The first revolutionary Marxist organisation in Afghanistan was founded in 1966 under the name of Progressive Youth Organisation (PYO). The revisionist Moscow-directed “People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan” (PDPA) had been founded some time earlier by a number of intellectuals with suspicious links to a faction of the ruling elite. (Prince Daoud, cousin of King Zahir Shah and prime minister of Afghanistan [1953‑1963] was dubbed “The Red Prince” because of his soft spot for the post-Stalin Soviet leadership; Babrak Karmal, one of the founding fathers of the PDPA and leader of the Parcham faction of this party was notorious as a Daoud informer and as a pander to Daoud’s political ambitions.)
A salient characteristic of the revolutionary Marxist movement in Afghanistan since its very inception has been its unflagging struggle against revisionism and opportunism. It was in an anti-revisionist and anti-opportunist context that the revolutionary Marxist movement in Afghanistan was founded and grew up. Those early years were dominated by ideological polemics between the communist parties of the Soviet Union and China on the one hand and the Cultural Revolution in China on the other. Both political phenomena had indelible ideological and political effects on the PYO. It can very well be claimed that the PYO was founded as a necessary entity for defending and propagating revolutionary Marxism against the revisionism and collaborationism of the PDPA led by Noor Mohammad Taraki and Babrak Karmal.
The winds of change were blowing in Afghanistan. In 1963 Daoud had to step down as prime minister in order to make way for King Zahir Shah to proclaim a constitutional monarchy. A new constitution was adopted and vestiges of democratic freedoms including a small measure of freedom of expression and freedom of the press was allowed to the people. Taking advantage of the thaw in the political climate, the PYO set out to publish a weekly mouthpiece, Sholai Jawaid [The Eternal Flame] which concentrated on introducing the principles of New Democracy (Mao Zedong Thought) and exposing the machinations of the PDPA and Soviet revisionism. Sholai Jawaid was banned after only 11 issues but that was enough to sow the seeds of revolutionary thought and to capture the hearts and minds of thousands of vanguard intellectuals and conscious workers.
The thaw in the political climate was appreciated by other political groupings also. Very soon political gatherings and demonstrations began to draw large numbers of adherents and to generate intense interest in Kabul and major towns. In most of such gatherings and demonstrations, three political currents were very visible: The Sholayis (as members, followers and sympathisers of the PYO came to be known after their mouthpiece Sholai Jawaid), the Khalqis and Parchamis (followers of the two rival factions of the PDPA, after their respective mouthpieces Khalq [The People] and Parcham [The Banner]), and the Ikhwanis (Islamists and Islamic fundamentalists, later renamed Moslem Youth, after the name of their prototype in Egypt – Ikhwan al-Muslimeen [Moslem Brotherhood]). From the point of view of numerical strength, the gatherings and demonstrations staged by the Sholayis in Kabul far outnumbered the Khalqis and Parchamis and completely dwarfed whatever the Ikhwanis could stage despite their claim on the religiosity and religious propensity of the general populace.
The Ikhwanis were initially not taken very seriously by political circles because of their inferior numbers and poor attraction for intellectuals. The Ikhwanis made up for their inferiority by their virulence, which first manifested itself by a spate of acid spraying onto the faces of young university and high school girl students. (This was motivated by Islamic fundamentalist misogyny which abhors the appearance of women in society and considers life-incarceration of women in houses and harems as the acme of Islamic piety.) This Ikhwani virulence grew by leaps and bounds and very soon reached the point of bloodthirsty murders of secular-minded intellectuals. A number of such murders were overtly committed by the Ikhwanis in Herat and Laghman and many covert cases of Ikhwani murders came to light in Kabul and other cities. The climax for the revolutionary Marxist movement came in June 1972 when Sholayis and Ikhwanis clashed on the campus of Kabul University, a hotbed of ideological and political struggle and debate. True to their nature, the Ikhwanis had come armed with knives and pistols. The situation on that fateful day quickly got out of hand and Saydal Sokhandan, a prominent PYO activist and fiery Sholayi orator was personally assassinated by Golbuddin Hekmatyar who later gained notoriety as the leader of the most rabid Islamic fundamentalist grouping, the Hizb-i-Islami [Islamic Party]. (It was this Hizb-i-Islami which got the lion’s share of the CIA largesse during the years of the War of Resistance against Soviet aggression and occupation; like all Afghan fundamentalist parties the Hizb-i-Islami was nurtured on CIA arms and dollars until from a lowly jackal it grew into a bloodthirsty hyena, feasting on the entrails of the people of Afghanistan. This one fact alone is enough to expose the hypocritical howls of Western imperialism against Islamic fundamentalism.) Many other Sholayis were wounded, some of them critically. This clash further polarised the general political atmosphere and generated intense debate within the PYO, forcing an introspection into its policies and approaches.
