Remember Aaron Swartz


Rage rage against the dying of the light

Dear Aaron, family and friends,

I have been able to think of little else since I learnt of your death last week. Although we had not met, I knew of your plight via some ThoughtWork’s meetings late last year around the unjust criminalisation of your actions at JSTOR. Sadly, the next news I had about you was that you were gone. I feel deeply ashamed to be part of a world that thoughtlessly and callously extinguished a mighty intellect, generous heart and courageous spirit that only fought to protect the rights and enrich the lives of the many.

What really galls me is that we spend our lives believing that right will prevail and justice be done, instead the good has been crushed and the villains run amok. Shame on the DoJ who ironically were motivated by all that you were not: greed, fame, ambition and ruthlessness.

We all failed you and I am deeply sorry for that, we should have stood shoulder to shoulder with you and helped bear the terrible burden that was placed upon you. When facing financial ruin, the intimidation of those you knew, decades in prison and a criminal record, (for something that was not even a crime) all of this would be enough to crack the spirit of even the most determined warrior.

To Aaron’s family and friends, my heart is broken for you and I only hope some day you can learn to carry this great pain. You produced a person that was truly one in a million: be proud, we are deeply grateful.

Destroying you will not extinguish your work, you pointed out the path and we must all now step up and act, protest, donate and signup. We cannot stand idly by whilst the authorities pick off those who are smart, energetic and fearless enough to hold them to account.

Aaron is gone but we are all Aaron and his fearless spirit will guide the way.

Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!