How to Live with a Pregnant Comrade Without Losing Your Head (Or Laboring Hers)

 Significant Comrade is pregnant.

 

I, the Rev, am going to become a FATHER! Not that I subscribe to the idiotic, bourgeois, reactionary model of the patriarchal family where the biological male has all the power and the privileges within the family cell and the woman is left as the proletariat of the marriage, as Comrade Engels would say. Because I don’t. Let us be clear about that.

 

If the doctors are to be believed, I’m to ‘have’ a daughter, not that she will ever be my property, not at all, or that she will necessarily identify as a ‘girl’ as portrayed by the heteronormative patriarchal society, gender being a social construct anyway as Comrade Butler explained it. She will be absolutely free to become whatever and whoever she will want to become and I’ll fiercely love her anyway. Although in hindsight, perhaps maybe not if she decides to work for the World Economic Forum or for Morgan Stanley, or if she becomes a right wing militant, or worse, a Stalinist. Imagine that. Sometimes I can’t sleep just thinking about it.

 

Huh. I realise Significant Comrade and myself will have to tread very carefully if we want to transmit our beliefs and values to our child. But then again, is sharing these with her an act of oppression? Will I be crushing her critical thinking and creativity? Have I already started? You know, because I talk to her, and read things to her, things like ‘Marx at the Margins’, the ‘old social classes and the revolutionary movements of Iraq’ and ‘Hezbollah and Hamas: A contemporary study’. I also sing to her sometimes, things like the International in French, English and Arabic, although Significant Comrade’s temper seems to be slightly shorter than usual and I kind of got yelled at. I tried Bella Ciao, thinking it might be better received, but got the Petit Manuel pour En Finir Avec le Capitalisme thrown at my face, by accident I’m sure.

 

I’m kind of getting yelled at, or cried on, quite a bit at the moment. Sometimes, I wish Comrade Trotsky would have been more of a ‘family’ man, instead of running around in Mexico with iconic painters, so he could have written a book in the vein of the Russian Revolution but on how Revolutionaries could better support their comrades during pregnancy and childbirth. Like last time, when I found the Significant Comrade crying her eyes out in front of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which is in itself a very sore subject in our marriage. I hoped she was being tearful because of the stupidity and crass consumerism of it all, but apparently it was because Kourtney was being mean to Kim. Who are these people? Who is Kourtney? Who is Kim? And why are they making my Significant Comrade cry? Sometimes I can’t help but wonder how Comrade Marx managed with Jenny. I mean, she has been pregnant seven times. Seven. Ah but look at Comrade Karl daughters, all socialist activists, translating the works of their daddy! Sometimes I wonder if my daughter shall do the same with me?

 

When I share my concerns with Significant Comrade, it seems to me that she is not quite so keen on discussing these things with me. Something to do about having enough on her own plate and how would I like to weigh a ton and be full of water and having trouble breathing, sleeping and eating? I have to say, that left me speechless. As a revolutionary, I can not speak in lieu of the oppressed, and my Comrade is clearly being oppressed. Also, when I tried and talked to Significant Comrade about the absolute need of trusting our child to make her own experiences in life and not be overly protective of her, Significant Comrade did not seem to share my views either. I believe her exact words were: ‘Listen to me you stupid Rev, are you the one being asked to expel a baby the size of a ginormous turkey from a hole the size of your nostril? HUH? HUH? Nah, I don’t think so, so you shut the fuck up and you leave me to decide when that child will be able to start with her own experiments with life and that is never, or not until she’s 30 anyway, the world is filled with serial killers and sexual predators’. Which I thought was a bit much, in all fairness, but I thought it best not to argue.

Now that I’m about to become a dad, I value my life.

I am nevertheless hoping that the revolution will prevail soon so that patriarchy and neo-liberalism become things of the past and so I’m trying twice as hard to make it happen before she turns 5. Time is running out my Comrades, let us build a whole new world.

 

Sometimes, when I try and lay my plans for the triumph of revolutionary socialism to the Significant Comrade, she just hugs her pregnancy pillow (which she dubbed ‘her new husband, but I am fine with that, as I do not own my Significant Comrade. Also, it’s a pillow) and tells me to shut up and go to sleep. ‘Your child will be a Menchevik anyway’, she said.

 

And here I am, eyes wide open in the dark. What if she is?  