The prevailing criticism amongst the Sholayis was that despite the fact that the Sholai Jawaid political current had amassed a large and dedicated following of thousands of young Afghans, the leadership of the PYO had been unable to harness the potential of these adherents for the political mobilisation of the peasant masses who comprised 90% of the people of Afghanistan. The outreach of the PYO and its leadership rarely extended beyond the urban intelligentsia, urbanites and a limited number of workers. It was in consequence of such introspection that at the beginning of the 70s different circles within the Sholai Jawaid political current began highlighting the mistakes of the PYO and opened up an extensive ideological struggle at all levels of the organisation. The most profound criticism of the PYO came from the Revolutionary Group of the Peoples of Afghanistan (later upgraded and renamed Sazman-i Rehayi Afghanistan [Afghanistan Liberation Organisation]). The totality of such criticisms resulted in the dissolution of the PYO into a number of smaller revolutionary groupings generally adhering – with different degrees of disagreement – to Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought.
In July 1973 Daoud, the “Red Prince”, supported by the Parcham faction of the PDPA, staged a bloodless coup d’état in which he ousted his cousin King Zahir Shah and proclaimed Afghanistan a republic with himself as the president. Daoud’s Parchami cronies got appointed to key government posts, but the Parchamis and their Russian masters had underrated Daoud’s famous self-willed bull-headedness. After a year of Parchami mismanagement and misdemeanour at all levels and their pursuance of a hidden agenda dictated by Moscow, Daoud sacked all key Parchami office bearers in his administration. This obliged Moscow to concentrate on the Afghan armed forces for the achievement of its ulterior motives. During Daoud’s 5-year rule as president (1973–1978) the revolutionary movement remained in a state of stagnation. This was due to disunity amongst former members and followers of the now-dissolved PYO. The Revolutionary Group of the Peoples of Afghanistan (the precursor of the ALO) emerged as one of the few well-organised revolutionary groups having a clear agenda. It laid stress (with hindsight, perhaps overstress) on the need for more in-depth work with the peasantry and most of its cadres and activists shifted their activities to the rural scene.
During this period the two rival factions of the PDPA (the Khalq faction led by Noor Mohammad Taraki and the Parcham faction led by Babrak Karmal) who had split some years ago in consequence of a personality clash between Taraki and Karmal were reunited in 1977 under strict orders from Moscow. This was in preparation for the implementation of strategic plans hatched in the Kremlin for a Russian version of 19th century colonial Britain′s “forward policy”. Daoud had in the meantime become disillusioned with his Kremlin sponsors and had turned to the West for help in his ambitious development plans. He mended fences with Pakistan (a long dispute with Pakistan over “Pashtunistan” was Daoud’s favourite foreign policy quarrel) and visited Iran and Saudi Arabia to solicit financial assistance. Daoud’s about-face was too abrupt and too alarming for Kremlin strategists to brook any delay in a swift, decisive counteraction. (Memories of Anwar Sadat and Mohmmad Siyad Barre’s booting out of the Russians from Egypt and Somalia a few years earlier were still too fresh and too painful). In April 1978 the KGB engineered the assassination of Mir Akbar Khyber, a key Parchami figure, and had the unified PDPA stage a massive show of strength and defiance at his funeral. This was orchestrated in order to provoke Daoud into a crackdown on the PDPA. The arrogant Daoud fell into the trap and triggered an armed backlash spearheaded by KGB moles in key army and airforce units. The “Glorious Saur Revolution” was on. The bloody ensuing coup d’état of April 28, 1978, resulted in the massacre of Daoud and his entire family along with an estimated 7,000 military and civilian population and the coming to power of the PDPA with Noor Mohammad Taraki as president and prime minister and Babrak Karmal as his deputy. At this juncture in time Afghan revolutionary groupings were not a recognisable political force, but the correctness of their political appraisal of the Soviet Union as a social-imperialist power and of the PDPA as an agent of high treason and a mole of social-imperialism, and the Sholayis’ oft-repeated refrain trying to bring home the need for unrelenting struggle against master and lackey did not fail to register itself on the minds and conscience of thinking and feeling patriots.
