Monday, September 14, 2009

Bearing Witness

I am reminded that Jung did not believe in co-incidence when I mull the events of the past week. The theme emergent there is one of remembrance. There was first and foremost the anniversary of the 9/11. Then there was that rather odd day when I had the encounter with the gentleman dying to visit Cuba "before it changes." That evening as I started to regale the hubster with the story, he stopped me. "Don't tell me," he said. "I can top that."

Seems he was at a job in a tres exclusive building. The condo was being renovated, so the electrician was there, so was his wife. At first, he was elated to discover they were Cubans from the island. In the course of the conversation, she must have raised the issue of my visiting the benighted island. My beautifully trained husband said, "Oh, no, she won't go as long as the dictatorship is in power." She not only countered with "She's wrong. The Spaniards have done wonderful things, beautiful hotels...," but more importantly that her family supported the system. Precataclysm they had nothing.

"And what do they have now?" I interrupt. "What are they doing here anyway?' You know the drill. Remembering my own experience that day the larger point dawned on me and depressed me to no end. Of all the things that have been lost in this night that never sees the day is the truth. The generations which lived and worked in the old Cuba are dead or dying, both here and on the island. The propaganda machine has been working full tilt for over a century.

It's as if a huge chunk of Cuban reality has been excised. Those who grew up in the system know nothing else. Those outside can not possibly imagine that Hispanics were capable of creating a country which, despite its very real problems, rivaled many Western European nations. No one cares about those very credible statistics Fontova cites. Their bigotry colors their perceptions. To their eyes, Cuba was a third world country, not Cuba was a developing nation that has been dragged relentessly backward.

It was in this context that I came across some mail from the Cuba Archive. Now that provided some comfort. Visit here. Thanks to their efforts at least some truth of what took place will be told. It reminds me of I Was Cuba, the volume of photos from the Ramiro Fernandez collection, which was started at his grandmother's suggestion as a way to keep his Cuba alive. For in the end all we can do to carry on the legacy of our parents is to bear witness.

1 comment:

Mandy Maria said...

I always get depressed when conversations like these start up. Thos who don't understand or haven't seen communist Cuba think that communism is just as viable as capitolism or to borrow the colombian expression "do no harm". What they don't realize is that the harm has already been done, and is still being done.