On the banks of the Clyde river, opposite the Custom House, stands an unusual, poignant statue with outstretched arms. The stylised figure embodies Dolores Ibarruri (1895 – 1989), also known as “The Pasionaria” (“the passion flower”). She was a leading female heroine in the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939) who committed and fought with the Communist movements against the fascist forces of Franco’s regime. She is famous for her “No pasaran” (they shall not pass”) speech in 1936.
It is easily missed as it is small figure, covered in fiberglass, and a rather dull weather-beaten sculpture standing at three meters high.
However, even if it is not a destination by itself, what makes the sculpture worth noticing to me is the surprising historical association between Spain and Scotland. It is a rare memorial which pays tribute to the groups of 2000 men and women volunteers who left Britain to join the international brigades in Spain, 500 of whom died, including 65 from Glasgow. Made by the sculptor Dooley and erected in 1979, it stands as a symbol against all kinds of fascism.
The quotation on its base carves Dolores’s motto ie “Better to die on your feet than live forever on our knees”, and can be read as a universal slogan of resistance against people’s struggles.
Don’t miss it if you pass along the Clyde Walkway!