “represents the will of the Spanish working people” and when he was embroiled in the conflict this was something he considered “had to be defended against the fascists, no matter what.”

He also recalled how the French authorities never delivered the weapons purchased by the Republican government, claiming that the Non-Intervention Committee would not allow it, according to a passage from his book The Non-Intervention Pact. Poor Republic. Memoirs of the militiaman and international brigader José Almudéver Mateu.

Almudéver’s testimony and that of seven other volunteers of the International Brigades was the focus of the Italian documentary The Last Will Be First, directed by Pasquale D’Aiello, which records the search between 2015 and 2018 for the last Republican volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

English version by Heather Galloway.

Source link

Global Affairs

Maradona Jr pleads for DNA donors in search for Argentina’s stolen babies | Diego Maradona

Published

on

Diego Armando Maradona Jr, son of the late Argentine football legend, is urging Italians to submit DNA to help the Argentinian government trace hundreds of children who were stolen and their parents murdered by the military junta that controlled the country four decades ago.

Maradona Jr is doing radio interviews in Italy and using his 400,000-strong social media following to broaden the search, which has already seen DNA testing programmes rolled out in Madrid and Rome.

The Argentine government believes dozens of children of the desaparecidos, the estimated 30,000 people kidnapped and murdered by the army during the dictatorship of the late 1970s and early 1980s, could have been taken to Italy after the fall of the junta.

During the dictatorship, pregnant women being kept prisoner were kept alive until they gave birth and then murdered. At least 500 babies were taken from their parents and given to childless military couples to raise as their own.

In March, the Argentine authorities and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo movement, which has been searching for the stolen children since 1977, launched an international right to identity campaign in order to find the missing identities of more than 350 children.

Maradona Jr poses by a poster for the right to identity campaign after he was granted Argentine nationality in March
Maradona Jr poses by a poster for the right to identity campaign. The poster reads: ‘help us find you. You may be one of the grandsons and granddaughters we are looking for.’ Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty

“The children of those victims are now between 40 and 45 years old,” said Ana de la Paz Tito, Argentina’s consul general in Rome. “To date, 130 children have been found. But 350 people are still missing and they could be anywhere in the world.”

Maradona Jr said: “The tragedy of the desaparecidos is one of the darkest chapters in human history. I am very proud to be able to assist the Argentinian authorities and associations in this important initiative as a way to carry on my father’s battle alongside relatives of the victims.”

In 2010, the football star sent a letter to the Nobel prize committee, requesting that the peace prize be awarded to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo. In the letter, Maradona wrote that the Grandmothers leading the crusade to identify the children of desaparecidos deserved to be recognised for their “untiring, peaceful and courageous struggle to achieve the return of children who were kidnapped in the name of state terrorism”.

Maradona Jr was a result of the footballer’s extramarital affair with Neapolitan singer Cristiana Sinagra and still lives in Italy, although he obtained Argentinian citizenship last year.

For more than two decades Maradona refused to take a DNA test to establish whether Diego was his son, but he formally recognised him in 2016 and the two reconciled and were close in the footballer’s final years.



Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban

Published

on

The European Parliament has lent political weight to an EU citizens’ petition to end farming of caged animals and force-feeding of ducks and geese to make fois gras pâté, putting pressure on the European Commission to table legislation. Forced-feeding was “cruel and unnecessary” and cages so small animals cannot stand or turn around were of “grave concern” MEPs said Thursday. Over 90 percent of EU-farmed rabbits are kept in cages.

Source link

Continue Reading

Global Affairs

Speculations Run Amok as Johnson Crashes ‘Awkward One-on-One’ Meeting Between Biden and Morrison

Published

on

World

Get short URL

The Australian prime minister held a meeting with the US president on the sidelines of the G7 summit in England, where the two agreed to work closely on “challenges” in the Indo-Pacific region, among other things.

Scott Morrison was hoping for a one-on-one meeting with US President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in the UK, however, event host, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson frustrated his plans by crashing their tête-à-tête.

The Australian prime minister was invited to this year’s G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall and was set to meet Biden in a bilateral setting.

When Morrison was asked why the supposed private meeting suddenly included a third party, the prime minister said “it was an opportunity that presented because we’re all here and so it was mutual”.

“We were particularly keen to have the discussion with both parties”, he added.

The incident has prompted great speculation as to why Morrison was unable to secure a bilateral meeting with the US president.

“This seemed to me like it was Boris Johnson stepping in what seemed like it might be a little awkward meeting, given Morrison’s full-on support for [former US President Donald] Trump”, Nikki Sava, a former adviser to ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard, told ABC’s Insiders.

Many others ventured that Johnson’s decision to make the meeting trilateral was motivated by a willingness to make discussions about climate change productive.

Labour’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Penny Wong called the prime minister’s inability to secure a face-to-face meeting with Biden “disappointing”, and suggested Morrison’s “stubborn refusal” to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 was damaging the country’s reputation on the world stage.

“Mr Morrison’s stubborn refusal to sign up to net zero emissions has left him isolated and left Australia isolated”, she said on Sunday.

Ex-Liberal opposition leader John Hewson, in turn, alleged Biden might “not be prepared to extend Morrison the privilege [of a one-on-one] given his indefensible irresponsibility and stubbornness on climate”.

Greens leader Adam Bandt, for his part, thinks the only reason why Morrison was invited to the G7 summit is so the heads of states and governments can rebuke him over Australia’s perceived inaction on climate change.

“Climate is a critical issue at this G7. It is the only game in town. When they sit down to discuss climate, Scott Morrison will be sitting at the kids’ table and I think part of the reason he’s been invited to this summit is so the rest of the world can give Australia a dressing down on climate”, Bandt told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Morrison has since rejected those claims, arguing that climate change was not a point of discussion for the meeting and would instead be a topic of conversation at Monday’s G7 Plus sessions. 

Following the trilateral meeting, Biden, Morrison, and Johnson issued in a joint statement, revealing they had “discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the Indo-Pacific region”.

Morrison later downplayed any suggestion of a diplomatic snub, describing it as “a meeting of great friends and allies who share a view on the world”.

“Australia has no greater friends than the United States and the United Kingdom. It was a great opportunity for my first meeting with the president. I’ve known Boris for many years, and there was a very easy understanding amongst the three of us”.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!