How to Live with a Revolutionary without Losing your Head – Or PhDing His

Over the past few months, the Rev did not disappear. On the contrary, he seemed to be everywhere around you, writing his PhD THESIS. Which for the Rev isn’t much different than his usual state of being, meaning that he was buried deep between two towers of books that pretty much looked the same to you with titles like: ‘Hezbollah, a discourse’, ‘Hezbollah, a discourse within the discourse’ and ‘Hezbollah, why they are not socialist revolutionaries’ with the occasional reference to Hamas thrown in for the fun of it. All attempts made at talking to the Rev were also met with the following: mmmmm? Grunt. What? Grunt. What did you say? Grunt. Followed by some more muttering to himself that seemed to go like: ‘oh no, my thesis is about 150 000 more words it needs to be, I need to cut it, despair, despair’.
You know you shouldn’t have laughed, but truth be told, you could not help but remember when you used to tell the Rev his articles were too long and people did not have the time or energy to read papers before going to bed on a work day. The Rev is a man of many (leftist) words, and somehow that doesn’t seem to have reached the university guidelines.
– Ah well, he says. I’ll just turn the long version into a book.
Oh goody.

Over these past months, the rev also went to conferences.Mostly to scare people off with his rhetoric,but also sometimes to participate and listen. You foolishly went with him (only sometimes, no need to push it), only to be faced with comrades making jokes you don’t understand about Campists (and neither does my word processor who just underlined the very word and wants to replace it by ‘campsite’). Apparently, campism has nothing to do with Comrades going off camping in some nice place like normal people, but refers to a Trotskyist (who the fuck else?) concept of people who either defend Stalinism or capitalism. Needless to say, Comrade Trotsky and his ilk refuse Campism and oppose both.
Or something like that, but it’s entirely possible I misunderstood (mostly because I don’t care), so please do not take my word for it.
Campists or not, you mildly appreciated it when a largely inebriated crowd of comrades sang The International, no sorry, sorry the ENTIRE International below your window at 4 in the morning in a bout of revolutionary fervor during one week end long Summer University. Suddenly, you had very warm feelings towards social democrats. The Rev swears he wasn’t amongst them. You don’t believe him. He’s only saying this so you don’t become a socialist.

The Rev also went to the Grand Mass of Marxism, namely, to Marxism. For those blessed enough not to know, Marxism is a significant conference organised by the Socialist Workers Party in the UK where people like the Rev meet and discuss heatedly the issues of the day like knowing if the USSR was governed by state capitalism or was in fact a degenerated workers states. Basically the Rev’s idea of heaven (that is, if he were religious, which he isn’t, although he respects people who are, as religion fills a certain social need. Or something)The Rev, bless his heart, sent me a text from Marxism telling me: ‘I’m attending a conference on the reasons behind the failing of the Russian Revolution. You’d have loved it’.
To which I answered that I would so totally have loved it, and thanked him profusely for offering me my next Facebook status.
I don’t bite the hand that feeds me.
Plus The Rev came back with gifts: a Rosa Luxembourg T-shirt for you, A ‘Marx was right’ mug for him and a Che Guevara t-shirt for your child. That she’ll be able to wear when she’s about 12 because ‘there was no smaller size and so he bought an S’.

Yes, against your better judgement,you are now in your 6th month of pregnancy with the Rev’s child.
He’s pretty excited about it too: he’s already planning on reading Trotsky to her (to which I have no objection, I’m sure it’ll send that poor kid right off to sleep) (No says the Rev, no! she’ll love it! She won’t be a reactionary like you!)
To prove his point, he started reading out to her ‘Marx at the Margins’. After the first couple of words, she kicked. The Rev thinks it was out of delight, You think she was just attempting at kicking her father, in a desperate attempt at making him stop.

The fact that you’re already planning on raising her as a feminist isn’t remotely the same as the Rev trying to turn her into a socialist revolutionary. You’re doing it to liberate her from the shackles of patriarchal oppression. He’s just doing it to bug you.

In any case, your child will do what children do best: rebel and go against you.
In your case, she’ll probably be working at Wall Street, advocating for more laws and regulations preventing women to have control over their own body.

You obviously can’t wait.

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How to live with a revolutionary without losing your head (Or WSFing his)

The Rev went to the World Social Forum in Tunis.

The Horror.

The horroooooorrrr.

