Sunday, February 07, 2010

In Honor of Howard Zinn … To the Barricades!

Wellfleet lost one of its most worthwhile part-time citizens, just as I was gearing up to ask his advice on how to approach activism against corporations that pollute the environment. Can you guess whom I am referring to? Gentle Howard Zinn, an activism giant and well-regarded historian, capable of applying his historical knowledge to current events so effectively. Sven and I ran into Howard once in the Newcomb Hollow Beach parking lot. I wanted to say how much my husband has always admired his work, but we were in a hurry, and so was he. Words were left unspoken, and now it’s too late. Roz Zinn passed away shortly thereafter. Someone at town hall told me it was Howard who had died, so I wrote a note of condolence to son Jeff, responsible for Wellfleet’s theater. Jeff informed me of the mistake, that the loss was of his mother. Now both his parents are gone. I saw Howard a last time this past summer, at Hatch’s, buying organic produce. How do I know? I cannot imagine him buying conventional fruit, with pesticide residue. An attractive young woman was on his arm. Daughter? Granddaughter? Friend? Who cares. All I know is that she made him happy. I wanted to say something but again hesitated to break the celebrity-barrier. This winter Sven and I watched Howard on Bill Moyers’ Journal, then applauded The People Speak, broadcast on The History Channel and now available on DVD. You can read one of Howard Zinn’s final interviews here. I will never know what advice he would have given me. But I can imagine: Go for it! Grass-roots movements make all the difference.