According to one theory of revolution, the revolutionaries cannot go on losing forever

We left of with this thought that led into a discourse on impermanence, from the novel:  “Monuments were built for the revolution and the metal may now be melted down as scrap.  Books will be written about the heroes, but eventually the books will be lost…”

According to one theory of revolution, the revolutionaries cannot go on losing forever; just now they cannot win.  But they had something here, an era of heroes.  Nothing will be forgotten.  The poets describe the era of heroes, an era when the sun rises as if it’s singing a new song every day, when women come out on the road humming the song, when animals give birth easily and fruit ripens and birds do not bother the crops.  Wise people recall an era like this in times of huge sorrow, so that the era is twice blessed, once in itself and once again in memory.  Standing in among ruins, when war has been waged and the heroes are dead, people are comforted by memory, the memory of an age that achieved justice and peace, however brief, or at least strived to achieve it, however briefly.  Wise people know whatever they can remember is still possible.  Wise people can recall that time, the time the heroes made and the time that made them, an era of astonishing hopefulness.  Listen to this:  even their accountants entertained hopefulness, and what the leaders lacked in wisdom they made up for with courage, but they couldn’t survive long without both.  With two legs of unequal length they limped along.  Then the era ends.  Everything dies.  Not just heroes’ bodies but ideas, perhaps even the truth.  Look, what heroes do can look foolish to the unconvinced, particularly to a hero’s own mother, yet to their enemies they make no apologies and to their own people they feel they never need apologize.  And now there is no reason to make any protest, to say anything, dead as the revolution is, a total failure.  What is happening is that it is still raining just as it did before, during, and now after the revolution.  The rain is not confounded by political and scientific methods.  Vida is waiting for the rain to stop.

What is known about Vida?  A string of small details.  Vida is still young, meaning she is not altogether settled, meaning simply that she doesn’t know what to do next, meaning anything is possible.  Vida’s life consists of complicated details that intersect and diverge.  She keeps her kids clean.  Her eight-year-old daughter knows how to read and make a decent cake.  Her son, who is also Arthur’s son, is never left long alone. 

More than once, actually, Vida did something to distinguish herself, that made her a hero.  She organized the women who disarmed the police at the station, right then at the very beginning of the revolution. And then later that night she went home to bath both children and to sing to them their good-night prayers.  Meaning simply that she may be listed, she may be listed as wanted.  No one who knew Vida and knew what she had done would suggest that Vida did not feel anything, no pride. It is just that no one knows how she felt, and perhaps she herself doesn’t know now, and in any case she’s not the kind of woman to go on about it.  That’s all.

Leave a reply on "According to one theory of revolution, the revolutionaries cannot go on losing forever"