"The dead do not need to rise. They are a part of the earth now and the earth can never be conquered. For the earth endureth forever. It will outlive all systems of tyranny."
I borrowed this quote from Hemingway. If there were a contest of experts on dying for a cause, he would surely come up in top 10. In his short but powerful essay "On the American Dead in Spain" he, together with the Nature and the terrain, mourn those who have lain their lives, hopes and dreams for a cause. As to the value of the cause we may debate endlessly, but the result is still the same: springs will not bring joy to their eyes any more.
If we were to ruminate on the meaning of this life and if we were to speculate what their last wish was for - would we end up too far from the truth? Some of them would wish to see their loved ones once again. Some of them would wish for the unconscious to devour them so that the cruelty of the reality gnaws at them no more. And some, a rare breed, would wish for nothing else but that the others will continue fighting for the cause and that the good and righteous will soon be reigning over the world. Axel Axgil belonged to that rare breed.
Humble but persistent, fighting an uphill battle, a visionary, a pioneer, relentlessly pursuing the idea of the supremacy of human rights, will hardly be forgotten quickly by generations of Danes and the worldwide community. Denmark might have never celebrated the richness of diversity, acceptance and humility but for the unabated efforts of this man. "First", "marriage" and "gay" have never stood together in a sensible and legal sentence before he made it a reality through advocacy, personal sacrifice, stepping up, putting himself and his family out, taking the blows and yet not yielding.
Something makes me believe that what he would have really wished for after his death is that what he has done, what he has achieved in the field of human rights will not be wasted in vain and that there will be others who would pick up the banner and take it forward, because the battle is not over. It is not over and the human rights violations around the world make us doubt if it our generation that will see the end to hatred and homophobia. But we can make a personal stand. Every one of us. This is the least that we owe to Axel.
The dead sleep cold.