Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Rest in peace

A great man has died today.

I met James for the first time in The Grove pub, in Kelvingrove St, in the West End of Glasgow in September or October 2000. I was with a friend watching the Spanish football game in Sky Sports and he overheard us talking Spanish.
He introduced himself to us and I immediately recognised his name from BBC News stories about Scots serving with the International Brigades. We talked about the Spanish Civil War and the infighting within the Republican side. We also talked about politics and the demise of Communism. Although we disagreed on the issue of Communism, I had the utmost respect for him and his comrades who fought against fascism in Spain.

He was not fluent in Spanish but he could recite Lorca and Machado by heart, with soft Andalusian tones. You could tell he had learnt Spanish from an Andalusian person. Whenever he recited some verses, his eyes would well up a little bit. You could tell he had many stories to tell. I wish he had written a book about it.

I bought him a drink that night in The Grove, and thanked him for his courage and bravery in fighting for Spanish democracy. In fact, every time I saw him in Glasgow, I repeated the same procedure: I shook hands, sometimes a hug, like in the annual International Brigades gathering in Glasgow, and always thanked him.

Thank you James Maley.

The Herald
BBC News (and here)


The Pillion Passenger said...

nice post man, there's not many of these fellas left now, have to keep their spirit going though. think there's only one irish man who fought left, bob doyle i think. what a time they lived in.

Rab said...

Hello, many thanks for your message.

If it was up to me I would have made these guys write a book of their life experiences working together with the local schools. What an education that would be for our youth.

If I remember well my last conversation (a couple of years ago), Jimmy’s family had emigrated from Ireland, (Donegal I think?) but I cannot remember if it was his parents or his grandparents.

A more complex picture from Ireland on this issue, I am afraid… with some traditionalists fighting with the Fascists (on the instructions of the Catholic Church…) and some others fighting for democracy on the side of the Republica.
Life is always more complex that we are led to believe…

When are the elections in Ireland? In Scotland is May 3.

The Pillion Passenger said...

- yes the irish state was very close to the catholic church until recently. the date for elections has not been announced - we're waiting to hear what our leader and chief Bertie says about it.

Latest possible is July, but most likely to be the end of May, beginning of June. Also, it'll be a thursday, apparently more people vote then. But students away from home on weekdays may miss out. But they won't if they give a toss and register for postal or absentee voting.

bob doyle has a book of his experiences. brigidista i think it's called. although in his 90s, he's still going around ireland, talking at connolly movement events (not many, poorly attended too i'm afraid). he says people today can still go off and fight wars like he did, just in africa or wherever.