Neither the people of Afghanistan nor revolutionary groupings were sorry to see Daoud fall, but this did not prevent all revolutionary Marxist groupings – the political heirs of the PYO – from swiftly, unequivocally and unanimously condemning the bloody coup d’état and calling on the people to rally to save the motherland from the fate that awaited her at the hands of the sold-out PDPA arch-traitors and their Russian masters. This swift and clear response was based on the fact that no revolutionary Marxist individual or grouping in Afghanistan had the slightest doubt that the indigenous Khalqi and Parchami lackeys of Soviet revisionism had any role or mission in Afghanistan other than to sell out their country to the Soviet Union under the guise of the touted “non-capitalist road to development” and to safeguard at all costs the interests of the Soviets in Afghanistan. Immediately after the “victory of the Saur Revolution” a nightmarish reign of terror was unleashed on the broad populace in general and on dissident intelligentsia in particular. Arbitrary individual and mass arrests, horrendous torture of suspects and mass executions of all “counter-revolutionary” elements arrested on the slightest pretext by hysterically obsessed functionaries commissioned by a frantically paranoid coterie of KGB agents at the helm of the state and government became commonplace and routine. None were spared. For the Khalqi parvenus (they very soon fell out with the Parchamis and, gaining the upper hand, turned on their erstwhile comrades-in-arms; under the aegis of Alexandre Puzanov, the Soviet ambassador, Babrak Karmal and his retinue of key Parchamis were banished abroad but a number of them were clapped into prison) anyone and everyone uttering a word against the Soviet Union and the “Saur Revolution” were traitors and counter-revolutionaries and all counter-revolutionaries were either “Sholayis” (if they were educated and secular-minded) or “Ikhwanis” (if they were illiterate, uncouth and/or religious-minded). Between these two categories, the harsher and crueller treatment was meted out to the “Sholayis” for they were “conscious enemies” with pre-meditated political motives for antagonism and animosity against “the achievements of the Glorious Saur Revolution” as opposed to “ignorant enemies” who opposed the “Saur Revolution” out of thoughtless religious fanaticism. Not in words but in deeds the regime lashed out at the religiosity of the masses, misreading the ABC of historical materialism and Marxist sociology. All this was perpetrated in the name of “democratic revolution”, “people’s democracy as the first rung on the ladder to socialism” and “the abrogation of exploitation of man by man”. All concepts that were hallowed and venerable for workers, the exploited classes and the toiling masses were rendered profane and despicable, epitomising terror, treachery and “red villainy”. Irreparable damage was done in the name of “revolution” to the image of true revolutionary intellectuals and workers and revolutionary concepts.
Galvanised by the universal atmosphere of terror, dismay and tragedy and the awareness of much worse and much more serious to come, groupings of revolutionary Marxists began to draw together again and in some cases reached some degrees of unification, but under the prevailing circumstances such unification had little practical results. However, each revolutionary grouping, spurred by the same relentless circumstances to becoming more organised and to evolving into Marxist organisations, were –each in its own way and according to its available means and capabilities – engaged in deepening and expanding the patriotic struggle. On August 5, 1979, the Revolutionary Group of the Peoples of Afghanistan (precursor of the ALO) collaborating in a united front with a number of militant Islamist organisations participated in a military uprising in the Bala Hissar garrison in Kabul (popularly remembered as the Bala Hissar insurrection). The insurrection was savagely quashed by the regime and a large number of Revolutionary Group cadres were killed in the fighting, succumbed under torture or were summarily executed. The correctness of the policy and line of action taken by the Revolutionary Group in forming a united front with Islamists and participating in a military uprising is still debated in Afghan Marxist circles, but as mentioned in an ALO document, the 5th August insurrection showed that Marxist patriots did not flinch from being in the first line of battle when defence of the people and independence of the motherland were at stake, and that seas of blood separate the Sholayis from Khalqi and Parchami revisionist traitors.
