When death comes snitching: a tribute to Rep. Adolph A. Lawrence and Gwendolyn Dabah Wilson

By Alfred P. B. Kiadii |

And once more the savage intruder has snitched two of our citizens away. No permission was sought. No approval. No prior notice for preparation. No due process. No indication for farewell. This is the mystery of the agent death. This is the cruelty of this rank enemy. It comes without invite; it takes with scandalous violence, and it dehumanizes humanity. Its aftermath leaves grimace, shock, and pathos. All too often we are reminded about it each time one of us departs this world.

Death wants us to mourn. It wants us to remain silent. It wants us to kowtow to it. This cruel agent wants us to not enjoy life. So that we must always be haunted by the dread of an impromptu end, by the inglorious apocalypse. It is not in our nature to give up hope.  The opportunity life offers us to bask in felicity must be enjoyed, nevertheless the ups and downs.  Since life started on the planet, it has been the commixture of sadness and happiness, disappointment and joy, so death cannot change how we must enjoy life.

I have neither come to mourn, nor to sing a ballad, nor to purvey a requiem, nor to pen a panegyric. To do so is to fall prey to the straitjacket of death, to play to its sterile gallery, to surrender to its blackmail, and to endorse its last laugh.  For its monstrosity is at the same time its weakness. What kind of foe which does a battle with people when they are unaware, not prepared, and taken by surprise? This is death the cruel beast! Death the ultimate enemy! Death the common nightmare!

Throughout history life has been an incomplete project for some of the most courageous souls, for many of the honest revolutionaries, for some determined radicals, and for some of the most decent working class-cadres. To be afro-centric, Amilcar Cabral came to an abrupt end; Sylvanus Olympio ended on a rather tragic note. Frantz Fanon was silenced when the time was ripe to contribute to the post-colonial project, and Felix Moumie was crushed when his survival was an exigency.  So it was with Patrice Lumumba, Modibo Kieta, and Steve Biko. And in the African diaspora, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, and Fred Hampton all left when the struggle was at a critical point.

In Latin America, the Caribbean and the West Indies, the names Maurice Bishop, Carlos Fronseca, Salvador Allende, Abel Santamaria, Walter Rodney, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Victor Jara, and Pablo Neruda come to mind. In the international working class struggle, Rosa Luxembourg, Inessa Armand all expired when life needed them, but death came calling. What a contradiction!

Yet pitiful knickknacks and lousy scroungers who were pushed forward by an accident of history, lacking the understanding, showing total cluelessness about struggle and sacrifice, about the masses and their potency, and about dignity and liberty are at the promptings of their master on a field day slandering two of our decent citizens who perished in a fatal motor accident. But these reeks are cowards. It is a mark of irrationality and cowardice to pick a fight with people who have gone to rest, and who when alive could deflate you in a split second and discard your rotten intellectual bodies. It is beyond absurdity, beyond psychosis, and beyond senility that CDC psychopaths would embark on such sordid venture when those whom they vilify cannot defend themselves! But the defect of inadequacy allows the weak to celebrate the downfall of their opponents when those persons are no more. They don’t surprise me because they are feeding into what they know best: neurotic stupidity.

In their make-believe world, the counterrevolutionary gangsters laugh, discharging a salvo of purulent vitriol. They pour a spate of scorn on the collective memory of our two fallen citizens. They are celebrating a victory. These nouveaux riches are not aware that human beings are a relative agency. A struggle doesn’t come to an end because certain frontline generals perished. The revolution hinges not on a particular person.  Its course is shaped in real life struggle, and it ends is determined by the class struggle. It is the revolution which makes the individual and not the individual who makes the revolution. When one fighter falls, out of the people will emerge new social forces to take the struggle forward. This is the law of revolution which has been proved by dialectical and historical materialism. That is why it is a grotesque historical simplism to equate the struggle to the wit and brilliance of an individual so when that messiah is taken off the struggle collapses. Such crude reductionism is a galling folly and smacks of absurdity.

