Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns the loss of Richard Reilly, a dedicated and revolutionary struggler for the liberation of Palestine, Ireland and oppressed people everywhere in the world. Richard spent his life in the struggle, from the streets of Palestine to the streets of Chicago, from fighting for labor rights to developing street medic teams for the large protest movements confronting globalization.
Richard Reilly always kept the oppressed of the world at the forefront of his revolutionary political vision. His contributions to the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States – and internationally – were immense. He was one of the founders and the Midwest coordinator of the Palestine Solidarity Committee in the 1980s, deported by the Zionist occupation from Palestine on a solidarity delegation as one of the “Ramallah Seven.” He and his comrades were seized by Zionist occupation soldiers and taken to the infamous Moskobiyeh detention center before deportation after they participated in a demonstration in 1988, at the height of the first Intifada, called by Palestinian women’s organizations marking the anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres. He was a committed comrade of Palestinian Leftists in Palestine and in exile, and a fighter for political prisoners everywhere jailed for their struggles against imperialism, racism, capitalism and Zionism.
Richard’s commitment to the struggle for the liberation of Palestine embodied the famous Ghassan Kanafani statement: “The Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary… as a cause of the exploited and oppressed masses in our era.” He was a mentor to generations of activists who learned about the history of our movements through his openness and commitment to continually building the movement and political education of younger, newer people getting involved.
He was deeply committed to every struggle confronting Zionism, imperialism, capitalism and reaction, especially the Palestinian revolution, the Irish liberation struggle, the Black liberation movement, the Puerto Rican fight against colonialism and the Indigenous movement fighting for sovereignty and self-determination. He approached all of his work with a clear political vision and a deep sense of comradeship.
He passed away on the evening of 11 February. We feel his loss deeply. His boundless commitment to struggle and his expansive, revolutionary vision of a liberated Palestine from the river to the sea and a liberated world continues to inspire us all. We send our deepest condolences to his partner, Christine Geovanis, his family, and all of those who worked with and struggled beside him throughout his lifetime of struggle. We pledge to continue on the path that he trod and fight for the future that he envisioned alongside his comrades.
Richard Reilly, presente! Rest in power! Until return and liberation, from Chicago to Ireland to Palestine!
Below is a video of Richard speaking in 2003 in New Jersey, about the history of Palestine solidarity organizing in the United States. The video quality is poor, but the quality of the message shines through.