Monday, December 17, 2007

A Manifesto of Sorts

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning. First, Fidel’s dead. Then he’s not. Then according to the MSM he’s “running” for office. Now in today’s news, he’s hinting at retirement. Personally, I like the life in death option. Anyway, Raul’s in charge. Or maybe Raul’s not in charge. Marta Beatriz Roque, noted dissident, calls for dissenters to unite but put off any marches for like two years while they run around consciousness raising, including telling ordinary Cubans how bad it is? Antuñez, another noted dissident with stronger bona fides, signs on, but then maintains he didn’t know about the hold on demonstrations. If Elizardo Sanchez, another noted dissident, was really spying on his confreres for the regime, why the sudden attack today in the press, where they call him a mercenary in the pay of the US government?

Maybe I’m confused because I just watched The Bourne Ultimatum, but maybe it’s because Cuba is as Churchill once described the USSR: “a riddle wrapped inside an enigma.” I am a simple person. I know, having had experience with at least one cunning and amoral acquaintance, that I am no match for same. You see, no matter how smart you are; if you can’t think like they do, you cannot outwit them.

So what’s an honest, well-intentioned soul to do? What’s the right course? Whom do you support? What stance can you take? Should you bother? After all, the vitriol hurled at us by some in our community makes it all too easy to turn and say, “I don’t need this grief.” Heck, I’m an American. Only I am, but then I’m not. I am Cuban. No, I am not Cuban like the poor souls who live and toil on the island. But for an amazing act of foresight by my father, I could have been. Yes, I grew up in the United States and went to bed with a full belly every night. I paid a smaller price, growing up as a second class citizen, never knowing what it was to belong, never meeting close relatives, or walking the Malecon, and always the sense of loss. I’ve earned the Cuban in front of that American, and no one is going to take it away from me.

For every attack on the Cuban American community by the MSM media, the apparatchiks, or even some of our own, there are any number of pleas coming from the island to make their stories known. So I speak for those who cannot, for those who have been silenced by the jackboot, who must live the proverbial lives of quiet desperation. I do not believe I have the corner on knowledge, or that I have the only, or any, answers.

In the end, neither speculations nor divisions matter. If I was granted the privilege of being born in, or even just living, in a free society, then I bear the responsibility of doing all I can to help those left behind. So, it doesn’t really matter who the players are, whether the coma andante is alive or dead, or how we feel about each other. My responsibility, my God-given task, is to bear witness.

And if you don’t think it makes a difference. When was the last time, the MSM paid attention to a demonstration of twelve dissidents? When did any manifestation of any size, other than the officially sanctioned ones get any press, even if it was at the end of the articles about the regime's magnanimity in signing accords (it has no intention of keeping) in two years? It is not something for which I take any credit. I am the flea on the butt end of the camel industriously making its way into that tent. But in my little space and as far as my words reach, I will attest to the truth. And no matter what they put out or the MSM picks up, in this small space I will call them on their lies.