“I’m one, but there are crowds in me.”
“Tell the truth.
At least tell your truth.”
“… Oh deaf window to the outside,
oh doors closed carefully;
customs coming from ancient times
[…] never entirely understood.”
Rainier Maria Rilke
The Painted Wall
with lime of my secret
On 13 August 1961, then-President of the German Democratic Republic Walter Ulbricht stated on television that a wall would separate the western part of eastern Berlin. The immense wall, designed to prevent the mass exodus of those who left the socialist segment, inaugurated in this way a tragic period of tension between the two sides. There were those who called it , quite rightly – “Wall of Shame”. This tangible action was a horrible in-out, which in turn expressed a set of undescribed words, unfinished intentions and, above all, unspeakable suffering, of spaces that lost their clarity, because many people were left out of the possibility. Crossing that vast wall cost a few people their lives.
Today we are witnessing another irrationality, in this case by the American president, bent on stopping the wave of despair that reaches the U.S. border through another sinister wall. That same money that seeks to invest in a symbol of contempt and selfishness could serve to alleviate the poverty that threatens.
It is unfortunate that Cuba, even in its status as an island, in this damn water circumstance everywhere, as the poet Virgilio Piñera wrote, also built its own invisible wall. How many Cubans died in an effort to seek a world far from obcott and collapse, to dream of a space where they could freely raise their hands against false unanimity? I doubt that true data will appear on this phenomenon of escape through the sea of many Cubans, have the missing, those who were devoured by sharks, been counted?
Another dimension has just been opened:
the dimension of intimacy
It may seem peedant to someone who narrates some personal experience as an example to analyze a certain contradictory situation. However, sociology, a science that is sometimes uncomfortable, used personal documents, life stories and participating observation very well in its development.1 An individual’s private life and work are interrelated, the latter includes the whole of his life in addition to the text.
In 2011 I requested a document from the relevant authorities nouing that my maternal grandfather had been a permanent resident of this country. I wanted to take on Spanish citizenship. They gave me a piece of paper – like thousands of Cubans – indicating that the collection of that request would be possible only after two years. To get a simple role they made me wait for that immense amount of time. I thought with that answer in Rilke’s verses: “The world is great, but in us it is deep / like the sea.”
When the time came, I showed up at the place where they were supposed to have prepared the document. Come in a month, told me with the face of few friends, a civil serviceman. I kept my mouth open, I checked that they had done absolutely nothing. But the big surprise was that when I was handed over it, I said it wasn’t anywhere that my grandfather was a permanent resident on this island. I mean, they imposed a long wait on me for pleasure, evidence of a terrible contempt for the right of any human being to be whoever he wants to be. I had to get the resident card in Cuba and my grandfather’s driver’s license by a relative. The truth was denied to me in a horrifying way. Oh! How many silences, in the ageing life, you don’t have to remember! What is true human calm? It is the calm conquered upon oneself.
I had to learn to dive into the bluish abyss of oblivion when my father was prostrate for about a year of cancer. Previously, because of the mistreatment of a doctor, he had flatly refused to receive systematic care. There was no way to convince him to go to someone else. I’m not doing the wolf and the little riding hood story. One day the family doctor came and asked me: why does his dad have an age in some documents and in others he shows up with another, in some with 85 and in others with 90? I told him the pure truth, “I knew the police would not come looking for him, he was dying,” “Wherever you see him, Doctor, my father is a phony, he forged his papers to retire five years earlier.” The thing is, he was already in a deplorable state, in severe pain, as prostate cancer attacked him by the bones and even reached the tongue. I asked the doctor to supply him with morphine. He accompanied me to the pharmacy to acquire such a painkiller, essential for critical cases like that. “No, I can’t sell it to you, ” explained the clerk. The product was there, but I needed a form that the doctor did not carry with him for a simple reason: the polyclinic had no resources to print it. Once again I put on a hallucination face. I couldn’t believe it. A person screaming in pain, and the sinister bureaucrats couldn’t solve the problem.
I called the polyclinic, talked to the management secretary. “Calm down, we’re going to send you a doctor to assess the situation,” was your response. I told him – better, I shouted with some bad word – that how it was possible for Cuba at that time to save the lives of Africans against Ebola and could not mitigate the pain of a Cuban because of a damn role. I called the health province, complained about the same argument. Inadvertently, I condemned my father to an indescribable agony. A week later, I was sent to an ultrasound specialist, who evaluated the patient and ruled that he was in good spirits, because he answered yes to some question with his head, his tongue was completely rotten. At the time the doctor realized that she already had a detached leg as well, but the opinion was the same. I didn’t need the morphine. I still feel his early morning screams in my memory. Two or three days after the generous visit, I lit a candle at night, knelt down and asked with fervor and despair: “Take it now, my God, I implore you.” He died the next day at 8:00 a.m.
Every effective start
it’s a second moment
Cubans suffer from the evil of closed doors. In the guaguas, they force them to go in one way and go out the other. In a few markets there are closed doors and some are open. Whimsically, someone came up with the idea that closing a door is synonymous with order for an obedient flock. At the same University of Havana have remained completely closed accesses since my entrance to work there more than thirty-five years ago. It would be very broad the description of all the doors that we have closed, open, of all the doors that we would like to reopen. I’m curious to know if the doors that have been ajar are for the world of human beings or for the world of loneliness.
I do not intend to be a spokestor of anyone, nor to join any group, fortunately, and any party other than that of honesty and nonconformity with what I consider unfair and unfair to oneself.
I aspire that Cuba will one day be that nation that we are not yet; that the family is not a sad portrait holder, just a symbol of nostalgia; that no false, hypocritical and even brazen words appear in the media; that Cubans all have the right to move freely and not be obliged to return at two years, because the one born here will always be from here; not to be imposed on deceitable, absurd, ridiculous measures; that all of us, those of good above and below, should be held accountable for our actions, our property and property; that no one is exempt, eer on historical or hereditary merits, from being judged before law and history.
Life showed that blind faith in a theory is not an intellectual virtue, on the contrary, it is an intellectual crime. Faith belongs to the space of religion, not politics.
Another thing is the constant stimulus to an exclusionary nationalism, highly dangerous and narrow, proclaimed by quincalla revolutionaries, whom the Argentine Mallea described: “… those who fill their mouths with the vacuous proclamation of their verbal nationalism without thinking that they are the most incapable of doing anything, nothing true, nothing honestly profound … those who are grouped into vociferous comparsas, who shout alive without carrying in their spirit a substantial best homeland, other than their gestures, their outbursts, their exacerbated ignorances …”. 2 Before speaking, it must be heard, it is necessary a long time ago to develop the art of listening.
As Mexican Alfonso Reyes said, “you can only be profitably national, if you are generously universal.” This idea points to the need to accept and enrich itself with everything, in order, at last, to be in a country where we would like to live. Ω