Open Letter to Youth and Students, From Dr. Juan Gomez Quinones, Historian and Writer, UCLA
Revolution #042, April 9, 2006, posted at revcom.us
This letter and other information about Bob Avakian's memoir are available online at the Insight Press' web site: insight-press.com
Winter makes us think of summer.
The good news bad times may bring is that if we can imagine a better time, we can row to the opposing side of bad history—a different and better world. Students, more than dreaming, demand a map for the row.
I can point to three examples of maps of interest to students of today to get them to tomorrow. Motorcycle Diaries in words and film recreates the journey of two youth across a continent of bad hurt and seeming helplessness. At the end of their trip, they had a map to change this world. Not that long ago during the wars and turbulences of the sixties, a former prisoner shared his bad times and good hopes with the rest of us, Malcolm X Autobiography. Today students are checking out both the book and the film with hopeful eyes.
In a journey closer in time and nearer in turf to us now, Bob Avakian travels a journey from a certain yesterday to a possible tomorrow in From Ike to Mao and Beyond. This diary of hopes and journal of lessons narrates how some youth went from troubling days to challenging actions to sharing dreams. Bob Avakian imagines and knows he is not the only one and he is ready to share dreams, his and ours. His memories are sharp and clear, and hence the lessons he has learned are that much more compelling as maps for those who demand a better world. His shared experiences, with unflinching candor and generous warmth, are his respects for those of strong heart and clear mind, those ready to do the work of getting to the other side of history.
Thus, my friends, I advise you to prepare yourself in the spring for a plentiful summer, by putting aside this tiresome winter by some good words for bad curses, turning the bad into good by our actions.
Dr. Juan Gomez Quinones
Historian and Writer, UCLA