For Afghan Marxist revolutionaries it was a foregone conclusion that in the light of the outright rejection of the regime by the people and the regime’s increasing failure in all aspects of governance the Soviet Union would have to step in to safeguard its strategic interests. As was expected, the PDPA regime very quickly degenerated into a mêlée of party top dogs going for each other’s throats with Alexandre Puzanov, the Soviet ambassador and veteran spymaster, acting both as patron and referee. Hafizullah Amin, Taraki’s unscrupulous and megalomaniacally ambitious lieutenant in the Khalq faction very soon turned the Khalqis on the Parchamis and had the Parchami top brass banished and some of them handed over to the dreaded omnipotent AGSA secret police for “investigation”. Soon afterwards he turned on his mentor, Taraki, and, in a dramatic scene strongly reminiscent of New York mafiosi settling scores, there was a shoot-out in the presidential palace in the presence of the Soviet ambassador. The Soviet godfather had given the Kremlin’s tacit blessings to Taraki to have the egotistical Amin annihilated, but the plan went awry and Amin managed to escape unscathed while his trusted aide-de-camp Daoud Taroon was killed. This was the last straw. Amin had Taraki peremptorily arrested and assumed all his official titles. A couple of days later Taraki, the “Great Leader”, the “Prodigy of the East”, was smothered to death on orders of his “loyal pupil” and “devout disciple” Amin. Amin was now at the top and was effusive in his frequent eulogies of the Soviet Union, but he couldn’t fool the Soviets. He had foiled the Kremlin’s plans, had considerably embarrassed Moscow and had kicked out the Soviet old hand in political intrigue in Afghanistan who was present when he had his close call. But Moscow had taken pains to have spares. It now lifted a finger and Parchami bigwigs banished as ambassadors to different countries by the Khalqis scurried to receive their orders. On December 27, 1979, Babrak Karmal went on the air from a radio station in the then Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic dissembling Radio Afghanistan and announced the inauguration of the “new and evolutionary stage of the Glorious Saur Revolution”. Amin had on that day been poisoned by his Russian guards in his palace in Kabul and “limited contingents” of the Soviet army poured into Afghanistan with Babrak Karmal perched on the barrel of their tanks. The former informer of Prince Daoud and the KGB’s ace spook was now at the helm.
The worst had come to pass. The homeland of a fanatically independent people had been occupied by a foreign invader and a despised quisling had been foisted on them at gunpoint as their ruler. The people flew to arms, often nothing better than kitchen knives or rusty 19th century firearms. For the revolutionary Marxist movement in Afghanistan it was a time of great tribulation. A fledgling movement which had not yet completely found it bearings and had not yet even teethed was saddled with the formidable challenge of putting its mark on a national liberation struggle against a superpower armed to the teeth. This was a country still in the throes of semi-feudal relations of production struggling with a primitive agricultural economy and an illiteracy rate of over 90% and, of course, deeply religious. The sacred sovereignty of such a people had been scandalously betrayed by “Marxists” and the integrity of such a country had been rudely violated by the country Lenin had built. Social-imperialism had struck home. The Afghan people’s concept of honour and the totality of their world outlook, encapsulated in their religious faith, had been battered and insulted. The masses were crying out for the blood of the atheist “communist” traitors. In such an atmosphere a fledgling revolutionary Marxist movement was expected to perform its historical mission.
Afghanistan is the homeland of different ethnic groups who due to the under-development of productive forces have not yet been completely fused into one nation in the strict sense of the word. The same factors which have prevented the people of Afghanistan from becoming a modern nation have for more than a millennium conditioned them to look to their Islamic religious belief as the one unifying agent of all social classes and all ethnic denominations, particularly in times of historical adversity. With the coming to power of the quisling PDPA and particularly after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, the call for a Jihad –a Holy War – began to be echoed from all corners of the country’s plains and valleys. As against the British in the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, this was the only way a people barely out of the Middle Ages, both spiritually and materially, could articulate the need for a patriotic war of resistance against an alien invader. Only Jihad could provide a burning motivation, a simple and well-understood ideological elucidation of the need and duty of giving up life and limb in an all-out concerted effort to rid the country from the defilement of indigenous traitors and their alien masters. Amid the cacophony of Islamic exhortations to a Jihad after the pro-Soviet coup d’état and particularly after the Soviet invasion, Islamic fundamentalist merchants of faith were reaping gold.
