Libya and the Spanish Civil War, ctd

March 18, 2011

George Orwell as International Brigader in Spain, with the POUM militia at the Aragón front. Orwell is the tallest among the standing figures

In an op-ed in yesterday’s Monde Diplomatique, Robert Zaretsky adds to the ongoing discussion about the extent to which the lessons of the Spanish Civil War can be applied to the Libyan situation. Wondering “What would Orwell do?” he concludes that “Orwell would make the case for intervention”:

The “sang-froid with which London faced the bombing of Madrid,” Orwell bitterly observed, was all too typical of the times. The most confident, most insistent and most bellicose voices belonged to those who had never known war. While Orwell had learned that neither lice nor bullets bother to distinguish between good and bad people, intellectuals back home remained gladly ignorant of such matters. In the current frenzy of advice mongering over Libya, there is the same strain of magical thinking among certain intellectuals. In France, Bernard-Henri Lévy, the aging “new philosopher” better known for his dark suits, white shirts with open collar and mane of greying hair than for his strategic acumen, recently went to Benghazi, trailed by a battalion of photographers. When not posing with Libyan rebels in front of a shell-pocked building, BHL has been writing editorials, giving interviews and holding meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy, urging the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya and use of “surgical strikes” against Qaddafi’s forces.

Read the whole essay here.


4 Responses to “ Libya and the Spanish Civil War, ctd ”

  1. John Theissen on March 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    A new International Brigade is needed to help the Libyan people. People there understandably want support to defend from the Colonel Gaddafi dictatorship, and there are a number of things we can do. Doctors, nurses, videograhpers, journalists, and anyone who wants to help can bring supplies and equipment of all types to Libya. Let’s do something in the spirit of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the International Brigade to help the people and their quest for freedom and democracy.

  2. Issac Grey on April 17, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    The only problem I see with an International Brigade, is that the first people who would be in line would be Islamic militants who want a theocracy in power. If that could be averted somehow, I’d be all for it.

  3. Ángel Luis Vázquez on April 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I have been thinking on this idea about NIB since certain time ago. As a Spanish profound defender of freedom and democracy I would very likely join the volunteer unit. Although I posses very little military know-how, I could serve as firstliner as medic or whatsoever within my possibilities. Please, if someone has info about enrolling International Brigade write me:

  4. Dylan on August 19, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    O-M-G! I heard there was a Libyan IB being discussed and I had expected it to be on the side of the people. What I have found is a disservice to all the selfless people of the IB’s, in that it is suggetsed to support not the popular government but a group of ‘rebels’. If this were Spain 1936 these groups would be on Franco’s army. Do any of you know what the rebels ‘stand for’? Do you know that 80-95% of the people, and at least 2000 of the 2335 tribes SUPPORT THE CURRENT GOVERMENT!? And don’t take my word for it – you can look this up yourselves people! As the Nazi regime supplied planes to bomb Madrid, so too does NATO supply planes to bomb Tripoli.