This isn’t an obituary. If Fidel Castro had died I’m sure you would have heard about it.
Every now and again those who hope and pray for his death spread yet another rumour, only to be disappointed by a photo, a newsclip or a commentary in that unmistakable style, confirming that Fidel is very much alive and making the most of his twilight years.
When the inevitable does happen, the world, admirers and detractors alike, will pause for reflection. The corporate media will saturate our inner recesses with words and images that convey, for the most part, how the 1% appraise his life and legacy. Just imagine the gloating on Fox News.
I suspect it will be harder, and take longer, for those who admire Fidel and feel a sense of loss at his passing to be heard amid this din.
“Would a pregnant woman in a remote East Timorese village be seen by a doctor today if it were not for Cuban medical personnel and medical training?
How much longer might apartheid have dragged on in South Africa if Cuban blood had not been shed in the sands and jungles of Angola and Namibia? Would Venezuelan’s Bolivarian socialist revolution even exist? According to Hugo Chavez, probably not.
In this sense, “Fidel” is something more than an individual. Fidel is certain ethical values, ideas and ideals; a cause and a devotion to that cause. It is adherence to principles but rejection of sectarianism and dogmatism in the struggle for a better, socialist world.
Fidel’s essential message is one of hope, that we can reverse the gradual descent of global capitalism into a 21st-century barbarism, besieged by ecological collapse, if we can only unleash the power of masses of ordinary people acting together with a shared vision and strategic compass.
Fidel is, above all, solidarity in a selfish world.
It is asking what we can contribute and share rather than what we can plunder and hoard. It is worrying about the infant mortality rate in Western Sahara and the waves lapping at the doorsteps of Pacific islanders, and doing something about it.
It is internationalism: the rejection of subservient seclusion behind our white-picket fences and national borders decked out in razor wire.”
the peoples who constitute 80 per cent of humanity are regarded
with almost total contempt in the dominant opinion of the rich
countries. Humanitarianism is not an acceptable substitute to
international solidarity in struggle."
— Samir Amin
Fidel Castro meeting with Malcolm X
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