On Our Duty to Celebrate Oscar
by Matt Meyer
Puerto Rican Patriot Oscar Lopez Rivera is NOW FREE! Transferred this week to San Juan, Puerto Rico, he will not be able to travel, hold meetings, give speeches or statements until his official date of clemency on May 17, 2017. He will serve his last days till then in a US federal facility in Puerto Rico. But he will be able to see his beloved daughter, granddaughter, siblings and family, to eat the foods of his youth, to see “the water’s edge” of which he profoundly wrote during his 35 years behind bars for the thought-crime of seditious conspiracy. He is on his homeland, and though he cannot yet feel the full force of the embrace of the entire peoples of Puerto Rico, he is nonetheless surrounded by that love and solidarity.
This piece, which I initially wrote some weeks ago, seems more poignant than ever today. It suggests that human rights activists, and lovers of peace and justice everywhere have a responsibility to analyze and understand this case in the most positive and strategic of lights. Seditious conspiracy may have been Oscar’s convicted crime, and he did indeed serve years in solitary confinement and prison for thinking and planning with others how best to liberate his people, but the process and progress of movements for liberation have not been wholly shackled in this period. Oscar’s victory today, and ours, is indicative of a growing momentum as people’s movements taken more coordinated, conscious, and concrete shape. If we do not take time to celebrate advances even in the midst of bleak times, we will not be able to strategically envision or enact other winnable campaigns on the road to ultimate victory. Oscar’s thinking and planning has continued up to this very day, and so must ours. (more…)