The Ikhwanis had made a bid for power during Daoud’s fateful years. Theirs was an exercise in folly as no segment of the Afghan society supported their feeble insurrections in Laghman and Panjsher. Most of their leaders were rounded up and put in jail and a number of them took refuge in neighbouring Pakistan where they offered their services to the intelligence agencies of the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. They were put on modest payrolls and put away for a rainy day. With the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the wakening up of Western imperialism to this chance of getting even with its social-imperialist rival after the humiliating defeat of the US in Vietnam, they were brought out of the closet and made into leaders overnight. The deity must have been smiling down on them as the wily secular-minded Bhutto had been deposed by his Islamist Chief of Army Staff, General Zia-ul-Haq, and the US arms-and-money pipeline and Arab petrodollars began pouring in. Inflated with US and Arab arms and money and surfing on a high tide of popular anti-Soviet religious sentiment, the fundamentalist small-time paid agents burst onto the political scene as leaders of the Afghan Mujahedin freedom fighters, and by extension, leaders of the people of Afghanistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the murderer of Saydal Sokhandan in bygone years, rose to stardom by dint of his political acumen, cruel, unscrupulous nature and shameless obsequiousness to Pakistani generals and bigwigs charged with dispensing US and Arab arms and dollars. He had not forgotten old animosities. He declared the Sholayis, as true revolutionaries, to be “the principal enemy” and more than at a par with the Khalqis and Parchamis. In the words of a revolutionary Afghan writer:
“The revolutionary movement in Afghanistan was pitted not only against the Soviet aggressors. The Khomeini regime in Iran and the Zia-ul-Haq dictatorship in Pakistan saw eye-to-eye and worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Russians and the puppet regime in Kabul in decimating Marxist revolutionaries in Afghanistan and nullifying their work amongst the masses. Our fledgling revolutionary movement was under siege from all four directions.”
Hundreds of Afghan revolutionary Marxists were executed in the Polygon killing fields of Pol-i-Charkhy in Kabul during the Taraki-Amin period and later on during the Karmal and Najibullah years of Soviet occupation. Hundreds more were hunted down by Ikhwani parties in Pakistan and inside Afghanistan. The Khad secret services (the Afghan arm of the KGB) had a special section mandated with the task of annihilating all Sholayi organisations and groupings. The Sholayis were fighting against impossible odds. On the one hand they were duty bound to participate in the national liberation struggle, whether Jihad or War of Resistance, and on the other they had to fight off the KGB on one side and the Ikhwani bloodhounds on the other side. Yet participate in the national liberation struggle they did. The Afghanistan Liberation Organisation (the former Revolutionary Group of the Peoples of Afghanistan) and the Afghanistan People’s Liberation Organisation (SAMA) are two revolutionary organisations which have actively and tangibly participated in the War of Resistance. At one time SAMA even had liberated areas of its own. With such prominent presence in the national liberation struggle it was too much not to expect rabid Ikhwani reaction. The Islamists did not spare any Sholayi falling into their hands and spared no effort at getting at prominent comrades of the revolutionary movement. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar′s Hizb-i-Islami was the top bloodhound in hunting down Marxist revolutionaries. Many an intrepid revolutionary and many a stalwart patriot was gunned down or made to disappear without a trace in Peshawar, Pakistan, centre of resistance political and logistical activities. Comrade Dr Faiz Ahmad, veteran of the Marxist movement in Afghanistan and founding leader of the Revolutionary Group of the Peoples of Afghanistan and subsequently of the ALO was handed over to the Hizb-i-Islami by a traitor commissioned by the Hizb, and tortured to death. Tens of other ALO cadres and comrades were assassinated by the Hizb-i-Islami. It is a well known fact that Prof. Qayum Rahbar, leader of SAMA, was gunned down by Hizb-i-Islami hit men in Peshawar, although SAMA – for reasons of their own – have not yet documented this fact. Throughout the years of Russian occupation (by an irony of fate coinciding with the Zia-ul-Haq years in Pakistan) Afghan fundamentalist parties in general and Hizb-i-Islami in particular enjoyed highly privileged status afforded them by the Zia-ul-Haq regime. The resources of the Pakistan armed forces, intelligence services, police and the fundamentalist Jamaat-i Islami Pakistan party were all at the ready disposal of the Afghan fundamentalists, therefore Afghan revolutionaries and secular patriots had no refuge and no recourse to even a modicum of support or sympathy from the Pakistani authorities. By extension, they were deprived of any and all recognition and acknowledgement by the world media.
