For the last few days, I've had the life of Patrick Mac Manus on my mind. I never met him, but I read many of his blogs and FB posts, friended him and we wrote back and forth for a few months. I admit that it wasn't until after he died that I realized the scale of his advocacy beyond his vast writing and efforts to reveal the situation in Palestine to the world. He was always kind, tender even, and generous with his time. I always felt honored to find his replies in my notices, because I knew that whatever he would say to me was going to be brilliant, wise, fair and dignity affirming, even for those who might reject his analysis. Reading his blog was, and still is, a pinnacle experience- and humbling, because I have a big head and defer to too few as possibly possessing the capacity to teach me anything about issues of humanity. (A liberal arts education can do that to people.) His strengths were not my own. He summarily dismissed no idea. Not even that nothing will change. But even his last communication with his FB friends would tell us what work that needs to be done has its own value, separate from its fruits. "Goodbye, dear friends. Last wishes are for the struggle for a better life for all people and for the earth itself!" The struggle. Its knowing that its about the struggle, and having learned and relearned and still learning that from him makes him so special to me. I miss him. Mostly because I know there is is nothing, if he were still living, that he could say that could add to what he has already shared. Injustice requires action. Action can take many forms, but I learned from Patrick that acts that lay bare a particular principle of human rights applies to a certain set of facts is the greatest of all. In my mind I can see myself sitting at my computer the first time I grasped that past the ignorant and greedy, beyond simple political expediency lives the enemies dedicated to ensuring that doesn't happen. You can know universal rights exist. Just don't actually try to apply them. They will kill first. Which blew all to hell my idea that everyone will accept the truth given enough information. It was huge.
That revelation was fresh in my mind when he died of undisclosed health reasons less than a year after spending, if I remember correctly, about 3 months or something, kidnapped and held in an Israeli prison. Being ever overly suspicious, I've just had to trust that those who where close to him know that his illness and death and his time in Israel are not related. Because I know sometimes there is no bad guy. Life is hard. And then we die. Which makes living and inspiring others to live, a life that lessens the collective burden all that much more such an honorable endeavor.
Some of you know of his work and appreciate that his life could inspire a few days of reflection here and there. But for those who don't, I'd like to introduce you to him. His works are scattered and some things can be found by switching around the spelling of his name. Because a few notable people share the name some weeding through might be required. But:
I wish I knew him well enough to write a worthy wiki about him. I know he was from Ireland and liked Pink Floyd!
If you do take the time to check him out, and find anything that strikes you, please share it around. Keeping his ideas and sentiments in revolutionary circulation is strength for the struggle and an appropriate measure of a life well lived.