Imagine. Just imagine, all these revolutionaries, so-called revolutionaries, leftists, pseudo-post-feminists, members of the second, third, fourth and even fifth International just roaming free in the streets of the Tunis, pretending they can dance to the sound of darbouka and quoting Marx right, left and center. Imagine the hippies, the Tunisian mukhabarat, the states-sponsored organisations trying to convince you that yes, Bashar Al Assad is a resistant and that Comrade Khomeiny really did stand for the oppressed. Imagine the Palestinian flags getting intertwined with the sickle and hammer. Imagine Oxfam and USAid in the middle of this, acting completely unaware that they were almost as in their right place than a cockroach in a pot of pristine white cream.

Imagine the Rev in the middle of this.

The horror.

You foolishly went with him. I mean, you really did need to keep an eye on him, just to make sure he was not traumatizing the Tunisian people, these poor things have enough on their plate. You went, thinking, ah well, I will follow one or two sessions and then what I’ll do is, I’ll go to the Madina and to Sidi Bou Said to eat myself stupid and buy local artifacts to support the local economy (translate by: to exemplify the evil consumerist urge of buying gorgeous plates and leather satchels and not giving two damns about it being an evil consumerist urge. Take that, world social forum!)

What happened was, on the very first day, you had to restrain the Rev and pull him out of not one, but two fights.

The Rev is 2cm short of 1m90. You are 23cm off the 1m90 mark. And of course, you were wearing flats, so you barely reached his armpit.
And yet, you shoved him aside like there was no tomorrow, pushing him away from the crowd and yelling at him like a madwoman.
The Rev, you see, had spotted some Bashar supporters, who, let’s face it, really did want to be spotted, what with them carrying a ginormous pro-Bashar Syrian flag (is there even such a thing?) and in case we were confused, pictures of the blue-eyed tyrant with slogans such as ‘we’re all with you’. Er, no we’re not.
Now you completely understand the Rev’s rage. You even share it, no questions asked. The teeny tiny glitch is that the setting of the fight was as follows:
– Pro-Bashar supporters: 25
– Rev: Rev (plus you, ok)
You felt the issue might not have been in favour of the Rev. So you shoved and shoved until his cries of ‘traitors! Murderers! Thieves! Cowards! The Syrian people will get their freedom ya KLEB!’ Were drowned in the peaceful chants of some organisations or others.
The fact that Stalinists roamed the campus of the world social forum really did nothing to impress you with the world social forum. I mean, what’s the point of doing a song and dance about social justice and all this ‘another world is possible’ hoopla if it’s to end up having to listen to participants glorifying war criminals. Seriously. You’d be better off at Fashion Week. At least there no one is pretending they’re doing it for the good of humankind.

However, the Rev, with his sweet, forgetful nature, was soon enough feeling better and while severely criticizing and despising the pro-criminals people (KLEB!) he managed to meet up with every comrade under the sun he could get his hands on, attending meetings, organizing and coordinating campaigns, drafting statements as if they were going out of style.
He even went to Gafsa to talk with the workers on strike there an offer his solidarity, luckily without falling into a phosphate mine while he was at it.

You? Oh, after telling a SWP member that you belonged to the 4th International (just to see his face fall, you like being mean to people),you spent most of your time in Sidi Bou Said, like a lizard in the sun.
The fact that you don’t know the difference between the third and the fourth international is irrelevant, and in any case, when the Rev explained it to you, you were not impressed.

I mean, who CARES if the USSR was a state capitalism system or a degenerate proletarian state? Seriously people, that’s what they’re fighting about.

Who cares? I asked the Rev. The USSR is extinct anyway. For fuck’s sake.
The Rev looked at you ever so kindly, then laughed. Truth be told, you thought, these people could do with a laugh. And with a serious make over.

You’re in the process of founding your own international. Invitation only, of course.

How to Live with a Revolutionary (and your family) without losing your head (or defecting to North Korea)

