The Death of Comrade Camilo

This weekend, a young brilliant mind and dedicated revolutionary was lost.  Camilo Cahis succumbed to mental illness on the night of Saturday, April 25th.  Comrade Alex has shared this moving tribute to Camilo.  My heart goes out to Camilo’s family, and to all others who knew him.

Below is a passage from my journal, written on Monday afternoon.

April 27th afternoon.

Camilo was found dead yesterday: a Sunday.

Through construction sounds, I faintly hear the gentle discourse of a radio interview on in the background. Saskatchewan farmers incensed that their land sovereignty is being sold off to the highest bidders of multinational conglomerates, in exchange for foreign capital. A Monday: in beautiful British Columbia on the Southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, techno-mechanical construction noise encases me on all sides – encloses me. Enframes. Altering landscapes. Destroying; pillaging; parasitizing; re-appropriating.

Camilo destroyed himself in his apartment: found on Sunday, the day of rest. A comrade found him in his apartment after Camilo didn’t appear to a meeting with two new contacts, a rare if ever lapse in professional demeanor and dedication. Sudden but suggested, Camilo’s suicide was necessity expressed through tragic accident…

An earthquake which struck in Nepal this weekend has laid temples to dust which for centuries, stood; has made our planet’s richest resources our rarest commodities; has killed 4,000. Magnitude 7.8, the aftershocks still continue. Poor Nepalese are afraid to return to (what remains of) their homes, if they are so lucky so as still to have them. Foreign humanitarian aid – conspicuously hitherto absent in adequate supply – spills over the wound. Cut my finger that night, drinking. Reid Longphee suggested pouring Krazy Glue into the wound (pour unique products in it – make sure it’s our brand!) Earthquakes, events expressed by fault lines. The Southern tip of Vancouver Island lies near a major fault line, so we are keenly aware. So we are generous, the radio says. We see necessity, as it awaits us, proximate and distant, but because it is accidental we persist in the delusion. No – fault lines are the ‘accidents’ in this traditional sense. And they are blind who do not see.

… but these things are impossible to discuss. They elude us. We build ourselves into tiny individual boxes (often stacked like containers: Camilo found dead in his apartment.) The type of society we build charts the landscape of the layers we build up around ourselves, and into ourselves. Social beings determine society; we are material, but ideas are strong. We are deeply entrenched in oppressive ideas. Let the ‘trench’ suggest that we are fighting. We must fight. Camilo lived this. We are always already born into struggle. This is the most certain reality one needs to countenance.

I met Camilo a few times. I know several who knew him well. Let him be but once my Virgil, for I know we’ve walked similar Hells. I’ve stood on my balcony (my apartment), wrong side, staring down the idea that I was ready to die: distant, but proximate; the accident that I could cause…

We create natural laws, social (dis)order, the walls of the house of the Lord which we worship. We draw fault lines on social structures like acid splashed through the veil over the face of mother Earth: we are scarring ourselves, killing ourselves. But fighting to better ourselves. We will organize, we will teach, we will talk, we will help, we will continue to struggle from bondage against slavery and murder. Camilo lived this. I live this. We are all living in this – whatever it is – and it kills us. It is killing us. And hands tied we hope against hope that we will just peacefully fade away, sailing safely passed the accident that awaits us: like tokens at Cerberus’ gate, a passage paid by privilege. The death of a friend echoes through you, hits you in the chest and sinks you. Living, breathing: as a species, we live or die as a whole. Thousands dead in Nepal – the earth quakes. Dozens of us – perhaps hundreds – mourn the loss of a brilliant young revolutionary in Toronto.

Proximate but distant, we have fault lines for foundations, too. It mustn’t continue to take accidents to see what necessity unfurls into.

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