Life is too short for boring stories

Spring had arrived, even in the small village near Barcelona, which was primarily characterized by agriculture. However, the land belonged to large landowners and the people who lived in the place were mostly day laborers who were at the mercy of the lords of the land. If they demanded more wages or better working conditions, the owners reacted rigorously by simply leaving fields fallow, so that the people who depended on them suddenly had no income at all. It was a disgrace to let good land go to waste and be at the mercy of individuals. This was true for factory owners, who also let the workers bleed dry. Accordingly, it was like a pressure cooker about to explode throughout Catalonia, including this small town.

Most of the residents were now organized in the CNT (Confederación Nacional de Trabajo), the anarchist union, because this envisaged the liberation of church, state, and bourgeois. The land should be collectivized, and the proceeds should go to everyone who actually cultivated it and not sat somewhere like drones, living off the fruits of other people’s labor and growing fat and fat, diligently supported by the church, which also had its share in it. It smelled not only of spring, but also of revolution.

“Compañeros and Compañeras, we have been good and submissive long enough. We had to watch as the landowners starved us, and the church kept us stupid. Now we finally have a new teacher in town, one who teaches according to the principles of Francisco Ferrer’s Escuela Moderna. Although he was executed in 1909, his ideas spread unhindered, against a church that dumbs us down, a state that oppresses us, a capitalism that exploits us, for freedom, equality, and fraternity. But that is only the beginning. You will see that this year the land will be collectivized, and the factories will be taken over by the workers. We will evade any access because we have starved and suffered long enough. If we want things to get better, then we have to take matters into our own hands,” were the words of Duena, a young compañera, who received thunderous applause from those present. It was the day she first caught the eye of Fernando, who had recently moved to the village. He was immediately charmed by her and from that day on tried to spend as much time as possible around her. Whether at meetings or in the communal kitchen, the two always found the time to discuss and exchange ideas. Her heartbeat unwaveringly for people in general, the people of this village in particular, but it also began to open up to each other. It was the fight that united them and the common goal that made them look forward. They were both just 18 years old and with the impatience of youth, but also the unwavering hope that everything that was man-made could also be changed, they threw themselves into the tasks that arose in the community. The priest had long since been thrown out and the church was sealed. Nobody needed this superstition, nobody who wanted to be free. What was still missing was the final, decisive spark that would ignite the fire of change. And Duena dreamed that she finally came, the question every libertarian girl hopes to be asked by the guy she loves.

It was now mid-July. Duena, as always in overalls and the obligatory hat, stood with others in the communal kitchen and prepared breakfast. She had even sewn a small red and black flag onto the bib of her trousers, noticed Fernando, whose legs were very shaky. But then he gathered all his courage, walked towards her, and said the words that Duena had been waiting for for so long.
“Duena, do you want to revolutionize with me?” Fernando asked breathlessly as he held out a paving stone to her with his left hand. “Do you want this to be the first stone we add to the barricade?”
“Yes, I want to,” Duena declared beaming with joy, all too aware of the looks from the other women, because that was the best offer a girl could get. But there was no envy; they were happy together. Then she took the paving stone from him and his hand. Together they went to Barcelona to add their stone to the barricades on July 19, 1936, fighting against fascism and for freedom.

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