A 50th birthday message to an old friend named Julian Assange

I wish the situation right now would be different Julian. As the world is changing faster than ever, the future looks grim without you being around. Without your advice, your feedback and endless support to our causes. Without your guidance, and you, in simple but clear statements, always giving good people direction. Knowing you are locked up, without really doing anything wrong, while the real criminals you helped to expose still walk free and are creating a story that we would only be able to picture in our worst nightmares, on your 50th birthday I can not celebrate.

We first started talking around the economic crash in 2008. It was only about a year or so after your platform Wikileaks was released to the public. Before that I had only known you as an activist. You weren’t the famous figure you are today. I always knew you weren’t the “one day fly” kind of person, the person who would do something once, like expose a horrible crime, and then disappear back into the shadows. The goals you had in life were different. And, looking back at everything that happened over the 13 years I’ve known you, the path you took, and what it resulted in, I realize I would not have advised you to do anything else than what you chose to do.

Your actions changed the world. You showed everyone, especially our collective of activists, that we were all able to bring truth to the public, not by repeating information flowing down from the top of the pyramid, but by allowing it to be disseminated by the “normal people”. By listening to those who were willing to speak out, by allowing leakers and whistleblowers to submit information privately, and by spreading it using our own platforms. Not relying on the old media to do anything, but working collectively, decentralized, with loyalty to only one thing: the truth. And we were successful at it. We were no longer behaving as followers, listening to authority figures, idols or influencers, no longer having money or political motivations decide for us. All of the things we took as granted, we believed we couldn’t fix anymore, became irrelevant as we finally had a way of fighting back. We had a way to level the playing field, and we did.

When the establishment tried to get rid of you in 2010 by targeting the Wikileaks platform with cyber attacks, you asked us to really become decentralized. Our activist collective jumped on this and we spent the next few days setting up thousands of copies of your website. And it worked. The attackers backed off after realizing they just couldn’t take all of us out. The entire world was watching as the establishment was unable to deal with a group of internet activists. And I can’t deny that those days gave me a great feeling, and made me smile, even though I knew that we were dealing with a horrible situation we shouldn’t even be in, had they just respected our right to a free press.

Yes, we knew they would come for the money after that. And they would try to cut off your funding. Because it was the last thing they still had power over, that disgusting monetary system.

So less than a year after that, we all took it a step further. We went into the streets. October 15, 2011, you spoke in London on the first day of the world wide protests against corporate greed and budget cutbacks. Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and Spain’s “Indignants”, people took to the streets across the world, eventually targeting 951 cities in 82 countries. A massive movement that was present in almost every major city in the world. And, just like in 2010, it was decentralized. With no authority, no central command, just people who were united by a common cause: the truth. The truth about the financial system and how a tiny elite controlled the masses and ransacked the world for their own gain.

Everything went fast after that. From supporting our brothers and sisters in Catalonia after they voted for their independence, to exposing the nasty surveillance systems around the world. You, Julian, you were on the front lines with us, giving those who no longer had any hope, a reason to resist. And you always knew they would come for you, and they would chase you to the end of the earth. Not because you were a criminal, or because you were wrong about anything, but because they were embarrassed. And the worst ones? They were scared as hell. And they still are. Because Pandora’s box had been opened, and it wasn’t going to close anymore.

Ecuador gave you safety in the embassy for years. But it also locked you in. We saw you getting older as society went down hill fast, and our human rights were further deteriorating. You were unable to leave and we all knew that at some point they would come for you. And none of us would be able to protect you, no matter how much we wanted it.

And then the message came. About 2 weeks before you were arrested, we received word it would happen. The attention was switched to the front door of the embassy. We raised hell during those days, with people in Guy Fawkes masks and / or yellow vests patrolling the streets where you were waiting for the inevitable event. Because we realized at that moment all our lives would change. And that story, that we would not be able to imagine in our worst nightmares? It unfolded in front of us. It kicked us in the face, without any restraints. So we couldn’t be silent, because we were entering the end game.

Now, my friend, you are locked up. In Belmarsh. Among the worst of the worst criminals, as an innocent man. And it’s the first time since I met you 13 years ago, that I don’t know what will happen. But this isn’t a message of desperation Julian, this is a message of hope to you. Because they made sure you are as unaware as possible of what happens outside of those prison walls. You might not know that all over the world people are fighting for you. They march into the streets, they contact their politicians, they put flyers and stickers in their communities with your face on it. They attempt to rally support among those media that weren’t willing to stand up for you or for their own right to press freedom.

Your friends are everywhere, and their numbers are growing. So no matter what happens, know that even though you feel isolated right now, you aren’t alone.

Julian we are with you.

Happy birthday Julian Assange.

“To be alive as a human being is to know, in the same way as it is to have a heart that beats.”

– Julian Assange.

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