From Bob's archive: Alice Walker, loving the people
“I feel the grief of all people who love fairness and justice coursing through my body, deep into my soul.” – Alice Walker, emphasis added.
“David Icke reminded me of Malcolm X. I was thinking especially of Malcolm’s fearlessness. A fearlessness that made him seem cold, actually, though we know he wasn’t really. All that love of us that kept driving him to improve our lot.” – Alice Walker, emphasis added.
“I love the Jews really only en masse, en détail I strictly avoid him.” – Wilhelm von Humboldt, quoted by Hannah Arendt
I remember seeing a picture of Fidel Castro in a parade with lots of other Cubans. It was during the emergency years, the "special period" when Cuba's relationship with the Soviet Union had collapsed and there was little gas or oil or fertiliser; people were struggling to find enough to eat. It was perhaps Cuba's nadir, as a small Caribbean island nation considered a dangerous threat by its nearest neighbour, the United States - which, during this period, tightened its embargo. Fidel, tall, haggard, his clothes hanging more loosely than usual from his gaunt frame, walked soberly along, surrounded by thousands of likewise downhearted, fearful people...
However poor the Cubans might be, I realised, they cared about each other and they had a leader who loved them. A leader who loved them. Imagine. A leader not afraid to be out in the streets with them, a leader not ashamed to show himself as troubled and humbled as they were.
A leader who would not leave them to wonder and worry alone, but would stand with them, walk with them, celebrate with them - whatever the parade might be.
This is what I want for our country, more than anything. I want a leader who can love us.