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NORTH-AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN RURAL CENTRAL SPAIN

( This paper was never published. Some 12 years old, still worth reading and give consideration. It is reproduced here to anyone's curio...

Friday, March 25, 2016

La segona visita de Matteo Renzi a Tarragona



Ha estat pel luctuós motiu de la mort en accident a Freginals de set joves italianes, juntament amb altres de diferents nacionalitats i un grapat de ferits, que el primer ministre d’Itàlia ha vingut a les nostres terres. La visita, amb el rerefons del terrible accident no tindria més substància si no fos pel desfici protagonitzat pel govern de l’estat, bé que en funcions, que no ha sabut situar-se en el protocol de forma ordenada. Per motius que no s’expliquen més que per la inoperància habitual dels responsables de les relacions exteriors de la Moncloa, han deixat que, amb tota normalitat d’altra banda, fos el president de la Generalitat qui acollís a peu de l'avió oficial del govern italià al primer ministre a la seva arribada. I que hagi sigut que l’acompanyés en la seva visita a ferits i familiars de les víctimes.

La “primera visita” la podem entendre com virtual, en efigiï, ara fa divuit mesos, el 16 d’agost de 2014, quan l’Assemblea Nacional Catalana va saludar al recinte de l’amfiteatre la figura de Matteo Renzi en un pòster gegantí, que després es va incorporar a la manifestació multitudinària de la “V” a la Diagonal de Barcelona l’onze de setembre següent.

Des de l’ANC Tarragona vam remetre les fotos de l’acte a l’amfiteatre al consolat italià a Barcelona i a l’agència de notícies ANSA. L’agència ho va distribuir als seus mitjans socis. El consolat, amb l’exquisida “finezza” diplomàtica es va limitar a recollir l’enviament sense comentaris.

Però han passat els mesos i les circumstàncies han anant canviant. La mateixa “finezza” ha portat al govern italià anunciar la visita al govern de la Generalitat. De govern a govern, de primer ministre a primer ministre. Òbviament que l’ocasió lamentable no dóna per a massa més. Però hi ha gestos i actituds que no requereixen paraules.

Mentrestant el senyor Rajoy estava a Huelva, el seu ministre d’interior que havia vingut el dia abans ja no volia tornar, i el ministre d’Afers Exteriors Margallo (no hauria de ser Margalló, com la planta?) probablement no va arribar ni a assabentar-se de la visita. I la delegada del “Gobierno” a Catalunya es retirà en la proverbial actitud de la cua entre cames.

L’amargor que produeix les morts de gent jove i tràgicament a penes m’ha pogut impedir d’esbossar un lleu somriure. Anem bé, companys.

(Publicat a DiaroMés el 30 de març)








Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diari Digital

Amb motiu de la nova edició digital de DiariMés de Tarragona, 18 de març 2016





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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The last known surviving veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade


The Last of the Lincolns: Delmer Berg Dies at age 100




Delmer Berg (December 20, 1915 - February 28, 2016), the last known surviving veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, died peacefully in his California home today. He was 100 years old. Though hard of hearing in his old age, Del was voluble and forthcoming about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and beyond, recently authoring a piece for the NY Times Magazine and interviewing with El Diario and El País.

We honor Del for his lifetime of activism and his dedication to ALBA-VALB. His death marks the silent turning of a historic page.

Del was born in 1915 outside of Los Angeles – “Where Disneyland is now,” he said wryly in a 2013 video interview with ALBA – to a family of poor farm workers. Seeking better economic opportunities, the Bergs moved to Oregon. But, as the country foundered in the Great Depression, teenage Del dropped out of high school to assist his father. Del’s political consciousness was forged in these early years:

“Being poor, being a farmer, I automatically felt part of the downturn,” he said in a 2014 interview with Friends and Neighbors Magazine. “You don’t need to go to school to learn what’s going on; just sit out on the farm and look around.”

Del found his way out of agricultural labor with a stint in the 76th Field Artillery in the Presidio of Monterey but soon bought his discharge for $120 in 1937: he saw the threat of the rise of fascism in Europe and wanted to travel to Spain. A billboard advertising the “Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade” brought Del into the fold of stateside organizing for Spain. After “licking 10,000 stamps,” in the winter of 1938, Del was on a ship to France and would make the trek across the Pyrenees, following in the footsteps of so many volunteers before him.
While in Spain, Del served in a field artillery and anti-aircraft artillery battery, ultimately laying communication lines from the Republican headquarters to the front during the momentous Battle of the Ebro River. The photo below shows him in the illustrious company of brigadistas Sam Slipyan, Conlon Nancarrow, Ed Lending, Charles Simpson, and Norman Schmidt. His next and final post in the city of Valencia was quiet until his unit’s lodgings in a monastery were bombed by a fascist airplane aiming for a railway station.

Despite the shrapnel in his liver, a personal reminder of the bite of fascism, Del’s life after Spain was an active one. While many Lincoln Brigade vets were prevented from serving in WWII, Del was drafted into the Army. He feared discrimination because of his political affiliations but instead was surprisingly given his choice of outfit by his recruiter. He was called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the postwar era but “they could never find me to serve a summons,” he gleefully told Nadya Williams in 2012.

Del’s political commitments were various: the Young Communist League, United Farm Workers, his local NAACP (he proudly recalls being at one time the Vice President of the Modesto chapter which had no other white members), the Mexican American Political Association, the anti-Viet Nam War movement, the Democratic Club, the Congress of California Seniors, and peace and justice committees. In his final years, Del lived comfortably in his self-built home in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

When the vets would muse about who would be last to survive, perhaps none wagered it would be Del. He revealed his secret to longevity in 2014: “I think staying politically active keeps me alive... It fills my life. I never slowed down – I’m right in the middle of things yet.”

Del was predeceased by his wife June Berg. 
ALBA will host a memorial for Del and the Lincoln Brigade in New York. Date to be announced. 

¡Hasta siempre compañero Del!



Yanks in the Dimitrov Battery: standing Sam Slipyan, Conlon Nancarrow, Ed Lending, Charles Simpson (?), Delmer Berg, Norman Schmidt, kneeling two Spanish Chauffers.


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(Text and photos reproduced from ALBA- Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives)


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