There is nothing as beautiful as the faces of insurgents. Nothing in this world is so attractive, is so full of hope. No journalist, no politician, no religious leader or other will ever be able to erase the beauty of rebellion or bury it in words devoid of joy and desire.
It is primarily this beauty that strikes us when we learn of revolts taking place in North Africa. From Tunisia to Yemen, Egypt to Algeria, despite the dozens of dead and thousands injured and arrested, fear is giving way to courage, sadness is overcome by hope, the misery of being reduced to survival turns into the scream of life.
One might question the economic conditions in these countries, the rising food prices, unemployment, the authoritarian regimes and their police. One might ask why, given such conditions, revolt always takes so long to break out; how do our contemporaries manage to suffer poverty and oppression for years and years without taking up arms and shooting the politicians, the bankers and the bosses. Furthermore, we could demonstrate how also here in Belgium, more and more people are thrown overboard, condemned to languish in detention centres and prisons, and exploited in ever harsher conditions, putting up daily with authority in all its forms. One might ask …
But it is time to stop complaining. Many of us, here and elsewhere, find ourselves stuck in this world where only money counts, where our homes resemble slums more and more, where industrial pollution is poisoning us slowly. Now it is clear to everyone that they (that is, those at the top of society) will push their exploitation and domination even further, they are talking about “economic crisis “and calling on us all to accept the harshening of life at every level. But them, they are not in crisis, on the contrary, their profits are just getting higher. And who is being called upon to pay the price, here as elsewhere?
Obviously there are differences between here and there, even if the rule of money knows no borders, even if a regime, all regimes, whether democratic or authoritarian, will always mean oppression, confinement and exploitation. But the revolt, in all its beauty, explodes the differences. Burning a bank in Tunisia and Egypt calls for a bank burned in Brussels; just as the release of prisoners by the insurgents in Tunisia calls for razing the prison walls here; just as men and women, side by side behind the barricade, call to put an end to submission and patriarchy.
What fuels the revolt are not only, and it looks almost not that much, sweatshop conditions. No, the oxygen of the fire of revolt in all languages, is a beginning of freedom, this stranger who is so absent in this world, but who rises proudly in the act of rebelling. And then, everything can start to change.
Let’s leave aside any analysis of political scientists, journalists knights-of-the-democracy, or those who are already preparing to take the place of the Ben Ali and Mubaraks of this world. We are simply alongside those who, in Tunisia and Egypt and elsewhere know that freedom is neither the law nor the sharia, who want neither boss nor government, who want to try to live as free people, because, during the rebellion, they have already tasted it’s possible – and it’s sweet.
Love and courage to insurgents around the world.
Let’s set fire to the powder keg, us too.
Some insurgents from here...
[Published in Hors Service 13, 9 February 2011]