American Citizen and self professed “freedom fighter” Matthew VanDyke was shocked when TV broadcasts in Syria labeled him a ‘terrorist,’ but he wasn’t surprised.
“I’m not the first one they’ve called a terrorist, and I won’t be the last,” he said in a recent FaceBook post…
…he fought on behalf of the Libyan revolution, was even captured and held in solitary confinement. Now he’s in the process of making a film he openly calls “Pro-FSA.” VanDyke has no qualms showing where his allegiances lie.
Did they call the many Americans who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil war terrorists?
There are many parallels between the Spanish Civil War and the Syrian war. In BBC News Viewpoint, Fouad Ajami, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, writes:
Of the rebellions that broke out among the Arabs in the last two years, the struggle in Syria was bound to be a case apart. Think of the Tunisian dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali calling it quits and leaving with his loot, of Hosni Mubarak stepping aside after 18 magical days of protest – this Syrian rebellion’s ferocity belongs to a different world of insurrections.
The Syrians must have understood the uniqueness of their situation. They took their time before they set out to challenge the entrenched regime. The first stirrings came two or three months after the other Arabs rose against their rulers. In a refugee camp on the outskirts of Antakya in Turkey, a young lawyer from Jisr al-Shughur – a Sunni town that tasted the full cruelty of the security forces – told me that he had been ready for a long war. He had left his home in the first summer of the rebellion, in 2011, but brought with him his winter clothes.
He was under no illusions about the rulers – they would fight a scorched-earth war. They were a minority, historically disdained, but all powerful. They had risen by the sword, knew no other way, and were certain that defeat on the battlefield would be the end of the world they had carved out over the last four decades.
(From the BBC/Viewpoint): More similarities include:
- In the 1930s, Spain was deeply divided, politically torn between right-wing Nationalist and left-wing Republican parties
- In 1936 the army rebelled, triggering a civil war
- In April 1937 the town of Guernica was pounded by German and Italian bombers allied with General Franco’s Nationalists
- Much of the town was flattened – deaths estimated between 200 and over 1,000
- Guernica (pictured) was painted by artist Pablo Picasso as a response
- More than 350,000 Spaniards died in the civil war
- General Franco led Nationalists to victory in 1939
- 1946-50 Franco’s Spain ostracised by United Nations; many countries cut diplomatic relations