stormy weather, but they're not all dead

(the American radicals, that is)

History says, Don't hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime

The longed-for tidal wave

Of justice can rise up

And hope and history rhyme.

--Seamus Heaney

A son of the Weathermen, son of four of them, as it turned out, has been named as one of 32 American winners of this year's Rhodes scholarships.

He is now 22, and since his birth parents have been in prison since he was fourteen months old, he was raised by two other weathermen leaders [one of whom had a memoir published, fatefully, on September 11, 2001].

As with the other triumphs of his young life, Chesa Boudin was unable to celebrate with his parents on Saturday afternoon when he was named a Rhodes scholar. He could not even share the good news.

As maximum-security inmates in the New York State prison system, Katherine Boudin and David Gilbert are barred from receiving telephone calls or e-mail messages. Though Mr. Boudin has rigged his dorm room at Yale University to override the block on collect calls, neither parent was able to connect with him today. They will read of their son's accomplishment in the newspaper, instead, and it may be days before they can congratulate him.

While he has spoken widely and intelligently about all four of his parents' experiences, Chesa Boudin prefers to talk about his own world right now.
"We have a different name for the war we're fighting now — now we call it the war on terrorism, then they called it the war on communism," Mr. Boudin said. "My parents were all dedicated to fighting U.S. imperialism around the world. I'm dedicated to the same thing."

"I don't know that much about my parents' tactics; I'll talk about my tactics," he added. "The historical moment we find ourselves in determines what is most appropriate for social change."

Incidently, does anyone else reading this NYTimes account find the terms of Boudin's birth-parents incarceration, restricting communication with their only child, worthy of a culture which pretends to worship family values and which denies it has political prisoners?

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Published on December 9, 2002 12:12 PM.

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