The year is 1937 and Spain is in the midst of a civil war…..Franco has signed a deal with fellow Fascist Hitler to supply him with weapons and training….then Hitler committed the Candor Legion as the air force for Franco’s troops….enter the Basque town of Guernica in Northwestern Spain…..
The German bombers appeared in the skies over Guernica in the late afternoon of April 26, 1937 and immediately transformed the sleepy Spanish market town into an everlasting symbol of the atrocity of war. Unbeknownst to the residents of Guernica, they had been slated by their attackers to become guinea pigs in an experiment designed to determine just what it would take to bomb a city into oblivion.
Spain was embroiled in a convulsive civil war that had begun in July 1936 when the right-wing Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco sought to overthrow Spain’s left-wing Republican government. It did not take long before this bloody internal Spanish quarrel attracted the participation of forces beyond its borders – creating a lineup of opponents that foreshadowed the partnerships that would battle each other in World War II. Fascist Germany and Italy supported Franco while the Soviet Union backed the Republicans. A number of volunteers made their way to Spain to fight and die under the Republican banner including the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the United States.
Hitler’s support of Franco consisted of the Condor Legion, an adjunct of the Luftwaffe. The Condor Legion provided the Luftwaffe the opportunity to develop and perfect tactics of aerial warfare that would fuel Germany’s blitzkrieg through Europe during 1939 and 1940. As German air chief Hermann Goering testified at his trial after World War II: “The Spanish Civil War gave me an opportunity to put my young air force to the test, and a means for my men to gain experience.” Some of these experimental tactics were tested on that bright Spring day with devastating results – the town of Guernica was entirely destroyed with a loss of life estimated at 1,650. The world was shocked and the tragedy immortalized by Pablo Picasso in his painting Guernica.
I gave you this short history lesson because of events in today’s world…..I am speaking about the situation happening in Yemen…..the Saudi relentless bombing of Yemen brings thoughts of Guernica…….
80 years later, however, an even more criminal action is carried out against Yemeni civilians by Saudi Arabia, with the complicity of the United States. 2018 has begun with the usual deadly Saudi strikes. Recent ones in the city of Hodeida have killed 23 people and Yemenis live in fear of new strikes that do not show respect for civilians, including children.
The Yemeni civil war began in 2015 between two factions that claim to represent the Yemeni government. Houthi soldiers clashed with forces loyal to the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched military operations against the Houthis, and the U.S. provided logistical and military support for the campaign.
Yemen is the world’s worst situation…not only has the country been bombed into the stone age it is also a health disaster…it has stared with cholera and others soon to arrive.
Saudi Arabia will not cease its bombing campaign and the more it bombs the more the situation spirals out of control and the Yemeni people suffer….the US is complacent in tolerating this barbaric action against the Yemeni people.