How to Live With A Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head (Or His)


As of today, on the good advice of my lovely and too talented for words Lebanese illustrator Maya Zankoul, I shall begin describing the oh so exciting life of living with a revolutionary. Now don’t get me wrong, I take very seriously revolutions and have high respect for revolutionaries currently risking their lives around the world at this very moment, braving with undescribable courage the cruelty of the regimes that are oppressing them. I have and will always take my pen (or keyboard, as it happens) to talk about their struggles, as I will always use my will and everything that I have to support them in any way I can (and therefore associate myself with them, and become part of their movement). That being said, I’m only trying to use humour as a way to alleviate the anxiety that we can feel sometimes when living with revolutionaries, them being your friends, lovers, husbands, wives, or what have you. I’m just waiting for someone to start writing about how it feels to live with a writer, which would turn them into writers themselves, and let us stop there, my head hurts.

Chapter 1: Generalities on the Revolutionary

Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws.
Leon Trotsky

First of all, brace yourself for the very entrance of the Revolutionary’s room and prepare your eyes. A fondness for checked fabric would be a plus in a revolutionary’s partner, as you will see a lot of these hanging around, so much so that you’d soon think you’ve entered the Headquarters of the PLO, half expecting Abu Ammar to jump at you from behind the bookshelf (The Revolutionary Bookshelf will be extensively treated in a subsequent chapter, do not worry). You will soon learn all there is to know about the last Keffiyeh Factory in Nablus (many times over), about how the cheap Chinese imitations are slowly killing a once flourishing industry, and against your better judgement, you will actually start caring (Beware, for revolutionaries have a knack for communicating their passion, be careful or you might turn into one of them). Soon, you will be picking up Keffiyehs right, left and center, the revolutionary having bought half of the production of the factory in his indignation, almost wanting to go to China and have a word with Hu Jintao to tell him he has betrayed the Founding Fathers (Marx and Trotsky, who else) and is a traitor (which he is. See, what have i told you, turning into one of them).

The revolutionary is deeply human, and cares about everything and everyone, explaining things to you, to his computer, to his mother who’s trying to keep up with all the atrocities and injustice the world is facing, to his friends who mostly don’t care or to his other revolutionary friends (also known as Comrades) with whom he will build all kinds of plans. Which brings us nicely to our second general thing you need to know: be patient, and don’t have sleeping troubles, for the revolutionary WILL have late night calls with other Comrades, he WILL yell at his computer for not working properly at a crucial moment (should we or should we not accept foreign interference? No! That’s Imperialism! And then Skype connection fails and all hell breaks loose) and he WILL toss and turn in his sleep, thinking of about a million things, which of course he won’t share with anyone (why do you think all revolutionaries have sexy smouldering looks? Why do you think no revolutionary has ever been on a yoga retreat? think people think!)

Last but not least, the revolutionary is very passionate, and you can be assured he thinks about the revolution 24/7, to the point that you sometimes wonder whether he’s actually aware of your presence. Now listen to me carefully, as this is your cue to ask whatever you’d like. Wait for the revolutionary to be very quiet. Check he’s not sleeping (for he might, what with all these late nights). If he isn’t, make sure he’s engrossed in a letter of Rosa Luxembourg to lover Leo Jochiges, in Polish translated in Russian. Then go ahead and ask! He’ll give you a non commital shrug and a mmm mmm which will force him to acknowledge the fact much later, when he’s come to, that he agreed and that he will have to grant you whatever you’ve asked. See? Bliss! Of course, such passion can also have pernicious effects, as he might not notice you’re asleep with your glasses on your nose and your books strewns around you and you wake up with a terrible headache while he saw you but did not even notice you had your glasses on. As in, they’re part of your anatomy. Pathetic.

But have no fear: revolutionaries tend to be passionate about revolution, but mostly, they’re passionate about people. He’ll talk about you so much everywhere that 1) you’ll be internationally known and 2)families will send you gifts even if they don’t know you (now is it because they feel sorry for you, you’ll never and don’t want to know).

I trust you will take these few tips at heart next time you will meet a revolutionary (and beware of the fakes, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt does not a revolutionary make).


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