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

Chapter 8: On Comrades, Concepts and Bad Days

The revolutionary tends to mostly be a happy go lucky kind of person. He has to, for the revolution couldn’t possibly be carried by negative, all-year-round miserable people: there needs to be enthusiasm in the struggle! Fiery passion when singing l’Internationale! Motivation in the picket lines! Not to mention the fact that you need quite the nervous system to bear all the (minor, he’ll tell you) setbacks the global, permanent revolution has had to endure since Comrade Marx published his Manifesto. No, the revolution is a positive person kind of job, no time for whiny bourgeois spoiled brats.

However, and despite contradicting evidence, the revolutionary is human and has sometimes some down days, or less chirpy moments. You see, it sometimes hits the revolutionary that some Great Comrades are no longer with us (please note: it is believed that revolutionaries never die, for their struggle survives them, so we’re only talking here about mere physical absence). The revolutionary will be happily reading the Bible (The Permanent Revolution, of course) or the Sequel to the Bible (The Russian Revolution, what else?) (I hope by now you do realise that both are from Comrade Trotsky), he’ll be nodding in approval of every word, muttering under his beard “See! When you read the Russian Revolution, you find all the features we’re encountering right now in the Arab Spring! This is why Comrade Trotsky is so relevant! This is why he’s so unbelievably great!” And then it hits him. Comrade Trotsky is long gone. The Revolutionary will never be able to shake his hand, talk with him about the permanent revolution, or even organise a little demo with him.


That saddens the revolutionary. Sighing, he’ll go back to his readings, a heaviness to his heart.

Of course, the revolutionary doesn’t only miss Comrade Trotsky. Comrade Habash for example is another much loved comrade, one that the revolutionary only thinks highly of. Oh! To have shared, if only briefly, an escape from a Syrian prison with al Hakim!

Alas, this will never be. *More sighing*

Thankfully, the revolutionary finds solace in toying with Concepts and badgering you all day long with them, waiting for you at the corner of politically and revolutionary correct, so much so that you’ll weigh every word carefully before you let them go out of your mouth (as if). For examples, you’re not allowed to generalise some people under “The Arabs blah blah blah”. That’s orientalism. Comrade Said said so. And you’re not allowed to compare people “The Arabs” vs “Westerners”. That’s orientalism in reverse. Comrade Said said so too. Even if it’s only to say “The Arabs put more spices in their dishes than Westerners”. How do you know? How can you generalise, stigmatise, reduce peoples like that? And then he starts its rant, where you’re usually featured as an evil product of bourgeois narrow-mindedness, when really you were just cooking, making your life a living hell.

You’re not living with a revolutionary for nothing. You do remember the slogan “one solution, revolution!”. You hence rebel. You’ll have to. Survival Skills. Just tell him he’s oppressing you by correcting every word you say, violating your basic rights, being uttely machist and conservative, all of which SUPREMELY COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY.

No bigger insult than being called counter-revolutionary. That ought to send him back to his readings, sulking, while you can go back to being your orientalist, reverse-orientalist, conservative self.

Now don’t tell me I ain’t doing anything to help you cope with living with a revolutionary!


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