When the Rev entered your life, some time around his Nahda period ( the turn of the 19th century Arab Nahda kind of Nahda not the Tunisian kind if Nahda, whom of course the Rev is highly suspicious of, what with them being an ersatz of the Muslim Brotherhood and what with all their awful neo-liberal policies), you did not think politics would come into play, nor were you much worried about him getting along with your family. I mean, you were young and in love, you did not think of these things.
As it transpired, perhaps you should have.
You see, You have a post Arab nationalist of a father who really, really wanted to believe in Michel Aflaq then got disappointed and who you believe has a secret admiration for Hassan Nasrallah and an apolitical mother for whom nothing and no one really existed after Bashir Gemayel ( I know. I’m not proud either). As for your sister, all she speaks about is refugees, especially children, welling up about them most of the times. As it happens, she barely reaches the Rev’s knees so most of the times he can’t even hear her anyway.
Well, and of course you have the Rev, a proud socialist revolutionary who can quote Comrade Trotsky, Comrade Lenin and Comrade Saïd in one go, muttering endlessly about neo-liberalism and orientalism and its cousin, orientalism in reverse.
When all your loved ones get together, it can indeed, get pretty, er, shall we say, interesting.
While the Rev would companionably sit down and eat my father’s hummus, for every revolutionary has common human needs, your mother would eye him suspiciously. Was he or was he not Christian? As it happens, the Rev is an atheist who only acknowledges the presence of Jesus Christ in the framework of the Theology of the Liberation, when Jesus becomes Comrade JC. You know your mother would ask questions. You know she would not like the answers. You know you want your peace of mind and Comrade JC simply won’t give it to you, so you lunge like Harry Potter reaching for the Snitch, get that piece of kebbe and unceremoniously shove it into the Rev’s face, gluing his lips together, giving you plenty of time to redirect the inquisitive stare of your mother towards you. Well done. Be proud. You’ve avoided the first land mine.
On to coffee, where the second landmine awaits, a much, much bigger one, namely, the revolutions in the Middle East North Africa region. You see, the clue is in the name. The Rev is, well, a revolutionary, who shall defend the legitimacy and righteousness of the revolution until his last breath. Your father is convinced every ills befalling the region is Israel/The US’s fault. The rev will say the revolutions are a product of a long term mass popular mobilization against the growing social inequalities coupled with oppressive, authoritarian states. Your father will say all of this is turning into an Islamist Fest and who does it benefit? Israel and its sinister ally, the US. To which the Rev would try and answer that Palestine is Immortal and that of course Israel is a colonial, oppressive state but that there are materialistic conditions to take into account when analyzing the revolutions. Your father: I’m telling you. It’s a conspiracy. The Americans have a plan. They always have.
To which the Rev usually can not answer much because by that time you’d flung your niece across the stairs just to create a diversion, leaving everyone to gather around her giggling self to make sure she’s ok (you didn’t fling her hard, your sister would rant even more about children).
As it happens, enough sparks of revolutions were emitted from the Rev for your parents to understand who they were dealing with. Your mother now knows he’s an atheist and she calls him every Sunday morning to try and entice him to at least watch the Sunday mass on the Telly. He gently explains to her the Theology of the Liberation, she asks God why she had to have an atheist, leftist Son-in-law while she was such a good Christian and these thins are sent to try us. And the Rev hangs up, watching tele foot (for football is the only acceptable alternative to reading Marx).
– Your mother called, we had a good chat, I think she really is coming around on the Theology of the Liberation.
You pick up the phone, sighing, to assess the damage while he grins at you, blissfully oblivious of the very obvious crisis on your hand. Your mother laughs on the phone. The rev can actually get away with what he wants.
You barricade yourself in your room. I mean. You’re lucky you have me. No one told ME living with a revolutionary was so exhausting.

How to Live with a Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head (Or Becoming His)

