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Hell, maybe ANYTHING is possible

Originally published: Caitlin A Johnstone Blog on June 24, 2024 (more by Caitlin A Johnstone Blog)  |

The thing that stands out for me the most when watching the deeply moving footage of Julian Assange arriving home to Australia is how impossible this all felt until it happened.

If you’ve been following this case for a while, you know what I’m talking about. This was the moment you’d dream of in your quiet, private moments, but could never fully allow yourself to believe would actually happen.

It was very easy to imagine Assange dying in a prison cell, either in the near future at Belmarsh or further along the timeline in some U.S. hellhole. It was possible to imagine him getting out many years from now, his children fully grown and half his life stolen away from him. It was even possible to imagine him getting out one day on some legal technicality or whatever and living out the rest of his life in a nation that has an oppositional relationship with Washington like Edward Snowden, maybe. But coming home, to Australia?? No chance.

And yet there he is. It happened.

It’s easy to get so lost in all the emotion and controversy and discussion about the details of Assange’s case and his plea bargain that you forget to appreciate the fact that an impossible thing just happened. That this was a historic event which very few of us believed was ever going to occur — until it did.

And I don’t know about you but I personally find this all rather humbling. I never voiced my dark pessimism about the future of Assange’s plight publicly because it’s important to push hard for victory even when the odds appear stacked against you, but I honestly did not believe what just happened was going to happen. And I was completely wrong.

Which makes me wonder, what else have I been doing that with? What other battles that feel almost futile right now will one day make a fool of me by yielding an unexpected victory?

Hell, maybe anything is possible. Maybe what just happened with Assange can happen with any of the other injustices and abuses we see in our world today. Maybe it can happen with Palestine. Or with the build-up to war with Russia and China. Or with the corruption, opacity and malfeasance of our own governments. Or with the empire itself. Or with capitalism entirely.

Maybe we really do win this thing. Maybe that’s not a pipe dream after all. As with the Assange case it might not happen in the most grand and egoically satisfying way we’d want it to, but what does? This isn’t a Hollywood movie, it’s real life. Real life doesn’t move the way Hollywood conditions us to expect it to. Real life produces anticlimactic victories and mundane miracles. And it moves in ways that the ego cannot anticipate.

It’s comfortable to be jaded and pessimistic. You feel less vulnerable. You look cooler. You don’t have to deal with the emotional work of disappointment. And admittedly, you are very often proven right. That is, until you’re not.

And maybe that’s not the most authentic way to come at this thing. Maybe it’s better to throw ourselves into this fight not just believing we might win, but knowing that we will. Maybe all that pessimism and reservedness is holding us back from really swinging for the fences and leaving it all in the ring. And maybe it’s based on completely false assumptions about what we’re actually capable of anyway.

Assange has been freed. Maybe all of humanity can be.

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