Monday, 19 October 2015

guerre civil

Indulging the counter-factual (supposing an alternate history) risks belittling suffering as it happened and building up for oneself a grasping sort of fantasy world, but in that split one also calls to account the calculated omissions and permissions of other powers. The Spanish Civil War that simmered to its critical point in 1936 is something incomprehensible, with long chains of causation reaching back generations and projected forward four decades and more with only drives attributed to make sense of the terrible and theatrical violence. I cannot claim to understand what each faction represented, but to the victor goes the spoils, like Qaddafi, who only reigned a slightly shorter period of time.
The unlearnt lessons of this war that was not contained to a domestic dispute are cemented with Picasso’s mural Guernica that distil the horrors of war that appears at the entrance to the United Nations’ Security Council chambers—at least, that is, from 1985 to 2009 with a notable veiling in 2003 during the Iraq War (when the American defence minister Colin Powell did not want to speak with backdrop of a mutilated horse’s ass) and afterwards the tapestry was sent on tour pending renovations. One is invited to imagine viscerally what befell the victims of this one arbitrary episode among many, but I think too that one is remembered as to how this conflict was also what we’d now call a proxy-war (though certainly not the first, nor the last). The struggle to take region, town by town, did not remain an internal affair for long, with Hitler and Mussolini almost immediately siding with the Nationalists, sending materiel that included the planes that bombed the quiet village of Guernica. British Gibraltar, through the UN’s predecessor that was supposed to prevent such escalations among members, placed an embargo, but with anti-Communist sentiments, did little to quell hostilities. Mexico and the USSR supported the Republicans but garnered a paucity of outside support. Whether the members of the future Axis Powers acted only out of ideology or wanted to destabilise the UK and France is unclear, but it seems as if other stances were assumed, with less entanglement and partisanship, the future might have played out very differently.