You’re not sure. The symptoms are creeping up on you, taking you off guard. You’re not sure but you might very well be, gasp, in the process of becoming a revolutionary.
Needless to say, it kind of shook you.
The first time you saw it happen, you watched it from afar, like someone watching a train wreckage, fascinated yet unable to do anything about it. It was when the Rev was virulently criticizing the muslim brotherhood, stating they were not socio-democrats, making a parallel with Kerensky: Kerensky! That traitor! They are not like Kerensky ! We shall boycott the referendum in Egypt! Let us not legitimize something that can never be legitimized! And instead of pinching him and reminding him he was NOT Egyptian and therefore had little to say in the matter, let alone actually vote on it, you surprised yourself by thinking: ah Kerensky, that Menshevik. How did you know he was a Menshevik? At the time you didn’t really pay attention to it, thinking that you went to university after all and might actually remember a thing of two. When you shared your concerns with the Rev about your sense of impeding doom, he called knowing your Mensheviks from your Bolsheviks ‘the basics’ and seemed utterly unimpressed.
But the dread stayed with you.
You soon came to realized you knew the lyrics of l’Internationale. Not that you actually liked it, but still, you knew it nonetheless. Then the symptoms started piling up at an alarming rate, without you always noticing. You started having nervous fits causing you to insult the TV and throw things at it, frothing at the mouth, every time you saw Marine Le Pen on the news, while the Rev was explaining how much of a myth it was that workers voted for the far right in France and that there was a need to deconstruct this myth and make it appear that it was indeed that evil class, the petit-bourgeois, these reactionary heretics, that were to blame.
You started humming to Bella Ciao at unexpected times.
You went to a Revolutionaries meeting, and actually participated instead of rolling your eyes so far back into your head they did a 360. You did realize it was in a God Forsaken basement with a dreadful lamp giving the room a depressing light making your skin look gray and under normal circumstances, the bourgeois spoilt brat that you are would have laughed and belted it to some cozy café (Note: NOT Starbucks. Never Starbucks. You’re not that bad), but this time you stayed and actually gave some input.
At the end, the Rev, the Chair if the meeting (what else?) warmly congratulated you. The happy look on his face was the seal that translated your lingering anxiety into something articulable: you. were.on.a.slippery slope. You tried poking fun at him but your heart wasn’t in it, you had other things to worry about. What if it were irreversible and you were stuck in a state of permanent revolution, starting boring people into a stupor each time you would meet them, arguing until the Rapture about the difficult position of the left vis à vis the Syrian crisis?
As usually happens, Beirut saved you. Following four hours of flight and incessant infant screaming, you were in a right mind to 1) force feed Xanax to the next child you saw and 2) give a lecture to inapt parents about telling your child off when said four year old child was screaming for the sake of it, just to test his voice or something. The Rev, always the humanist, was playing with the kids, spotted an elderly couple and helped them with their luggage. Sneering, you spat: what now Abouna Rev, shall we wait to help more people with their children/luggage/life?
You had made fun of him AND you had called him Abouna, which is not as bad as being called a Stalinist but is still a religious title nonetheless, and we all know what the Rev thinks about organized religion.
You were back.

How To Live With A Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head, Or Co-opting His

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The Revolutionary has been following this column with ever increasing concern now. ‘What are you saying about me again? Please make sure the facts are accurate, you never know, we might recruit more people through your series’. Needless to say, the Rev has not understood the very concept of fiction (although sometimes I wish the content of my column was fiction), and needless to say, the Rev is delusional. I’m not recruiting anyone; I’m giving out hope to fellow people living with revolutionaries. We shall overcome.

The Rev has friends. Well, he has friends and he has comrades. See, they’re not the same. Friends are long term acquaintances the Rev met when he was still debating what his ideology of choice would be, at a time when he had elected his thought leader would be Zinedine Zidane. The Rev’s friends are usually bankers or real estate brokers or other nasty uber-capitalistic specie whose eyes glaze over whenever the Rev desperately tries to make them turn to the dark revolutionary side where the cookies are fair-trade and organic (such neo-liberal terms, pah, ‘Fair Trade’ another marketing ploy to try and make people forget about the dire oppression of Southern farmers and workers). And herein lies one of the great tragedies of the Revolutionary’s life: How could he ever reconcile his beliefs with the decadent bourgeois lifestyle and belief of his long term friends? They’re his friends, he’s very loyal and he’s nothing but a humanist, I mean, he should be able to make them see the light radiating from the permanent revolution. Such an existentialist conundrum.

As it happens, the Rev’s friends flaunt their paychecks to his face before starting their brand new BMW with a bang with manic laughter, such a graze to his poor heart. They shall never understand the beauty of equality. Sadly for him, the Rev shall never give up on turning friends into Comrades. You have not yet shared with them the ultimate way to get the Rev off your back, which is to call him an oppressive Stalinist. You’re mean.

With a sigh, the Rev therefore goes to his Comrades to find solace. Comrades are people who know their Posadists from their Entrists and who can exactly pinpoint on how many levels Leon Blum was wrong. They can meet up, discuss wildly for hours why the Permanent Revolution is the best socio-political book that was ever written, like, EVER, and agree that mainstream capitalistic thought has infected the heart and minds of potential revolutionaries. They can sing l’Internationale together , translate each other’s work and share the dame sense of humour, giving out hearty guffaws and making thigh-slapping jokes you do not understand: ‘ And then he said, THIS is the real Super-Structure HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

You love the comrades. How could you not? They’re so afraid they might be accused or actually found guilty of sexism they treat you like a prized egg. Which is in itself sexism. You tell them so. You have no shame. As previously mentioned, you’re mean.