Adolph Lawrence, men who respect dignity and struggle for liberty conquer death. They are quite aware that for one to struggle against a ruling cabal one must first self-immolate himself in the cause of the people. When the hour proves tough, you stood tall. When voices decided to be complicit and watch the looting without being moved by the scandal and the attendant moral decay and smarting economic drudgery, your voice became nonconformist and profane in the ears of elements who accumulate wealth through primitive methods, or by dispossession, or by dominating others. You terrorized them in the realm of ideas, because you played with ideas so they feared you, because you stood on the side of the people so you became an anathema. Such terse description embody you.

Of course, the great struggle of our era will not be settled by parliamentary cretinism, not in the hollow chamber of the legislature, but the chamber can be used to put the regime on trial and expose the excesses of the failed project. That is what you did. It is the mark of your genius! Howbeit, the ultimate battle will be settled in the streets through the class struggle. It will be a battle between the forces of revolution and the camp of reaction. How such contradiction is resolved determines the future of the country for a century.

Comrade Veteran, you died fighting for the ruled and the dominated, for the oppressed and the voiceless, the working masses and their hopeless children, fighting the senile cabal and also warning them that the people are clamouring, and the bell tolls for thee. In that task you displayed unparalleled courage, the rare fervour of a genuine patriot, not lowering your voice, not keeping quiet. But you were resisted, most of your correspondences were pigeonholed and never placed on the floor of the House of Representatives. The enemy tried to keep you quiet, but you always reincarnated yourself. It is an indication of your brilliance, bringing the weaknesses and contradictions of the enemy to the spotlight, and telling them in here you wouldn’t surrender. And surrender you didn’t do but death came snitching!

Gwendolyn Dabah Wilson, your struggle was far from bourgeois feminism which holds the view that to fight against gender inequality is to afford privileged women the opportunity to be engrafted into the power structure as their upper class male colleagues.  You held the position that the women question can only be solved when working-women join with their class brothers to smash capitalism and its neo-colonial variant in the global South.  You knew true liberation of women cannot be achieved within the system of neo-colonial capitalism which promotes inequality, dominates people, and reinforces the system of patriarchy. Such tool of analysis shows you understood the contours of history and the progressive itinerary.

Comrade Sister, yet we had the time to meet in Accra when you attended the Amilcar Cabral ideological school. We talked, we discussed, but the ideological rigor of your coursework and strict adherence to certain values made meeting impossible. However, we agreed that history will afford us another time to meet. The optimism was incurable and the consensus was mutual.  Yet history placed a stricture on it. Looking back at the moment, how I wish we met. But this is the logic of history. Sometimes it allows or disallows, favours or disfavours certain occurrences.

But when one remembers a female who was dedicated to the task of national transformation and renewal, one remembers none but you.  When one talks about a lady who was up to every task, one echoes your name. No struggle was too difficult to risk your life for; no assignment was too herculean for you to perform. Your stoicism, incredible endurance, unspeakable courage, defiant spirit put you head and shoulder above your peers. You were light years ahead of your time.  Altruism ran amok in you. You displayed revolutionary virtues with reckless abandon.  That is why you knew no bigotry, no egoism, no tribalism, no parochialism, and no chauvinism.

You knew few things and few things you were prepared to put your life on the line for—struggle, resistance, pan-Africanism and Liberia. You missed no opportunity to be in progressive circles. You never let a moment pass when you were not with elements of the patriotic camp. If it meant traversing the odds or trekking to be at a venue to discuss freedom, resistance, and dignity you were always there.  And those were your strengths, but equally your weaknesses. They marked your strengths because for you dedication to noble causes was central. Your weaknesses because your insatiability to be with progressive minds closed the chapter on your earthly journey.

Like Matthew Innis, Adolph and Gwendolyn, your end in the fatal accident has the halo of suspicion. It leaves a big room for speculation. But then we are reminded of the satirical words of Mark Anthony put into his mouth by William Shakespeare that “Brutus is an honourable man; so are they all, all honourable men…’’ So we, too, say ‘’Brutus is an honourable man; so are they all, all honourable men…’’ But we summon Thomas Sankara to give Brutus a message: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.’’

