In one of the finer poems ever written about the twentieth century, W.H. Auden managed a careful balancing act between offering a brief, symbolized history of civilization (such as it is) and explaining the strange lure of a heavily internationalized conflict in the form of the Spanish Civil War:
“Our moments of tenderness blossom
As the ambulance and the sandbag.
Our hours of friendship into a people’s army.”
Here it may be worth noting that Auden originally had intended to fight on the Republican side against the Fascist forces of Francisco Franco or, at the very least, drive an ambulance to rescue those who did. (Perhaps fortunately for poetry, neither contingency came to pass, although he did turn up to broadcast anti-fascist propaganda.)
And what was “Spain,” exactly, but a revolutionary struggle against a foreign-backed dictatorship that was coopted and denatured by another murderous totalitarianism?
See more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/03/syria-s-white-helmets-the-life-savers-putin-calls-terrorists.html