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Statement on Richard Williams from Ray Luc Levasseur

February 11, 2006


December 8, 2005

The first time I met our comrade Richard Williams was in a safehouse, underground. For the next decade we engaged in a common struggle to provide whatever support we could muster to the downpressed—be they victims of apartheid in South Africa, or slaughtered in Central America—and to defend ourselves. It wasn’t until the last hour of the last trial that we were consigned by our enemy to different prisons. I would never see him again.

Richard, like many political prisoners, has never received the recognition and respect he deserves. He has been vilified in the media and ignored by the left—a shared experience by many political prisoners. But then, Richard never sought accolades. The brother I know is not ego driven nor laden with grandiose ideas about what others should march to. He has at his essence that uncommon quality of a revolutionary—feeling every injustice done to the poor and working people of this planet.

I know Richard well, having risked our lives together time after time. He never waivered when confronted with danger, and didn’t disappoint when demands upon us were critical. I’ve seen him act decisively when it took courage to step up, and step down in situations that required defusing. He’s all of that—a people’s soldier and friend.

A man of deep commitment and fiery passion, he dedicated his life to others. The fallout from that was not being able to see his own children during the most dangerous years. He made that sacrifice, but the longing for his kids was intense and it laid heavy in his heart.

Sacrifice. How deep the sacrifice for what we believe true and necessary? When the U.S. killing fields in Central America were littered with the bodies of compañeros and their children, Richard did not stand idly by. When apartheid drenched South Africa in the blood and suffering of African people, Richard chose to act. The lineage from prison and antiracist activist to underground guerilla is not difficult to figure—Richard has the heart, consciousness, and political perspective to take it to a brutal enemy.

He did it in his time, when time was of the essence. When he knew he had the strength and endurance for a protracted and extraordinarily difficult struggle. That time has now past.

The brother I know, who withstood 50,000 volt stun gun assaults and the rigors of solitary confinement, has fallen. This brother of such infectiously good humor, so respectful of elders, and without a cynical bone in his body, is dead. He chose to pass on in as dignified a way as possible given the inherently abusive conditions of his confinement. They never crushed his spirit.

Brother, I do not say goodbye, for there are no words for this in the language we know best. Until next time—among oak leaves, the feathers of a hawk, nurturing new life from a coral reef ….

I love you, Ray

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