Adolph and Gwendolyn, When Wiwi Debbah, Marcus Gbobeh, Momolu Lavala, Wuo Tapia, and Tonie Richardson asked about the Homeland, as Frantz Fanon would say but with a minor exception, but the essence remains instructive nevertheless: “Scandals are numerous, ministers grow rich, their wives doll themselves up, the members of parliament feather their nests and there is not a soul down to the simple police man or the custom officer who does not join the great procession of corruption.”

You must inform them that there is an upsurge of an inverted nationalism in the Homeland, crystallized, crystallized in backward regionalism, parochial chauvinism, partisan hatred, narrow patriotism, and obscene bigotry. Those retrograde proclivities have engendered the false equivalence of the “US vs. Them’’ syndrome. The Weah regime has thus become the hotbed of these malaises. It has been internalized in the psyche of the regime and thus exported by its slavish marionettes against progressive social forces who refused to be browbeaten into the camp of the government. So that being critical is tantamount to being “enemies of the state.’’ So that a defiant justice of the Supreme Court who exercised his fiduciary powers within the metes and bounds of the Constitution of the Republic is being targeted for impeachment based on frivolities. Such that CDC zealots will be corralled and “weaponized’’ against media institutions that refused to serve as echo chambers of the regime or toe the line of the government. Even toxic vocabularies are resurrected, giving a place of pride to blossom and flourish.  Such that people who refused to work with the regime will be fought and others who are suspicious of wanting regime change will be executed. This is the inverted nationalism. A poverty of nationalism! A poverty of ideas! An imperviousness to rationalism! Sadly, this is what is in vogue in the Republic!

Inform Albert Porte, Du Fahnbulleh, Mother Mary Brownell, Edward Wilmot Blyden, G. Baccus Matthews that we are still struggling to construct a nation. Inform them after 171 years we are stuck in the sclerosis of pre-history, and the people have not been brought into history so that they can use the wealth bequeathed to them by nature to expand production and to contribute to a higher civilization. Inform them the nation is in revolutionary ferment and is extremely polarized. Inform them the nation is trapped in “the pitfall of national consciousness” governed by the “Wretched of the Earth.” But tell them that the advanced vanguard of the working people are reading “The Weapon of theory” to “Tell Freedom.” Inform them there is no nirvana, there is no nirvana, and it is “Not yet Uhuru.” Tell them although there is rampant social alienation of the working people by predatory capital in alliance with the regime, which is a running dog of neo-colonialism and spoilt children of yesterday’s deprivation but today’s government officials, popular forces are resisting such albatross. Inform them there is also a “Silent Class struggle”’ that stands the chance of metamorphosing into a radical one so that “the big confrontation cannot be indefinitely postponed.”’

If nothing your lives taught us, it has taught us no matter how short one existence is, contribute to struggling humanity. That the achievement of life is not in the longevity of the existence of a person, the properties or wealth acquired, but in the impact one makes in the hours afforded him to exist. Your tragic end brought to the fore the national neglect, the backwardness of the society, and the underdevelopment of the Republic. If there were no neglect, police would patrol that road to ensure that the defective truck had a reflector or an indication that it had broken down. If not for backwardness, that road would have been not only expanded but also electrified and gowned with the requisite traffic signs. Lawlessness can also be noticed through the reckless action of the truck driver.  It brings to public attention the sheer indifference our government pays to safety.  Yet we are enveloped in outrage when the fatal has happened. No, we are all complicit and complicit of one thing: eloquent silence. We are only stunned when the worst happened. Collective amnesia is wreaking havoc on us.

We tell the little black sambo and his economic bandits that no people accept to live in perpetual bondage. For all history has taught us that men have always fought to absolve themselves from strictures. The act of standing upright, speech formation, gathering food and domesticating animals are indications of the flourishing genius of men to free themselves from limitations that tend to retard social mobility and material transformation.

Rest on comrade veterans rest on. Sleep comrade veterans sleep on. We carry you in our hearts, we celebrate you! We remember you! Death has struck but it has not conquered! In this moment we are comforted by the revolutionary words of Ernesto Che Guevara: “Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons and other men be ready to intone the funeral dirge staccato singing of the machine-guns and new battle cries of war and victory.’’

Aluta continua! Onward to victory!

Kiadii can be reached at bokiadii@gmail.com

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