I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.
In the past year, I’ve heard this quote countless times. I’ve even written it myself. However, not long ago, I heard a different version, one that makes more sense.
I’d rather live on my feet than die on my knees.
To me, this makes more sense. To this I’ll add:
I may be killed while standing on my feet, but those on their knees will die two deaths: one of spirit and one of body, often not at the same time.
Where did the original quote come from? One source is Emiliano Zapata of the Mexican Revolutionary (1879–1919). However, a much older reference has François-Noël Gracchus Babeuf in his defence of the Conspiracy of Equals in April 1797 saying, “Better that we should die on our feet rather than live on our knees.”
Over the past century, it has been used by many people in the same or similar manner. They didn’t see a better way of saying they’d reject authoritarians and slavery. They didn’t know it was better to live on their feet than die on their knees.
HOWEVER, I hope we never have to make that choice. I hope sanity returns to society and forces governments to back off. We demand our freedom.