Remembering Rosemary Bechler: “What a wonderful life it is!”

We will always remember Rosemary as the positive character that she was. Her passing is a devastating loss for all of us in the Coordinating Collective and DiEM25 as a whole who worked closely with Rosemary and considered her not only a comrade, but a good friend.

This video features excerpts of some of Rosemary’s interventions, and was created in her memory.

And below are short tributes from some of her comrades in the Coordinating Collective, honouring our common fight for democracy and Rosemary’s unfaltering spirit. You can leave your personal message here in our forum.

Thank you, Rosemary, for standing alongside us!

Rosemary Bechle

Francesca Martinez

It was an honour to work with and get to know Rosemary over this last year. Her courage and passion were invigorating and inspiring right up until her last hours. She has taught me to never stop fighting for a better world. I look forward to trying to live up to her example and will miss the force of nature that she was.

Patrizia Pozzo

Woman, friend, comrade. Teacher of life for a small piece of the road. Honored to have made it with you and to have learned that kindness is one of the greatest values. It doesn’t need screaming to assert your reasons but on the contrary firmness and calmness.

Fotini Bakadima

Rosemary was an incredible comrade, always there to help, always positive, with a clear and to the point view of things, supportive and an extremely warm person. She was a great pillar not only for our movement and the CC but also as a friend. Rosemary will be greatly missed, her loss left us all feeling alone in our struggle to democratise and change Europe as an essential beacon of light has stopped radiating.

Johannes Fehr

“What a wonderful life it is!” were the words she concluded with in her last emails to me. “I already feel in an exceptionally lucky era of friends and colleagues and comrades.” 

As the many quotes from Rosemary show: Her words and the spirit in them will continue to inspire us so we can continue to fight for this wonderful life.

“She was fierce and loyal but also someone who’d keep you on your toes, who wouldn’t tell you platitudes but demand you be the best person (or organisation) you could be.”

Judith Meyer

It is such an honour to have met Rosemary. She was fierce and loyal but also someone who’d keep you on your toes, who wouldn’t tell you platitudes but demand you be the best person (or organisation) you could be. Armed with her iron-set moral compass and great empathy, she was eager to defend whoever seemed weaker, and even more eager to tell both sides that they were silly to be fighting and should just listen to each other really well. 

She had this faith, that I envy her for, that everything could be solved through dialogue. And she set out to prove it by bringing vastly different political forces to a single table and ultimately a single campaign. What a woman!

Srećko Horvat

A devastating loss for all of us who worked closely with Rosemary and considered her a good friend. It was around 10 years ago, when my first essay was published at openDemocracy, that I met Rosemary for the first time. Immediately I was infected by her devotion as a diligent editor and someone who was not simply an editor but a spiritus movens of much broader implications. 

When she joined DiEM25, from the very first day of its creation back in 2016, I would soon find out that she is, perhaps above all, a comrade in arms and indispensable critical voice who was never too short of a smile, encouragement or uttering uncomfortable truths, always committed to democracy, comradeship and the struggle for a better world. Until the very end. Even though she was terminally ill, she continued to participate in our common struggle literally until her last breath. 

And this is one of the lessons I will carry with me as we mourn over the loss of our dear friend. Namely the fact that Rosemary’s commitment and devotion was really contagious, and that we have no other choice but to continue the fight. May she rest in peace, and may we never rest until there is peace.

“Rosemary was a fearless activist disguised as a gentle old lady.”

Erik Edman

“DiEM is one of the preoccupations of my latter days that makes me wish I was immortal”, Rosemary wrote to me in our last correspondence.

She was and will always be a key part of our movement. Her unwavering trust in people’s ability to forge their own lives and futures made her one of the most passionate defenders of our movement’s horizontal features (participatory processes, inclusive debates, grassroots campaigns and so on).

Rosemary was first and foremost a prolific activist, with an impressive track record on the right side of history, from which she drew experiences and sharp analyses that enriched any space she was in; from an event stage to a breakfast coffee chat. It has been a distinct honour to have known and have worked with her.

As far as our DiEM25 is concerned, it is no exaggeration to say Rosemary’s participation shaped it through her work. It therefore follows that for as long as DiEM25 and all the people she touched through her engagement are still around, then we can do our part to ensure her immortality.

“Even though she was terminally ill, she continued to participate in our common struggle literally until her last breath.”

Davide Castro

Fearless, tireless and relentless in the fight for freedom. Emphatic in the pursuit of knowledge and the truth. An intellectual powerhouse who spoke with the certainty that everything is truly uncertain unless we come together to figure it out. Rosemary will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. A true symbol of hope at the end of the tunnel who made one question if what one was seeing was the road to freedom or just another path down business-as-usual.

Mehran Khalili

Rosemary was a fearless activist disguised as a gentle old lady.

She lived for debate, and Rosemary and I had more than a few. I shall miss our very civil, very British exchanges. I learned and grew from each (as well as from one that ended with her bellowing ‘BALDERDASH!’ at me).

I’ll miss her dry wit and quick mind. I’ll miss her ‘thought you might like to meet so-and-so’ emails and ‘FYI’ link lists. I’ll miss her calling in from her book-lined study on Zoom.

Glad to have known you Rosemary.

Yanis Varoufakis

“Such a relief to be working on this with you guys … all the best and sleep much better for all this classy political activity! As I will now!” 

That was the last email I received from her. The campaign that she referred to was DiEM25’s recent, and very successful, crusade to save the NHS from further privatisation. It was typical of Rosemary to express gratitude to comrades who owed her so much. And to hint at her own impending long sleep, courtesy of the ‘inconvenient’, as she liked to describe it, disease that would ultimately take her away from us. 

I met Rosemary during DiEM25’s inaugural event, after weeks of frantic emailing that made clear her determination to be part of our pan-European movement from day one to her very last breath. Since then she has graced us all with intense support, criticism, ideas, papers, proposals, campaigns – a one-woman movement that chose our movement to motivate. 

A true internationalist, combining the virtues of the Suffragettes, the Spanish International Brigades, the Civil Rights movement, every fair and necessary industrial strike there was, Rosemary found the time and the reason to support me personally during my darkest hours. Never stepping back from being critical, she also never failed to shore up my psyche, to strengthen my resolve, indeed to offer material help well beyond what was either expected or even fair.  

Rosemary passed too recently for us, for me, for her comrades, to work out a fitting tribute. For now, it will suffice to emphasise her dedication to preventing our movement from becoming top-heavy, to keeping alive its commitment to its grassroots, to enlisting the Dunkirk spirit in our collective struggle.

Sleep well dear Rosemary. We shall not rest until your spirit reaches everyone that can be reached, across Europe and beyond.

Amir Kiyaei

The time too short, but
Your insights far reaching.
In a world permeated by endless fog,
Your vision still shines brightly.
We will continue the path you laid before us,
and walk holding you in our hearts.

List of articles published by Rosemary for DiEM25

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