When I was kid in a small village, there was not much entertainment available, but I used to hear radio dramas into late night… There is one scene that I will never forget. A group of researchers were launched for a multi-year travel to a remote star in space. After some time there was a technical problem, and they lost control of their spaceship, as well as any communication with the base. As the drama went on, you may like it or not, but it became a life and death survival issue, and the one that has the motivation and the nerve to live on was a pregnant woman that killed the other guys for food…
The lost woman doesn’t know that the rescue is coming, and the rescue team is doing the long journey to catch the lost spaceship without any idea what they will find inside. In the last scene, you hear the rescuers connect to the straying vehicle, and open the door to get in. The next thing you hear the baby crying, the sweet mummy voice saying: “Booby, here there is more food coming…” and the fatal shooting that signified the sad end of the whole lot.
What made me think a lot about this tragic drama lately is the sad fate of many of the comrades that survived so many years of isolation and unbearable hardship in our revolutionary journey, just to turn on against the revolution as it finally came.
Actually, for the simple people that just lived their lives under all form of oppression, there is no problem to identify with the revolution and embrace it with both hands. They distrust and curse all governments and can only be full of hope and pride to see people of their kind coming out to the streets and defying whatever murderous oppression is unleashed at them.
But to keep being revolutionary in non-revolutionary times, there are many ways of survival that were necessary or useful, but doesn’t serve you at the final test. Here are some of them:
- Support the lesser evil in order to stand in the face of the main enemy. In doing so you are inclined, and sometimes must, close your eyes and shut up on many wrongdoings in order to keep the resistance front united. In the end you find yourself killing the very people that are your only real rescue.
- Doing small amendments to the situation, giving services to the oppressed instead of liberating them, trying to smooth some sharp edges of the system to make them less hurting. To make all this function you should enter some cooperation with the current system and its institutions. You also build your own institutions that depend for their existence, their good services and the livelihood of their stuff on the cooperation or at leas some quite understanding with the established forces. When the revolution comes it threatens to destroy all the good things that you built with so much effort.
- You keep the faith in the revolution by teaching its origins and logics, educating on it values and nurturing its culture. It doesn’t have much to do with current reality but it builds a counter-culture that keeps the hope and faith alive and prevent people from succumbing to enemy culture that threaten to destroy their identity and dignity. Only that when the revolution comes it will never be the ideal one that you dreamed about all that time…
Most of these attempts of survival at the long period of reactionary hegemony are justified and sometimes even heroic. But it is a shame if when the revolution comes you just refuse to recognize it, or even turn against it.
We waited so long, and now the revolution is here. Long live the Great Arab Revolution!