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Marching in Warsaw under the flags of the international struggle for liberation and equality for all

By: Iris Bar (text, painting and photos)

(Initially published on Facebook, April 20, 2019)

I’m writing it in English so all my friends can manage reading it if they like to…

Yesterday I participated in an alternative commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion, organized by groups of young Polish leftists – mainly anarchists, anti fascists and trade union activists.Iris picture commemorating Ghetto Warsaw

In spite the fact that almost all my family was murdered by the Nazis, it was the first time for decades I participated in such commemoration, as I didn’t want to be part of the exploitation of their death for whitewashing the acts of colonialism and racism that are done, all the time, by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Two different commemoration events were held yesterday (April 19) in Warsaw – official & alternative – and they both started at 12:00 on different sides of the monument of the defenders of the Ghetto. On one side there were no more than 100 participants, most of them of soldiers, Polish & Israeli, and representatives of those 2 extremely right-wing governments. On the other side there were almost 1000 people, many of them young, raising red flags of the Bund and the old Anti-Fascist flags with its 3 arrows aimed at capitalism, racism & reactionary… holding in their hands yellow daffodils, the polish symbol of commemorating Polish Jews who were murdered by the Nazis (I saw that day many ppl in the city wearing yellow paper flowers on their chest). On the front of the Brigade flagparade marched the flag of the Naftali Botwin unit (a Bundist unit) of the Palafox battalion of the international brigade during the Spanish civil war with the slogan “Para vuestra libertad – y para nuestra” – ”For your liberty – and for ours”… a banner of freedom and justice for all the human kind.Warsaw alternative ceremony

The only state flag in this parade was the flag of the Spanish republic… We passed by memorial stones and noticed that people lit memory lamps (with crosses) in front of them… From time to time the parade stopped and a choir read texts and sang worker & socialist songs in Yiddish. At the end one of the organizers made a speech and explained that they are organizing this event, every year (I think already for three years), as part of their Anti Fascist struggle, the struggle against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Xenophobia in general (this days mainly against workers from Ukraine & Belarus), male chauvinism, hate against LGBT people, criminalization of poverty and other forms of racism…

I cried.

I was touched to see all those young activists, determined to remember in purpose to gain more power to struggle for a world in which such crimes could not be done again – a world of liberty, justice and equality for all.

Commemorations stonesyellow flowers and crosses