You have become highly reluctant to introduce anyone to the Rev, for after thorough assessment, more often than not, he is likely to put on a frown and close up. What’s up, you’ll ask, he’s a liberal, he’ll mumble, and manage to make it sound like an insult. No, you have understood a long time ago that being called a liberal is only third to being called a Stalinist and a social-democrat in the insult scale of the Rev. You thus hide your liberal friends for fear of him trying to ‘recruit’ them.

Recruititis: the uncontrollable compulsion to recruit people to the Party. Starts innocently enough with questions that are actually traps (Do you know where all your social rights come from? The struggle of the left, that’s where they originated from my dear fellow), then it kind of takes a life of its own with the Rev repeating self-fulfilling prophecies with the fervor of an Ayatollah on Ashoura, gently cajoling you: you’re a Comrade now, yes you are, you’re a comrade now, until you actually believe you are indeed a Comrade, without you knowing how it happened.

You could try and come to the rescue of the cornered poor soul and free him from the ever seducing claws of the Rev, only it’s decidedly too funny when it’s not happening to you.

Yes.

You’re mean.

 

A Day in the Life of The Revolutionary

A day in the life of a Revolutionary

07:30: Alarm rings. The Revolution never sleeps, why should the Rev? And by extension, why should you?

07:31: Opens eyes. Asks you if you’re a socialist revolutionary. You’re a 28 year old highly tired woman who hasn’t had her coffee yet. Your eyes still closed, you say no. You distinctly remember mumbling something along the lines of ‘fuck off, you and the revolution’

07:35: Anguish. He’s married to a bourgeois reactionary. How did that happen?

07:36: No point in dwelling on this, after all, isn’t he supposed to attract people as much as he can to the cause? He shall overcome. Gets out of bed.

07:37: Turns on YouTube. Puts on his playlist ‘Revolutionary Songs for the Revolutionary’.

07:38: L’Internationale blaring from the computer for the whole world to hear. Enters showers. Starts singing.

07:39 – 08:20: Showers, get dressed, while you’re being treated to Bella Ciao, L’Internationale, Na7na El Thawra Wou El Ghadab, complete with his own voice and a little dance routine. Murderous thoughts threaten to choke you.

08:25: Practices mock speeches in front of mirror to other make believe revolutionaries. You tell him he looks like a rambling dictator. Abruptly stops, looking wounded. He has woken you at an ungodly hour to the sound of L’internationale. You consider yourself entitled to hurt him. You have no shame. You live to vex him.

08:30: Asks you again if you’re a socialist revolutionary. Tells you you have the thinking already, and that the step from feminist to socialist revolutionary is really quite minimal.

08:32: Applies band aid to where your shoe hit him.

08:35: Makes you coffee.

08:36: Sits in front of computer for the daily ‘Revue de Presse’.

08:37: You break a glass, cut yourself, noisily look for a pretty band aid, burn yourself with your hair straighteners, call your mother who yells in the phone as if you were in Zimbabwe (while she actually lives 30 minutes away from you). Rev doesn’t budge.

11:00: Finishes reading up daily press round up. Newspapers in English, French and Arabic have been read, shared on Facebook, insipid authors have been duly insulted, inept so-called political leaders (real oppressors, sucking the blood of the people, more like) have been exposed. All geared up for next attack.

11:00-12:30: Updates blogs. Keeps finding new photos, writes new articles. ‘This is the real face of the revolution, not the crap mainstream media is showing! Let Us show the truth’

12:30: Doesn’t eat. Having lunch is for bourgeois capitalist who have the luxury of time. The Revolution can’t wait.

12:35: Calls you. Asks if you’re a socialist revolutionary. You tell him his persistence reminds you of the black days of Stalinism, and would Comrade Trotsky approve of this oppression he’s exerting.

12:36: Whimpers. Did you just call him a STALINIST????

12:36-18:36: Reads.Writes.Researches. Reads. Writes.Researches. Occasionally speaks to self and computer. Reads. Writes.Researches. Reads.Writes.Researches.Sends emails to political groups admonishing them for lack of activism. ‘I want the flyer ready for this Saturday, I insist, we need to spend the afternoon traipsing after people, pressing it on them until they’re too scared to refuse’. ‘Did you do the flyer? Did you?’ ‘Ce n’est pas sérieux!’

19:00: Has dinner with you. Artfully leaves books on the hope that you’ll read them. You toss the anthology of the Bund aside and very purposefully open a stupid novel in front of him.

