Understanding happiness as a form of resistance and rebellion is not always an east process, especially when there are so many reasons not to smile.

Damian Gallardo was in prison for over 5 years, however, this wasn´t enough to dampen or silence his struggle.

When a person is deprived of their freedom, the suffering is shared by their family, friends and colleagues.  However, this suffering was transformed into a desire for justice for which different people fought for in different ways, to accompany a person who was on the way to becoming an emblem of struggle and resistance.

This is what happened during the epilogue of 2018 which reserved for us one of the best bits of news of the year: political prisoners who had been imprisoned in maximum security for over 5 years were released, amongst which was Damian Gallardo.  The news and it´s coverage in the press was welcomed with joyfulness by close friends and family, but also by civil society organisations and the social movement that had followed the case so closely and demanded the justice that was finally dealt in this case.

When things are done from the heart, it is clear.

This is what we felt at the celebration of the liberation of Damian.

Family, friends, colleagues and us.  All in the same space, with doors open to share.  Tears, smiles, music, dance and gratefulness.  Food, beer and mezcal.

In the field as a PBI volunteer, we accompany diverse processes that are almost always charged with pain and suffering.  Death, killings, funerals, disappearances, threats and intimidation, exile.  Seldom are we present at parties, but not because there are no intentions to celebrate, here in Mexico there are plenty, but because there are only few occasions where justice comes to stay permanently...

We learnt a lesson from friends, colleagues, family members and from Damian Gallardo himself: it is necessary to defend happiness as a right!

“Defending happiness in times of transitory and definitive absence", Mario Benedetti