The unsung and unnoticed revolutionary Marxist movement in Afghanistan, battered to nigh extinction from right and left, is outstanding by its resilience. The almost totality of its leaders and the absolute majority of its cadres and veterans have been decimated by either the Khalqis and Parchamis or by the Ikhwanis. Yet by the fiat of history the Marxist revolutionary movement is alive and immortal. The incredibly overpowering circumstances of the years of the War of Resistance compelled true communists to adopt tactics apposite to the situation. One such tactic was to infiltrate the ranks of belligerent reactionary Islamist parties and organisations at the grassroot level with the intention of authenticating their unseverable bond with the masses and acquiring arms and ammunition for revolutionary forces. A lasting monument to the contribution of revolutionary Marxists to the people’s War of Resistance against Soviet aggression is the fact that the names “Sholayis” and “Sholai Jawaid” have not been drowned out by fourteen years of thunderous Islamist stridency in a war which was never allowed by the Islamists to be labelled as anything but a war of Islam against atheism and communism. The prestige of Marxist revolutionaries has been enhanced by their active presence in frontlines of battle and the authentication of their personalities as intrepid, caring and popular individuals informed in military issues and evincing insight and discernment in political analyses. The known irreconcilability of revolutionary Marxists groupings and organisations with the puppet regime (notwithstanding the emergence of a few traitorous and capitulating elements amongst them) has greatly contributed to the growth of the revolutionaries’ prestige amongst the masses and amongst honest elements of the Islamist opposition. One very orthodox Muslim compatriot is on record as saying, “I am and always have been inimical towards the Sholayis but I do not for a moment doubt their patriotism and their love for the people.”
The War of Resistance against Soviet social-imperialism is over and the people of Afghanistan can rightfully claim the laurels of victory. Social-imperialism has been sent to its rightful place in the dustbin of history and classical Western imperialism is sure to follow suit sooner or later. But it is the historical misfortune of the people of Afghanistan that after giving the fatal mauling to the social-imperialist bear it now has to fend off rabid reactionary hyenas, the chained dogs of Western imperialism. As with the national liberation war of resistance against social-imperialism, the ALO shall continue to stand in the forefront of the battle with fundamentalist beasts.
The true communist movement in Afghanistan is beset by innumerable deficiencies, foremost amongst which are theoretical ambiguity and a concomitant organisational confusion; and is severely constrained in its political-awareness disseminating tasks. But it has amassed rich experience in combat activities and in work amongst the masses. Afghan revolutionary Marxists have become veterans in armed engagements with the enemy. Should it ever become possible for revolutionary Afghan Marxists to combine this fighting experience with a deeper understanding of class contradictions in Afghan society, with increased class consciousness of both its members and the toiling masses, and with the enjoyment of deeper trust of a people fatally betrayed in the name of Marxism-Leninism by social-imperialist stooges, history shall surely witness dramatic changes in the political arena in Afghanistan. The depth and breadth of the ignominy and savagery of the current Islamic fundamentalist rule in Afghanistan is unprecedented in contemporary world history, as is the devastation inflicted on the moral and material fabric of the country and the people. Not the fundamentalist but the ultra-fundamentalist beast is now worrying what is left of the living skin and bones of the Afghan people. What the world is witnessing in Afghanistan at the present juncture in time is ultra-reactionary religious fascism, mass gender apartheid and ultra-fundamentalism all rolled into one. Such unprecedented mediaeval tyranny is and shall be matched by the resilience, heroism and faith of true Afghan communists in their historical mission to deliver their country and people from the current inferno and to lead the toiling masses to a society free from the shackles of feudalism and the capitalist exploitation of the many by the few. This alone is sufficient to ensure that such an anachronistic political monstrosity cannot and should not live long. History shall always find the ALO at its post.