In response to comments arising from the “I, an irreversible emergence” post dated January 4th, 2010, I can corroborate the persistence of an almost unhealthy obsession for what they have nicknamed “unity” in some. This is not the first time that a reader is outraged against me for the alleged attitude of “disunity” that threatens the potential achievement of freedom for Cubans. It seems that someone is attributing extraordinary powers to me. Since I do not intend to apologize, to follow the wise proverb “he who makes excuses for himself, accuses himself” I will choose to clarify (once again) my views and my position.
In the spirit of finding a consensus so we can have a civilized dialogue, I searched through the dictionary Aristos from my high school days for the meaning of such a controversial term. Here is what I found:
Unity. f. Property of every being, which cannot be divided without destroying or altering its essence //Union or conformity //Uniqueness in number or quality //Quality of literary or artistic work in which there is only one main thought or topic to which everything is subordinated //Quantity by which others of its kind are measured //Component of an army which can operate independently under orders from a superior. (Aristos Dictionary, pp. 616)
I verified that the natural tendency in Aristos is to reaffirm my rejection of the unitary attitudes, however, I also researched that eternal friend of anyone who writes, the dictionary of synonyms and antonyms (FC Sainz de Robles). There, among a short list of synonyms, I found these words: unity, conformity, unanimity … and below that, a very significant antonym: plurality.
Having arrived at this point, I insist that I do not approve of what they usually call “unity” for I consider it deceptive, misleading and, above all, extremely dangerous, the opposite of pluralism. And what about the synonym “unanimity”? I was truly horrified. Suffice it to recall each session of this country’s Parliament, a sublimation of unanimous submission, to want to bury such a buzzword. The worst atrocities have been committed here against individual rights for the sake of unity, so often invoked, and it ultimately has resulted in the enslavement of all.
But beyond the dictionary, what is “unity”? Judging by those who reprimand me, it means to applaud or approve proposals, based on the good intentions they suggest, rather than on the essence of their contents, or to subscribe to a figure or group because, in a country where nothing ever happens, any document-of-the-day with “reformist” makeup on is conjectured to be a promissory advance. It grieves me to find so much conformity after half a century of accumulating “reforms” that have turned out to be more disappointments than results.
Unfortunately, the Cuban reality finds itself today at such a difficult and urgent crossroads of change, there are so many and so serious ills that affect us, that we can’t afford the luxury of wearing ourselves down in innocuous details. Less than a month after the publication of the intellectuals’ open letter, on the night of January 9th, 2010, the city of Pinar del Río was the scene of repression and of strict police controls against a cultural activity: the blockade of the performance of Yamilia Pérez, wife of Pedro Pablo Oliva. The authorities filled parks with chairs and sound equipment, while Maikel Iglesias, physician, poet, and a member of the editorial board of the independent digital magazine “Convivencia”, was literally dragged out, in order to prevent his participation. This, from my point of view, is the government’s response to the “protest” letters of the intellectuals, though it might well be that the organizers and participants did not classify as “revolutionaries”.
The vice of over-measuring also thins criteria with the apparent mission to distort and lie: everyone knows I’m not an “official blogger”, but an alternative blogger. And indeed, the alternative blogosphere is inspiring the respect of the regime. At least it has demonstrated that they are considering us, and that they know the scope of our work; it is not by chance that they pester, jaunt, threaten, repress and stalk us. To deny it would be obtuse.
On the other hand, at least many of the signers of the intellectuals’ open letter (they call it a denouncement) are indeed party-liners, beginning with Mr. Pedro Campos, ex communist and ex Cuban government official who lately has fallen from grace, and who has generated several projects that have only the “socialist revolutionaries”, and they alone, slated to chart the future of all Cubans. Does this sense of “unity” ring a bell? It does to me too, and I reject it. These intellectuals’ letter is a plaintive complaint, a mere wail that just states what a vertical position of questioning the regime doesn’t mean, as if they are ignoring that the problem in this society is the system, rather than isolated cases. Too much dust has accumulated: sweeping it under the rug is no longer enough. When given the role of “denouncing”, their list turned out to be wanting, and, what is worst, it could become much longer in the next few months if we consider the growing repression tendency of the gorillas. Those who preach the “respect for diversity” are hypocrites, practicing the exclusion of those who profess a different ideology and political criteria.
As for me, and unlike some “reformers” that I know, I stand for a future Cuba where even the Communists will have the right to speak and to exist, although I very much detest that ideology that diminishes man to the status of slave. At least in my future utopia, a slave would be only one of the choices.
I don’t feel the call to “sow the unity and harmony”, nor to divide or authorize anyone to assign such a mission to me. This likely role, in addition to not whetting my appetite, is beyond my limited capability. I am not resigned to the messianic fatalism that they insist on hanging on this Island’s fate. As to “dividing”, it is an action that presupposes the existence of what’s “united”… in this case, pure imagination. Maybe some of what we really need in the Cuba of tomorrow (and I say just “some”) is to learn that expressing ourselves will have a counterpart. There will be consensus and dissent, and that would be the reflection of a healthy society of individually free men, who are the only ones capable -as a whole, and not as a unit- to sustain an equally free nation. I do not want unity; I want plurality. I want a Cuba as varied as the aspirations and expectations of Cubans, not meaning for anyone to be excluded. I know it’s an idealistic aspiration, but, at least, it is INCLUSIVE. So much so, that it also respects the rights of the signers of the referenced letter, and my right to not sign alongside them. Anyone with a modicum of wisdom would understand that those who break Cubans asunder are precisely those who curtail their rights, depending on whether they are “socialist revolutionaries” or not. That, in itself, is a genuine implementation of division.
Finally, I would have liked it if disagreements to my post had been based on my critical points, using arguments instead of passion. I am very glad that the infant intellectuals are finally learning to walk. It is quite a pathetic picture, but it is still wise, when we consider who the actors are. And, since it appears that the defense of the “valiant” intellectuals is based more on tender feelings than on the pure and hard reality of these days, I prefer to leave the job of holding their little hands to avoid tripping to their cronies. Oh, and incidentally, don’t forget to check their diapers.
Illustration: Photo by Orlando Luis
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