Dean Reed's letter to Erich Honecker
Dean Reed schrieb diesen Brief vor seiner Reise in den Libanon zur PLO im Oktober 1981. Nur wenige Wochen nach seiner Hochzeit mit Renate Blume wollte er sich dort ins Kampfgebiet begeben. Will Roberts begleitete ihn mit der Filmkamera. Dean Reed hielt es für möglich, dass er in Kämpfe verwickelt und getötet werden könnte. Für diesen Fall hinterließ er diesen Brief an Erich Honecker, Staatsratsvorsitzender der DDR und SED-Generalsekretär.
Der Brief wurde aus Deans Nachlass an die Dean-Reed-Schule übergeben. Dort wurde er mit folgendem Kommentar versehen: "Brief an E. Honecker, indem D.R. dankt für den Friedenskampf der SED und DDR und seine Wichtigkeit in Gegenwart und Zukunft unterstreicht. 1981"
My Dear Comrade Erich Honecker!
If you read this letter, it came that I do not exist anymore. But then that is not completely true, for only my person shall not be here, - the ideals for which I lived my life and gave my life shall live on as long as there is injustice to fight against and as long as there are men who are ready to risk something in their lives for the betterment of other human beings.
During the past 20 years I have been expelled from many countries and not allowed to enter many others because I believed that the only value of my fame is the fact that I could better work towards the understanding among all peoples and for world peace. I felt that this fame gave me a special power which had to be dedicated to all people who are in one way or another fighting for their national liberation and independence. I feel that it is not enough for an artist to call himself a revolutionary just because he sits in his home and writes books, songs or scripts which are to inspire other people to risk their place of work, their security, their freedom or their lives. No, - I feel that an artist can only be called a true artist and revolutionary if he is also ready to risk his life and security in the fight for a better world. Of course sometimes it is very difficult for an artist who lives in a Socialist country, for the enemy is not so clear to see. It may seem sometimes to our youth and artists that it is more exciting to be able to throw stones at the racist police in America, than to take these stones and to build a solid Socialist society in the DDR, - but I say to these youth and artists that each human being must fight in his own way - and the people who are fighting for their freedom in Palestine, Chile, South Africa or the United States will only be able to achieve their final victory if the Socialist countries are strongly built. As artists in a Socialist society you have the obligation to help to build a humane and just Socialism. The artist who calls himself a revolutionary in a Socialist country must also at times risk making a mistake and he must have the courage to speak up when he feels that other people in the society are making mistakes. Only when we are honest among ourselves can be build the Communist society which shall be the ideal for the peoples in the world to follow.
During the past twenty years I have lived in many countries and have grown to love many peoples. The people of Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Italy have given me their love and respect so that I can call these countries my "second homelands". Also the Socialist countries and especially the Soviet Union, - to which I have a special relationship because of my great love and respect for her people and government, have also give me their love and friendship. During the past eight years I have lived in the German Democratic Republic and it has become my "second homeland" for me. You have allowed me to be creative and productive in your land - and you, - the government and the people gave me their solidarity when I was on hunger strike in a prison in my homeland in 1978. I know your country and it's people very well. I have traveled from one end to the other giving concerts and having meetings in factories and schools. I know of no other country, (expect for the Soviet Union) which gives more to international solidarity than the people of the DDR, - and for that reason I respect and admire you all especially. International politics and the building of a Socialist society can be very complicated with many contradictions, errors and mistakes at times. But international solidarity is black and white. I truly believe that because of international solidarity, my personal friend - Lucho Corvalan, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Chile, is today free and alive. I believe that Angela Davis is free and alive today because of international solidarity. I believe that the people of Vietnam are today free because of their many years of heroic battle and the international solidarity which was given to them. Of course the people of the Socialist countries could have better quality shoes if they did not give so much solidarity to the people who are in need throughout the world, but then who can enjoy walking in luxury shoes when one realizes that other people in the world are going barefoot? How can one in good conscience enjoy completely the luxuries of life when one realizes that the majority of the people of the world live in hunger in misery? I have taken part in so many solidarity meetings in the DDR and I know how much you all have given so that other people in the world could go to bed with food in their stomachs - and for that reason I love you all.
I believe that the Palestinian People are today for the world what the Vietnamese people were yesterday. They are the front line in the battle against american imperialism. They are not only fighting for their own rights, but for the rights of all people who have been trampled by imperialism, colonialism and racism. They are fighting for you and for me. They are fighting for my wife Renate and for my daughters Ramona and Natascha. It is such a tragedy that many jewish people who lived through the horrors of Nazism, today have become, through the racist theory of Zionism, - the new facists of our time. Of course there are many Jewish people - for with it's racist ideology it insures that it's people shall live in a large getto - (Palestine) and shall be incircled by enemies, - but many other Jewish people are today commiting the same injustices upon the Palestinian people as they were subjected to thirty years ago under the Nazi ideology.
I have decided to go to the south of Lebanon and to give my active solidarity to the people of Palestine and to all the progressive Arabian people. I hope that I can bring them some courage and optimism. I hope that because of my presence, they shall realize that they are not alone in their battle against imperialism and Zionism. I believe I go for a just cause and for a just ideal, for the Palestinians are fighting only for the right to return to their homeland and to live and work there in peace with their Christian and Jewish brothers - as they did for thousands of years before the birth of the Zionist ideology.
I thank you personally, the government of the German Democratic Republic, and the people of this couragous land who are also on the front line in the fight against american imperialism, for the friendship which you have given to me. Today, more than ever, the american government poses the greatest threat to world peace, and only when the Socialist countries are strong can we hold the aggressive policies of Washington in check. Only when the Socialist countries are allied with the national liberation movements of the world and with the progressive forces in the capitalist countries, can we halt the armaments race and return to a policy of peaceful co-existence with all countries of the world.
I believe that you shall achive your lofty ideals. I believe that
I deeply believe that the peoples of the world shall make social progress with or without my help and solidarity, but I believe that my life only has value to the extent that the world makes progress with my active participation and solidarity.
I wish you Comrade Honecker and your people much peace and love. Be brave, honest and happy.