NICARAGUA BRIEFS: In Memory of Those Who Died So That the Bells No Longer Toll in Nicaragua
Text of remarks by President Daniel Ortega during the funeral service for Benjamin Ernest Linder in Matagalpa, Nicaragua on April 30, 1987.
Elizabeth, David, Miriam, John, Allison and Robin—parents, brother and sister, relatives of Compañero Benjamin Linder; people of the United States of North America; Nicaraguan brothers and sisters:
"For whom do the bells toll?" Hemingway asked in the midst of the fire that incinerated the Spanish people, and over the ashes scattered by fascism. Yet out of those ashes rose the songs and hope of the people of García Lorca.
Today we are here in the presence of Benjamin Linder, US citizen who, full of love and joy, gave his life for the peasants of Nicaragua. He knew the risks of working in Nicaragua, the dangers in going to the mountains and small communities to give his knowledge, his dedication and his example, to improve the lives of the people in the Nicaraguan countryside.
He didn't arrive on a flight loaded down with arms, or with millions of dollars. He arrived on a flight full of dreams born out of his belief that the principles of the US people are far nobler than the illegal policy of the US government.
He showed that the US people are honest, that the US people are enemies of those who kill women, children, young people and peasants in Nicaragua. The people of Lincoln are enemies of slavery, enemies of terrorism and strong defenders of peace between all peoples.
He lived and died for the people of the United States and for the people of Nicaragua.
From La Camaleona, where he was murdered by mercenaries carrying out the CIA's plans, to El Cuá, Río San Juan, Oregon and Washington, Benjamin Linder's song—full of love, full of peace and full of hope—is multiplied by his sacrifice.
And what could be more powerful than war? What could be more powerful than 100 million dollars? What could be more powerful than the threat of invasion?
The strength and love of people are stronger than all those things—the strength in the example and sacrifice of people like Benjamin, the smile of the children who saw Ben dressed in his clown suit, the strength and smiles illuminating the future that we are building together in Nicaragua.
What was his reward? Nothing other than the satisfaction that comes from helping and working alongside others like himself....
They killed him along with two Nicaraguan peasants as they worked together in the countryside.
So for whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Pierre Grosjean, 33 years old, French doctor murdered in Rancho Grande.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Ambrosio Mogorrón, 34 years old, Spanish nurse murdered in San José de Bocay.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Albert Pflaum, 32 years old, West German doctor murdered in Zompopera.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Maurice Demierre, 29 years old, Swiss agronomist murdered in Somotillo.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Paul Dessers, 39 years old, civil engineer from Belgium murdered in Guapotal.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Joel Fieux, 28-year-old radio technician from France, murdered in Zompopera.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Bernhard Erick Kobersteyn, 30-year-old West German civil engineer, murdered in Zompopera.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Iván Claude Leyraz, 32-year-old Swiss construction engineer, murdered in Zompopera.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For Benjamin Linder, 27 years old, US engineer, murdered in La Camaleona, Nicaragua.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For more than ten Cuban teachers, technicians and volunteers, murdered during these last few years.
For whom do the bells toll here in Nicaragua? For the 40,000 victims that the US aggression has claimed from the Nicaraguan population in these six years of war.
May the blood of the innocents move the conscience of US leaders, so that the bells no longer toll, so that they cease this aggression, so that they end the military maneuvers, so that they open a dialogue with Nicaragua, so that they let the Latin American nations talk together in the context of Contadora, so that they let the Central American governments discuss moves towards peace, including the constructive peace proposal presented by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
No to war, yes to peace! cries out Benjamin's blood—so that the bells toll no longer in Nicaragua.