« Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves. »
George Orwell, 1984, part three, chapter II
As the days of desperation are passing by, slowly turning into weeks of introspection pouring their ritual monotony into months of lingering, which, in turn, will probably be flowing into some distant surreal sea, I thought this day was an auspicious opportunity to once more send my best regards to all those supporting me along this curious odyssey I have embarked on a little more than three years ago.
You all know very much about me, far too much actually, probably much more than I’ll ever know about every single one of you. A lot of what you know about me, you were never supposed to. Yet, there are many things you don’t know about me, and you ought not to. Suffice it to say you need to know you don’t know everything about me, and act accordingly.
Sometimes, ironically not unlike a modern day character out of some Tom Tykwer movie, I’ve got the intense feeling I’m being torn to pieces by some invisible force I couldn’t possibly resist. What I did reached so far beyond me, surpassed me in so many ways, my military shoulders are far too frail to carry the whole weight, despite the many helping souls.
Most of you, even those who can’t state it publicly out of fear of being reprimanded, have made a hero out of me – those who see me as a traitor, I totally disregard. I most certainly am no coward, yet I am no hero either, so I have to decline the award. I did what I thought was just, not only for my country : my country is but a dot on the universal picture of my conscience…
It is my conscience, the conscience developed by a proletarian boy to whom facing the total alienation his parents had somehow been forced to undergo before him, just to be able to survive, without at least a rebellion, was worse than the perspective of living like an outcast, that sowed such high hopes in me.
The repression machine has managed to temper these hopes, but they haven’t vanished, and they never will, because, ultimately, they are what’s keeping me true and strong. They are what’s keeping me alive. They are an ideal, and you can’t kill an ideal ! An ideal lives on in the hearts and minds of men until the last bit of humanity has left them and disappeared from civilization, which hopefully will never happen. An ideal is stronger than the most sophisticated weapon produced on the supply chain of the factory of evil. An ideal is the single most precious possession of man, because no one can actually claim it for himself.
This ideal is empathy, the one I missed and I now wish for all. Without it, the rationality contained in all the laws man made for himself (for some much more than for others), in all the rules and regulations supposedly guaranteeing peace, in every possible hierarchy, is but vain dominion. And dominion only lasts as long as voluntary servitude.
I am strongly convinced this ideal could not have bloomed in another environment than the kind of which I grew up in. Only those who have really looked despair in the eye can know, and they are never or so rarely to be found within the so-called upper classes. Only those who have vowed to always remember their roots can know, and they never let any stock exchange corrupt them. Only those who have developed a mind of their own can know, because only their minds are really in touch with the superior being.
I will never give in !
In no way do I therefore forgive any abuse of power, forget any injustice, nor regret any of my actions. I am who I am : take me or leave me ! But don’t you dare judge me, ever, unless the hands beneath your silky gloves are immaculate ! Don’t you dare look down on me because my cradle wasn’t made of gold, but of rotten wood ! Don’t you dare deny me my personality ! And don’t you dare grant me a pardon you are in no position to refuse !
« Since 9/11, there’s been a cold war going on against all citizens, who, for convenience’s sake, are all suspects. The picture that remains is that of a sour, unfriendly world in which everyone is hunting down everyone. »
Hubert Van Humbeeck, former chief editor of Knack (Belgian weekly)