Today we got the news from a comrade that his cousin had fallen in the fight against fascism.
His cousin was not a thrill-seeker. She wasn’t a hardened adventurer. On the contrary, when we were shown her picture, it was of a young woman at her graduation. The picture was recent.
But when the fascist state decided to collectively punish her people for the crime of seeking their rights, she joined the front for self-defence. Necessity placed her on the front lines of the revolution, and she sacrificed everything she had, her entire future, so that her people could live freely and with dignity.
When we say we are internationalists, sometimes it means so little. Sometimes it means that we are nominally part of an international organisation and watch with detached semi-interest as events unfold in another country.
This is never a sufficient amount of internationalism for someone like me. I try to help in some concrete way, whether it means helping to convey information or helping to organise something in a practical sense. Although I speak with an accent, I always try to learn more of the languages of my comrades. And most of all, I try to be there for them when their people (in the collective sense or on such a personal level as today) are suffering and dying.
It is with news of martyrdom that I become a true believer again. My comrade’s cousin died so that her people could live with dignity. She had dreams which may seem impossible to some in her country today. But one day, we will make all her dreams come true.
We cannot give up the fight, and insult the memory of all the martyrs by so doing. We cannot let them have died in vain.
One day, we will make all of the dreams of all of our martyrs come true. One day, people will not be allowed to starve, or to freeze in the winter. Children will be taught in their own language, in schools that are designed with their needs in mind. We will be taught our real history instead of fascist myths. We will read philosophy that changes the world, instead of dogma that reinforces the world as it is. People of all national backgrounds will be brothers and sisters. Women will be respected and empowered. We will labour in pursuit of our needs instead of profit.
All of this will one day come to pass.
Even if it means that we too have to fall as martyrs.