Paola Salwan – Lebanese Author

Link: Paola Salwan – Lebanese Author

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How to Live with a Revolutionary Without Losing your Head (Or Turning His In)

Chapter 5: On conferences and public speaking

The revolutionary absolutely loves public speaking, for where else would he get the training for his opening speech when the revolution is finally victorious and the Proletariat has finally taken over? Hence the revolutionary thrives to be ready for such instances at all times. 

The training starts in front of his mirror, while getting ready in the morning: After singing himself hoarse l’Internationale (for more on that, please see here) the revolutionary will really get into business and start drafting (loudly) his first address to whatever people he has chosen on that particular day (Not that it matters, really, we are just one big people, united by the STRUGGLE). Be prepared to be in extremely close acquaintance with this word, for you will hear it. Quite a lot. As in “The struggle is at the core of our struggle against evil bourgeois domination and controle of production means, we have to struggle to win the struggle for controls over our resources, while struggling all the more for the struggle”. Okay then. 

The revolutionary will take all these good practices to the various events he’s invited to speak at. Rule n°1: the event needs to be organised by Comrades and like minded people, for the revolutionary doesn’t care much about normalisation, be it with the Zionist enemy or with the Bourgeois entities. You’ll soon find yourself in Union retreats (where nobody, and I say that with love but still, absolutely nobody will refer to you as something else than a Comrade, which will cause minor personality disorders to you, such as running to get your AK-47 and not finding it, but anyway). You’ll also develop a thorough knowledge of Popular Universities, bookshop basements, remote conference rooms in remote locations, in any case, far from the plush cosiness of a proper conference room of a proper hotel. Pah, you should get rid of your extravagant bourgeois taste. The revolutionary will start his speech with words of thanks, and then literally launch himself into the subject, full of fiery passion, getting all worked up, waving his hands in all directions to enhance his point, annontated papers flying about, a pen in his hand: “It IS imperialism! We shall REFUSE it! WE shall STRUGGLE together to reach our ultimate aim! And when the struggle is over we should struggle even more!”,the whole thing punctuated with theoretical quotes to build is rev-cred. 

The revolutionary will slowly start growing his (well earned)reputation as a public speaker and will therefore be invited to participate and speak in other countries, his enthusiasm once more hardly understandable to you: How impossibly great! I’m invited to go speak at the Workers’ University of Tadjikistan! Amazing! I shall start translating the Bible (i.e. The Permanent Revolution from Comrade Trotsky) right away! Should you decide to accompany the revolutionary, you will do so at your own risk, meaning: you will first and foremost remind him of all the countries he’s banned from entering (remember all those articles? Well they WERE widely shared), you will then stress at borders (you never know when he might get banned again), you will run from Istanbul to London to watch him be part of a panel, in a word, you’ll be exhausted, while the revolutionary will be happily humming all along, deeply engrossed in the arguments he’s going to present, oblivious of all the menacing stares and questions of the officers eyeing his passport as if it were a particularly dangerous nuclear artefact. Ah, don’t worry, they’re oppressed too and need to come to our side, they’ll see sense. Errrr. No. 

The revolutionary is also a keen follower of conferences, where he usually scares panelists with remarks ranging from “you’re a collaborator and a traitor to the cause” to “your argument could be good but is sadly flawed”. The terrifying effect of the revolutionary’s comments usually strike everyone except him: What? What did I say? Look, he’s grateful, he gave me his card and told me I should contact him, we’re going to work together for the struggle. 

We never said living with a revolutionary was an easy task now did we? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to look up those two men who attented the last conference, to check from what secret services they were. Let’s get banned again!