The 95-year-old author, activist and campaigner Harry Leslie Smith is currently in hospital. So thousands of people around the world are sending him love, because the self-declared ‘world’s oldest rebel’ is such an inspiration.
“The world’s oldest rebel”
On 20 November, Smith went into hospital in Canada. His son is giving regular updates on his progress:
After being examined by the icu doctor, Harry exclaims, " I can assure you, I am not ready to die because I have too much work to do."
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) November 21, 2018
He is an inspiration to many for his untiring work defending the NHS, supporting refugees and his powerful words about peace. As Smith himself said, he’s also “the world’s oldest rebel”:
— Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) November 21, 2018
The hashtag ‘#IStandWithHarry‘ is trending on Twitter as thousands of people around the world send their love and solidarity. From Jeremy Corbyn:
Very sorry to hear this. Please pass on my best to Harry. We need him to get well soon as the National Health Service, and our movement, needs him.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 20, 2018
To activists and campaigners:
I certainly don’t call the shots round here, but I must admit, I’d love to see #IStandWithHarry trending across the United Kingdom.
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) November 20, 2018
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) November 20, 2018
There’s good reason to wish him love and a swift recovery. Because the man is truly a legend. And his son says the messages mean a lot to him right now:
I told Harry before he fell into a deep sleep about the concern rippling across Twitter for him and he said to me, "tell them, I love each of them so much."
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) November 20, 2018
A rebel with a cause
Smith is a war veteran and a powerful advocate for peace. In 2013, comments he made explaining why he wouldn’t wear a poppy again went viral. His book Harry’s Last Stand: How the world my generation built is falling down, and what we can do to save it is a bestseller. It’s a powerful critique of the impact of “NHS cutbacks, benefits policy, political corruption, food poverty, the cost of education”.
Smith’s analysis of the current political climate and the echoes he sees with events leading up to the outbreak of war in 1939 show his wisdom. In 2017, he wrote in the Guardian:
Because I am old, now 94, I recognise these omens of doom. Chilling signs are everywhere…
After years of Tory government, Britain is less equipped to change the course of history for the good than we were under Neville Chamberlain, when Nazism was appeased in the 1930s. In fact, no nation in Europe or North America has anything to crow about. Each is rife with inequality, massive corporate tax avoidance – which is just legitimised corruption – and a neoliberalism that has eroded societies.
He’s also a powerful advocate for refugees:
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) October 7, 2017
And he has offered continued support for a Cobyn-led government:
Harry Leslie-Smith was one of the first people to support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader back in 2015 and has continued to support him since.
— The Pileus (@thepileus) November 20, 2018
His ongoing support for the NHS has also been unshakeable:
Harry Leslie-Smith was there before we had the NHS but also was there when the NHS was established and saw how it helped people. Its a national treasure thus we must defend it! pic.twitter.com/IufMYtNFAh
— The Pileus (@thepileus) November 20, 2018
So get well soon Harry, because we love you and we need you. So many of us wish you well and we won’t stop until you’re well again.
Featured image via screengrab/YouTube
- Send your message to Harry using #IStandWithHarry, so that he knows we’re rooting for him
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