19:05: Starts actually telling you about the Bund.

19:06: Gently removes your head from the oven, promises he’ll stop, then takes off for Revolutionary meeting.

23:30: Comes back. Wakes you up ‘we’ve had a fantastic idea! We’re gonna do a flash mob, a round table and a demo on Saturday afternoon! yes! At the same time! Yes!’

23:35: Skulk as you told him no one will come to the three at the same time and why does he like waking you up all the time? Why?

23:40: Starts first Skype call of the night with Comrades abroad. Half asleep, you hear some ‘jokes’: ‘And THEN! I Told him he was an entrist! HAHAHAHAHAHA’. You believe you were facepalming in your dream.

02:40: Finally turns off light. Gives you a kiss.

02:41: In the dark. All his blissfully silent.

02:42: Asks you if you’re a socialist revolutionary.

How to Live With A Revolutionary Without Losing Your Head: Or Beiruting His

The Rev is back. Not that I had felt his adventures would be gone forever, but at some point you have to evolve past the bourgeois witticism and actually get your hands dirty in the Revolution.
Which I did, but let’s face it, I am worse than useless with an AK-47 and much more apt at sitting on my privileged ass and observe the dynamics propelling the Revolutionary at the heart of the struggle.
While we have been busy with other things, the Rev has been deepening his understanding of The Cause and The Revolution. The Rev has even moved for a while and lived in Beirut for a year. You thought you’d have a year long honeymoon. He thought he could get closer to the centre of the revolutions shaking the Middle East. You thought you’d travel around Lebanon for the scenery and the people. He thought he’s travel around Lebanon to interview trade unions activists and fellow revolutionaries.
Clearly, you had the same expectations. Same wavelength anyone?

The Rev arrived in Beirut a bit worried: I mean, Lebanon really has a long standing tradition of conservatism and a neo-liberal, ugly capitalist economy. Ah but never fear, for historical materialism is applicable everywhere, and Comrade Trotsky would never allow you to despair! Let us be like Comrade Guevara and ignite focos everywhere, even at the heart of the counter-revolution!

Now you have only been once to the Lebanese Amn el 3am, and didn’t like the experience too much. The place could have had TORTURE CENTRAL written all over it, it was so bleak and testosterony and miserable. However, all of a sudden, you started imagining the rev getting arrested, beaten up and locked up in a cell somewhere. I mean, all this bashing of the police and security forces could not possible do him any good: this unit? A sectarian cell! And this one? An even more sectarian institution! Down down with the sectarian system down!

You lost a bit of weight, naturally, from having your stomach knotted in a nice little bow of anxiety, which was only made worse by him insisting he needed to go to Nabatiyeh, Zahleh and other places to interview obscure leaders of obscure factions. But the Rev could not confine himself in Beirut. I mean, Beirut is all well and dandy but there are other fields to discover, other souls to awaken to the wonders of the Permanent Revolution. You let him go, then started worrying after him not calling you. You’d think he was being held, or that he had a car crash on Dahr El Baydar, or worse, that he had finally gave in, joined one faction and started his military training. Eventually, he’d call: ‘Hi! Sorry! I was having such an interesting conversation! Then they kept me for Siyadiyyeh! Then I tried to convince them that Stalinists were an ugly breed and that they needed to join the 4th international’!

The Rev could not be in Lebanon and not go to the Palestinian camps. You went with him once. You wanted to, alternatively, lie down and weep, kill Lebanese authorities, burn dawalib and stomp your feet, screaming it’s not fair! It’s disgusting! Shame on the country who keeps human beings in such a state! Tfouh! Tfeh! Akh! Needless to say, you were utterly useless.
The Rev, however, because he is enlightened by the warmth of the Revolution and inhabited by the spirit of Comrade Trotsky, knew exactly how to behave. In no time, he knew everyone in the camp, played football with kids (whom he annoyed, I mean the kids wanted to play football, he wanted to use football in order to share excerpts of the book he’s working on, Comrade Trotsky at the Kolkhoze, a kind of Children’s book with barn animals except in this one agricultural workers owned their means of production) and was having tea under the flag of the Jabha Sha3biyye, bemoaning the death of Comrade Habash. You know, as you do.

Just a regular day in the life of the Rev.

Now aren’t you happy the rev is back? Stay Tuned, for the Rev had much more adventures in Beirut!