Dolores Ibarruri - La Pasionaria
" The Spanish people would rather die on its feet than live on its knees. And do not forget, and let no one forget, that if today it is our turn to resist fascist aggression, the struggle will not end in Spain. Today it's us; but if the Spanish people is allowed to be crushed, you will be next, all of Europe will have to face aggression and war." When the fiery La Pasionaria made this speech in France in 1938 it was a plaintive cry to a sleeping world. Born in desperate poverty in Gallarta, Spain, on the 9th of December, 1895, Dolores Ibarruri matured to become one of the finest orators of her time. Mother of six children, only two of which survived the grinding poverty and lack of adequate food and health care rampant in oligarchical Spain, Dolores took to heart the teachings of Marx. Were she to need more reason to embrace radicalism, her huspand was arrested during a strike in 1920. My poor words will not do her justice, I will let her speak for herself. "The crude reality, the bare truth, hit me as it did every woman, with its unforgiving hands. A few short, fleeting days of illusion and afterwards, in my own experience, I learned the harsh truth of the popular saying 'Mother, what does it mean to be married? Daughter, it means to sew, to give birth and to cry'. To cry, to cry over our misfortunes, to cry over our powerlessness. To cry over our innocent children, to whom all we had to offer was our caresses soaked with tears. To cry over our pain-filled lives, without prospects, with no way out. Bitter tears, with a permanent curse in the heart and a blasphemy on the lips. "Vincent Sheean, the brilliant journalist and author of Not Peace But A Sword said of her - "Sometimes she gave it to them so straight and hard that you could hear the gasp of the whole audience. Her purpose was, of course, to make such failures and mistakes rarer in the future. She criticized the government not at all, but her own and the other revolutionary parties came in for some terrific lashings. And then, having frightened the audience into breathlessness by her picture of disaster, she set out to prove that victory was possible, and on what conditions. To an ordinary American journalist in the front row of the hall it seemed that she was asking these people to stop being Communists altogether, at least until the war was won. The genius of Dolores - her unquestionable genius as a speaker, the most remarkable I ever heard - worked upon them its customary miracle, and she had the whole audience cheering with enthusiasm when she finished." - La Pasionaria "Passion's Flower".