This is a letter I wrote to one of my closest and dearest friends when he made the decision to travel Syria to make his contribution to the Rojava Revolution. The link below it is his story.
As the day marches toward us I feel it important, essential, to remind you of who you are to me and the immense and unique impact you have had on my life. I had not thought this would be as difficult and emotional to write as it was, but then I had not envisioned so soon such a necessity to do so.
When first we met I was Tank Girl, lemming. No hair and less sense, with a whole host of “I’ve nevers” that you were thrilled to challenge, like a little Anarcho-Doolittle you loved to teach me from the start – cider, pop punk and life lessons filled the summer. Squatting evolved from cold floors and tinned soup to Neverland with the lost boys. We did what the fuck we wanted in Aden & Caspian House. You taught me to cook, or dared me to try. You taught me to look after myself in a lot of ways. I was so sheltered as a child, I had no idea this was to be such a momentous time in my life.
We both had such energy, and that’s what drew us together from the start, but you saw something more – you sat their reading the school reports I had from when I was 15 that I’d been carrying indignantly to prove I wasn’t think, and your eyes twinkled. In a mixture of debate, mockery, and of course books you began to demand more of me than a the simplistic drop-out rebellion around us in the squats. You saw a kindred spirit.
Of all the books you gave me, The Communist Manifesto was to be the next almighty earthquake. I didn’t understand what it was at the time, you gave me a lot of books I thought I couldn’t read. I remember trying and getting no further than the first page, but I kept it, and now it sits on my shelf full of memories and promises and solid gold truth. I read it, and it changed my life all over again. You have a talent for total disruption, for revolution.
The most important thing you gave me was the passion. The combination of love and rage that fills us and makes us what we are. Passion drives your politics, a desire to simplify the problems of the world so that the sides are obvious, and then build up our side with your ardent belief – you take a hackneyed song lyric and ask why it can’t be a political slogan; you take a working class single mum and ask why she can’t be a revolutionary icon. “There is a light and it never goes out”, and it bursts from you chest making everyone around you burn with the same intensity.
You took my anger and passion and you taught me to direct it, at myself, to believe in my capabilities, and at the real enemies. You were my compass, an essential aid in navigating the politics of London, of the world, my own mind. I trusted you implicitly, from the start, and I still do. You have never steered me far wrong, always reliable, always true.
You are often misunderstood, always locked someone or another’s set of sights, and I think I partly know why; not everyone can live up to your expectations, and even if you don’t ask them to, some people feel small and ashamed just to see your example. I want to tell you never to doubt that for every person who falls into this trap, you create five more who are inspired.
As we move out of realm of lifestyle leftists, who feel so threatened in their tiny kingdoms, you will find more and more people like me, who respond like me, and see you as I do. I see is a man who has always loved passionately – his friends, his partners, his cause. Desperate for justice and understanding, desperate to find those people, places and moments that makes sense of a person like you. All your emotions you use as fuel, from love, to anger, to fear. 32 dead is 32 more reasons to go.
You are the reason that Cherry Red exists, the reason I am a communist. The reason I am who I am today. My first source of inspiration, my constant companion in this struggle. I am so blessed and proud to call you brother, friend, comrade. You are the very definition of the word. Wherever you go, the world will surely be a better place for it. Nowhere could ever be the same. You will not falter. You will not fall. It is not in you. You will march ever forward, pushing on to victory, with the flag, dyed in the blood of the martyrs held high. I am so proud of you, and I will tell your story always and everywhere.
Please make it home.
You have so much more to do.
In deepest Love & Solidarity,
REVOLUTION IN THE MOUNTAINS: