What did you do in the war Daddy?
This was once an appeal to the not so patriotic to do their duty when the country was in peril. The child’s simple question would be answered by the parent feeling guilty or responsible and would thus be persuaded to do their bit for King and Country.
I thought it might be amusing to ask the question of myself or at least very similar ones, to determine what I was doing at momentous times, and how I can now account for my actions or lack of action at the time. Clearly it may be necessary for me to be economical with the truth, and bend facts and dates and events to suit my own personal history. That is the history that I remember.
Was I there? Well if not I was pretty damned close!
Having been born on the 4th May 1936, the Spanish Civil was raging at this time. Looking back, had I had my current political inclinations as I emerged from the womb, no doubt I too would have been marching off, in my nappies to join the International Brigade, in order to defend the fledgling democracy that was too far left politically for it’s own good, in a country which unhappily nursed the Inquisition a few centuries previously to force the populace to conform to the unreasonable demands of the Catholic Church of the time. Well I can say that now but in truth I have always tried to avoid conflict particularly when a stranger you don’t know wants to put you in uniform and carry a rifle while he sits at home drinking his scotch while contemplating your next move. You move all right because you are a puppet on a string, with a stupid smile on your face because it has been painted there by propaganda.
History shows us time and time again that good does not prevail, so General Franco won in Spain, hundreds of foreign volunteers were blacklisted and his dictatorship lasted over thirty years. History also shows us that good does get a chance every now and again but good by its nature is weak, because it is reasonable, benevolent, considerate and anxious to please everyone. Bad, or the forces of evil, on the other hand is the opposite and by its unreasonableness, inhumanity, blindness and desire to please only those in control will be in power more often that not.
So what did I do at the time?
I cried. But my parents thought that I only had a dirty nappy.