Thursday, March 26, 2015

ISIS Fighters are the New International Brigadistas

Oh darn. She had such a bright future in England.

From 1936 to 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, 2,000-4,000 Britons went to fight for the Republicans--the anti-Franco forces that eventually lost. The standard narrative is that these were the good guys. George Orwell, Stephen Spender and all that. The standard narrative is wrong.

Read Homage to Catalonia, especially the first section. Orwell, who would become famous for describing a totalitarian Hell in his 1984 a few years later, described a totalitarian Hell in Barcelona. But here he was in favor of it:
Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags or with the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost every church had been gutted and its images burnt. Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs of workmen. Every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said 'Señor' or 'Don' or even 'Usted'; everyone called everyone else 'Comrade' and 'Thou', and said 'Salud!' instead of 'Buenos días'. Tipping was forbidden by law since the time of Primo de Rivera; almost my first experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and all the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud. Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of people streamed constantly to and fro, the loudspeakers were bellowing revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. And it was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a town in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Except for a small number of women and foreigners there were no 'well-dressed' people at all. Practically everyone wore rough working-class clothes, or blue overalls, or some variant of the militia uniform. All this was queer and moving. There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for. Also I believed that things were as they appeared, that this was really a workers' State and that the entire bourgeoisie had either fled, been killed, or voluntarily come over to the workers' side; I did not realize that great numbers of well-to-do bourgeois were simply lying low and disguising themselves as proletarians for the time being.
Again, remember, this was written by someone on their side.

Change "workers" to "Muslims", the hammer and sickle to the crescent and star, and you will have something a bit like Raqqa, the capital of the new ISIS "Caliphate":
"Inside the city, the signs of destruction are obvious on some government buildings and homes,"...FSA brigades and civil society activists tried to change street names in Raqqa. Tal Abyad Street, the city's most popular, was renamed after martyr Ali al-Babinsi. However, people keep using the old name. In any case, very few people know its official name in city records, which is al-Qunaytirah Road. Martyr Basel al-Assad Street was turned into Colonel Hussein Harmoush Street and al-Jalaa or "Clock" Roundabout became Freedom Square. "Mr. President Square" is now Martyrs’ Square, but people on both sides call it after the nearby fire station. Civil society activists had also painted some of the city's statues with the colors of the "revolutionary flag." However, ISIS removed the "flag of infidels" and raised its banners everywhere...Alaa Jubran, a resident of Raqqa who was there on a recent visit, told Al-Akhbar, "Street vendors do not occupy the city's sidewalks anymore. ISIS established a popular market in the city center. It was equipped to include the vendors and traveling salesmen, banning them from using the streets." ISIS transferred the busy Friday market next to Raqqa's old wall, a historical site, and moved moved market day to Thursday so it would not distract people from attending Friday prayers in the mosque. It also created a consumer protection office and imposed monthly payments on commercial establishments, in return for sanitation, electricity, water, and phone services. At a later stage, this will be extended to civilians to ensure the continuity of services. Two signs in particular are hanging in shop windows. "Sisters, please do not remove the niqab inside the shop," said one. The other announced that "work stops 10 minutes before prayers." Prayer rooms were established in public venues and streets become almost empty before prayer times, save for ISIS’ patrols...The Islamist Traffic Police is on every street and market, wearing the same uniform, conducting traffic, and issuing tickets. Inside official buildings and facilities, the staff is committed to serving the citizens. Emergency vehicles of the water and electricity departments are rushing to fix problems all the time. On the other hand, the recently created Islamic Services Authority supervises state institutions. The Accounts Bureau monitors the markets, sales operations, applying sharia, and holding violators accountable. The official weekend is now on Thursday and Friday. 
The Spanish Civil War featured the highest proportion of Catholic priests, brothers and nuns murdered or driven into exile of any anti-Catholic eruption in history. And the Republicans didn't just go after the living religious. One of their favorite pastimes was to dig up the bodies of priests and nuns and put them on display in front of Churches. Sometimes they would waltz with the corpses.

See, God has no power over us, we can waltz with corpses.


ISIS doesn't dig up corpses (as far as I know). They just smash archeological artifacts.

And kill Christians.


One other difference, of course, is that the International Brigadistas fought against God. The ISIS Brigadistas fight to support a false God. What's better? Unfortunately, the results are somewhat similar.

As a number of British news sources have reported, for example, here and here, the number of Britons joining ISIS is on track to match the number joining the Spanish Republicans in the 1930's.

Barcelona, 1936. Raqqa, 2015. It's, you know, so romantic.

Or as someone once said of another totalitarian Hell, "It's tough, kid, but it's life."

"Don't forget to pack a wife."

Why are so many attracted to this sort of thing?

1 comment:

  1. A new name for an old disease. History continues to come back and bite us in the ass.