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My Friend Richard

February 11, 2006


(Below are some words I wrote for and about Richard Williams, one week before he died. Sadly he never got to hear or see them)

Kazi, Jaan and Richard

Richard Charles Williams, my dear brother, my comrade, I could write a honk or maybe a screenplay about you and your life. It would be a righteous movie, action packed, principled, some real humor, and all built around a life of struggle and hope. Of course between revolutionary “need to know” principles and Hollywood’s comic book propaganda movies, it’s not too likely your real movie is going to get made just yet. But your revolutionary life, your warm good heart and your determined spirit of resistance will continue to inspire and guide those of us who know you and all those who will yet come to know you.

From our earliest days, 34-35 years ago, working together, struggling and having each others back, I remember how seriously you took the words of Che Guevara and how much you admired his life. You know I’ve always thought of you as embodying the true living spirit of Che. While you have consistently been reasoned and practical in strategic outlook, you have always been willing to pick up the struggle of oppressed nations and peoples anywhere in the world. You are a true anti-imperialist and humanitarian. Your entire adult life is a solid expression of the real meaning of proletarian internationalism. And if anyone is not real familiar with this term, go do a little investigating. It’s not only to see what kind of man Richard has been his whole life, but this world needs new and more socialists and revolutionaries in the 21st century – you could be one.

You long were a solid Marxist and Maoist. Besides the labels and “isms” though, if I had to briefly tell you about Richard, I’d say he is for real, a regular and nice person. He is someone you would want to be your friend and fellow worker. For me personally I have no dearer friend or closer comrade than Richard. We were there for each others children’s home births, and we put in some hours on pin ball machines in quite a few pubs and clubs. From construction sites (Richard was a good carpenter) to picket lines and yes, battle lines too, I feel proud and honored to have shared these with you my comrade, my brother, my friend.

Jaan Laaman
Ohio 7 anti-imperialist political prisoner
December 1, 2005, Walpole State Prison

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