[I posted (in social media) this brief tribute to El Comandante Fidel within hours after his passing on Nov 25, 2016. No doubt, there is a whole lot more to be said about this historic figure who lived in our own times, and at whom history will look back with wonderment. I am presenting it here verbatim, including the lines about a collection of Fidel with remarkable figures of contemporary history. MRC]
Tribute to El Comandante Fidel
Monish R Chatterjee
Yesterday, a courageous, supremely charismatic and history-altering leader who, along with a handful of rebels against an entrenched system of profits, enslavement and exploitation, changed the course of history to instill hope in the hearts of billions around the world, was finally lost to the world- surviving (by some count) more than 600 attempts on his life by the most efficient murder- and terror-machine the world has ever known.
He out-lived many a "leader of the free world"- whose military might and endless bullying of the weak and powerless could not bring this one unvanquished spirit under arrogance's blood-sodden boots. There was Che, symbol of revolution itself for the world, brutally murdered by Murder, Inc. at a woefully young age, and there was Fidel, who managed to stand his ground and show that indeed "another world was possible." For those who do not see this, do not, and never will, see how the powers of greed and unlimited violence thwart and annihilate all nobler aspirations of the human spirit, and that the struggle against these with their unlimited tools of murder, propaganda and devious inducements is uphill beyond many Mount Everests stacked up.
Fidel downplays a newspaper headline on one of numerous assassination attempts.
(Image by historical times) Permission Details DMCA
History is lined up with annals of this grossly uneven struggle, and from that arise a few triumphant figures- a Banda Singh Bahadur, a Garibaldi, a Subhas Bose, a Malcolm X, an MLK, a Biko, a Lumumba, a Che, a Chavez, and yes, a Fidel. The great machinery of the rich and powerful (mega bank robbers, all) go full throttle to slime, vilify and demonize such epochal figures, and rather often such demonizing works (especially the relentless campaigns to neutralize all efforts at creating a world with fairness and justice for all). Yes- Fidel had his flaws, and rather often much of those flaws are likely linked to keeping the imperial wolves at bay- an unimaginably difficult task. Yet, by his courage and sheer will alone, by his stand against the Goliath to the north whose devious rampages made his entire continent bleed- he stood like a Colossus next to the run-of-the-mill piety-spouters from the imperial palaces and clubhouses.
The immoral and utterly crude buffoon just given the sanction (following the quadrennial farce in the US called presidential elections) to go to imperialism's headquarters next January had rather unsavory things to say (entirely unbecoming of "the leader of the free world") about someone whose small toe on one foot he does not measure up to. And as much as I believe the "leader of the free world" whom he will succeed was an utter and complete failure on many, many fronts- at least he demonstrated some degree of decency and dignity in his comments.
It is a matter of great irony to me that a virtual galaxy of those the world regards with high honor (Sukarno, Mandela, Malcolm X, Gorbachev, Bishop Tutu, Hemingway, Chavez, and many many more outside the orbit of the profiteers) has stood up through the years and offered praise for the leader of Cuba. When stacking the balance sheet next to these minds, I no longer worry about the puny, short-sighted, narrow and bigoted myopia of the rich and privileged and their many, many cronies. I present here a few historic photographs of this mind-bogglingly larger-than-life leader (some of these taken from the redoubtable Zuzka Wellington ) over more than five decades.
Fidel and Che with Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir
(Image by Critical Theory) Permission Details DMCA
Many a young idealist has shed tears such as this through the centuries.
(Image by The Guardian, UK) Permission Details DMCA
I know that even stalwart thinkers such as Tariq Ali have stated "history will judge him." Well- I will foretell that history will place him much higher than many wielding extreme military might, marinated in obnoxious arrogance and self-propaganda, and drunken with the trappings of ill-gotten glamor and glitter.